Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Road Trip - Day 9

We started out the morning getting ready and headed out for breakfast. We took note that the birds here are NOT like the birds at the last campground. I think these birds would EAT those birds, ha!

Then we headed for downtown New Orleans. There was a thick haze about the city that we soon figured out was from a big marsh fire not too far off. It was absolutely smothering.

Cafe Du Monde was our first stop for coffee and beignets, which was down near (at?) the French Quarter. The kids weren't entirely sure what to make of them...until they tried the white stuff on top of them.

YUM. What's better than freshly fried dough smothered in powdered sugar?? We started out with two orders (there are 3 beignets per order) and discovered that we needed another. Apparently most people have one order per person.

There was also a musician sitting outside the outdoor cafe where we were eating, who was playing some nice music. So after we were done the kids got to go plunk their change into his soup pot.

The musician was just to the left here. The kids were having fun dancing about.

This cafe originally opened in 1862.

This is a view of Jackson Square with the St. Louis Cathedral in the background (which apparently is the oldest continually used cathedral in the US). Then there is the statue of Andrew Jackson (whom the park was named after) in the middle on the horse. Apparently this is one of three of these statues--the other two are in Washington D.C. and Nashville. And then of course all of the tour carriages and mules waiting out front for tourists. Apparently mules are used because that is what the French imported because they found them to be better suited to the area than horses. Mules are more resiliant in heat, can stand in the same place for long periods of time, and are much more resistant to the "swamp diseases" that horses are more susceptible to.

This cannon, located in Artillery Park (directly across the street from Jackson Square) is a model of one used in the Civil War.

More French Quarter buildings. I loved just walking around and taking it all in. Walking around this area truly feels like you've been transported somewhere else entirely. It's a bit surreal. I would have loved to have just walked and drank it all in for longer, but between the heat, the smoke, and two antsy kids...we headed for the local Children's Museum.

This was Brooklyn's favorite thing to do. It was a camera with all sorts of effects. She had a ball dancing and jumping around, I think she would have stayed here for the entire visit if she could have.

Then we lost Sam. Sigh. What's an outing without losing a child, right? We eventually found him and headed up to the optical area where Russ decided he's glad he's an engineer and not an optometrist.

And where Brooklyn did a cornea transplant for an alligator who had scratched his cornea.

Sam checked out to see how an insect sees the world and decided he didn't like it whatsoever.

We all loved the architecture place. You could design your own blueprints and build things with at least 10 different kinds of blocks and such.

They had a little town build--you can go in each of those houses, they're really super cute. Sam decided he needed to fill in for Mr. Jackson on the horse statue.

They had an awesome restaurant. There's still a bunch of stuff to my right, I couldn't squeeze it all into the photo. It was very cool. As was the grocery store part that I didn't get any photos of. Was pretty impressed with both, obviously, lol.

They also had all sorts of "real" building stuff like this. You could do this plumbing, electric, and there was something else...had to do with building houses. Pretty neat.

I think my favorite part was the art room. The kids drew a self-portrait with crayons and then painted over it with ink. It was okay, but I was really impressed with all of the amazing artwork. It made me want to be more creative and expressive with everyday media--beads, glitter, bottles, aluminum foil, textured papers...lots and lots of neat stuff. And most of it stuck to the New Orleans "feel"...bright, flashy, jazzy.

Ooh, the bubble station was definitely neat.

We realized we'd been there well past what our parking permitted, so we decided to find somewhere to eat. I am sick to death of fast food (and I've only had it what, 4 times in these entire 10 days? lol) and wanted something good. So we found Eat.

In an old New Orleans style house, remodeled very bright and cleanly into this super cute, small restaurant. I loved the atmosphere. It and the people working there were very cheery, and I love love loved the giant charcoal portraits hung all over. They were beautiful.

And the The kids shared a breakfast (3 pancakes, 4 eggs, 3 pieces of bacon, and a servings of grits (which I've never tried before, but didn't think they were too bad at all)). I got a portobello mushroom sandwhich whith a side of fruit. I have never seen a slice of bread this big. There were two giant portobellos on there! And the "side of fruit"?? I've come to expect a small bowl of yesterday's chopped up fruit, but wow! It was beautiful and delicous--1/3 grapefruit, 1/3 orange, strawberries, a banana, and a kiwi!

And Russ. Oh my. He ordered the fried catchish po boy. It was huge. And came with a side of rice and a side of beans and shrimp. And then he ordered us a plum torte. Mmmm.

I highly recommend this place if you decide to head to New Orleans.

After having to remove Sam from the restaurant once (and threaten multiple times after that), we finished up and headed back home for NAPS. Everyone was Cranky with a Capital C. However, Brooklyn ended up falling asleep in the car for 15 minutes, and that was it for her. Sigh. No nap for Momma either, then. Sam slept for another hour after we got back.

At that point though, I was waiting to hear from Amanda, my friend from NC. So we were just killing time, inside. It was so sweltering hot and there are all of these nasty bugs floating int he air all over, it's hard not to inhale them at time. So yeah...all 5 of us inside the trailer for hours. Time to bust out the school stuff!

So we went over all of the different forms of money again, playing, "Can You Find The ____?" They love this game, particularly beacuse Jelly Bellies are involved!

I am sad to say that I forgot my camera at the campsite when we went to visit my friend (and her two kiddos--my kids had been asking for days about "when do we get to go play with our friends?!?!" I cannot tell you the level of excitement there was in the car on the way to their house.). Although Russ (who stayed at camp by himself) did get some interesting pictures of wildlife around here while we were gone. Snakes, birds, giant fun.

Amanda made us delicous red beans and sausage with rice and corn bread. DE-LICIOUS. I think I'll be adding it to my recipe book for sure. It was nice hearing all of the giggles and getting to sit and talk with a girl friend for a few hours. It was tough to leave--we'd been invited to spend the night, and while I would have loved to...there's just no place like "home"...even if it is a trailer, lol.

We got home pretty late--it was after 10:30pm after sitting at the locked campground gate for 15 minutes trying to open the damned lock before I decided to just drive around it. Yeah, I was tired. And THEN when I went to the bathroom to wash up (and take my contacts out), on the way back to the trailer I could see something following me, but not really since it was dark and I didn't have any contacts or glasses. I think it was either another armadillo or an opposum. Either way, I started running and it ran too! And then I scared another armadillo and it ran at me. Eeek.

Tomorrow: Heading out for Lake Fausse Pointe State Park, about a 3 hour drive.

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