Wednesday, November 7, 2012

New Orleans, Part 1

Chris's job, by nature, requires quite a bit of travel. While the traveling definitely gets exhausting for all of us, there are some big benefits to it. Over the years, we have taken some exciting vacations that we would otherwise not have been able to take. 

A few months ago, Chris found out that he would be going to New Orleans for a conference in mid-October. He actually goes to New Orleans for work several times a year, but he has always flown in the past. This time, he decided to drive . . . and that meant that we could go with him!

Now, I will admit that at first I was not on-board with the idea of driving 750 miles (one way) with two littles. At all. I mean, that just sounds pretty crazy to me. However, after a bit (okay, A LOT) of convincing on Chris's part, I decided that it might not be too bad after all :-).

We figured that we had about 13 hours of actual driving time ahead of us, so we decided to split that into two days of travel. Back in the day (that is, before children), we would have just bit the bullet and driven the whole trip in one day. However, that would be so stressful and so hard with littles in tow that we just decided to take our time. 

We left our house at about 9:00am on Friday, October 19th and headed south. One thing that was hard for me about travelling with littles is the amount of stops we had to make. I like to just drive and GET THERE. Although the kids did GREAT, stops are just necessary. We packed an ice chest of snacks and drinks, but we still had to stop for diaper changes, bottles, potty breaks, lunch, fuel, etc. I think we averaged a stop about every hour and a half. Sigh.

Eventually, we made it to the great state of Texas. This was the first time that Brianna and Brenson had been there!

Like I said, the kiddos did so great in the car. They even took great naps (and while they slept, we took advantage of the opportunity to really make some headway down the road). When they were awake, they played and laughed and looked out the window and just had a good time in general. Brianna has been super excited for our "Weesiana" trip for several weeks, so she was thrilled when we finally crossed the border into Louisiana.

We arrived in Shreveport, Louisiana at about 5:30 that evening (so a total of about 8.5 hours in the car). We both felt good about that progress. The kids were sooooo happy to be out of the car. We knew that we'd soon be hungry for dinner, and we certainly didn't want to load back in the car to go anywhere. So, we decided to have a pizza delivered to our hotel and that worked out perfectly!

As a side note, when we go out of town we generally try to rent suites instead of just a hotel room. This worked out perfectly for us on this trip. We brought our pack-n-play and rented suites that had two beds in the bedroom. We put Brenson in the pack-n-play in the bedroom, while Brianna slept in one of the beds. This meant that Chris and I could hang out in the living room and watch tv or snack or be on the computer while the kids were asleep. 

The next morning (Saturday, October 20th), we grabbed breakfast at the hotel before hitting the road around 9:00am and headed for Baton Rouge. Again, the kids were great in the car! We arrived in Baton Rouge at about 3:00 that afternoon.

If you don't know, Baton Rouge is the capitol of Louisiana. Capitol sites are always a must stop for us, so it worked out great that it was on our way to New Orleans anyway. 

The weather was warm and super sunny. Perfect for a tour of the capitol site!

Capitol grounds are generally beautiful and well manicured.

The lighting was really hard for photo taking, but I love this one:

The State Capitol Building of Louisiana:

Brianna was thrilled to be out of the car! She just ran and ran and ran!

There were several neat features of this capitol building. One was that each step leading up to the main doors  had the name of a state and the year of its statehood on it.

They were actually in chronological order with the most recent states at the top.

Brianna wanted to sit on Oklahoma . . . our home state!

Another unique (and impressive) thing about this capitol building is that it has an observation deck on the 29th floor of the tower. We rode the elevator up and took a look:

The capitol grounds are in the forefront:

Baton Rouge is about an hour from New Orleans (maybe a bit more), but after two days in the car it was LONG hour! We did end up getting to our hotel in downtown NOLA at about 6:00pm.

After quickly getting our things up to our room, we headed out on the town to find some dinner. We decided to just go somewhere within walking distance, so we loaded the kids up in the double stroller and walked about a half mile to the French Quarter. Now, we certainly didn't take our children (or ourselves) to the party portion of the French Quarter, but there were so many people and so much craziness just in the area where we were. I don't even know how to describe the craziness, honestly. We saw ALL types of people (some dressed completely inappropriately, some drunk, some carrying alcoholic drinks as there is no law against openly carrying liquor and alcohol in New Orleans, and even a couple dressed like batman and batwoman). There were lots of musicians playing on the streets, people dancing, and TONS of tourists. It was CA-RAZY!

We did find a cozy little place to eat called Frank's. It was yummy Italian food, and since we had children with us, they let us eat upstairs where we had the whole room to ourselves! This day was actually Chris and I's 11th wedding anniversary. Not the most romantic meal with our kiddos, but we enjoyed it anyway :-).

The service was FABULOUS! The food was okay, too :-).

We also had a nice view off the balcony of the craziness on the street. That was a bit unfortunate.

I was COMPLETELY overstimulated by the time we got back to our suite. Two days in the car topped off by 1,000,000 crazy people was about more than I could handle! However, we went to bed early that night and a good rest helped me a ton :-).

On Sunday, we got up and went to worship service at a local church (GREAT service). We had planned to do some sightseeing that afternoon, but decided to just rest at the hotel instead (and let the kids get a solid nap). It was a super relaxing day that we really needed to get geared up for the rest of the week!


Sarah said...

I love New Orleans!! I wish I had known you were going. I could a given you a list of my "Must-do's" :)

linda eller said...

There is no other place like NO....good, bad or whatever, it is unique for sure. Hope your trip home was equally smooth!