Monday, November 12, 2012

NOLA, Part 2

Okay, I'm finally ready to post the second {super looooooong} part (of three or maybe four) of our New Orleans trip. If you missed it, you can find part one here

After a tiring two days of travel followed by a restful Sunday, we were ready to go on Monday morning. Chris's work conference was on Monday afternoon, all day Tuesday, and Wednesday morning, so we had planned to do some sight-seeing on Monday morning before the conference began. We grabbed a quick breakfast at the hotel and set out.

We were staying in downtown NOLA, so every corner was a photo-op.

We thought this display was so fun and so New Orleans. When we walked up to it, there was a middle aged couple taking photos. I offered to take one of them together, and hoped that they would offer the same for us. Well, I took their photo, they stood and told us all about their grandchildren for like five minutes, then took off before I even had the chance to ask them to take our photo (and they certainly didn't offer). Hmph.

Every time we took Brenson's photo, he would reach out and wave at the camera. Cute :-).

There was something unique (or we could go with creepy) lurking around every corner . . .

Brianna just had to have a photo with this guy, too.

We got to stand and watch boats move along the water. It was very interesting. See Brenson waving at the camera again :-)?

After watching the boats, we headed back to the French quarter. It was much nicer in the daylight.

This is the St. Louis cathedral overlooking famous Jackson Square. By this time, it was 10:00am and Brenson had conked out for his morning nap. Sweet baby.

We stopped someone and asked them to take our family photo. This was the best I could do with it after cropping. The whole building would have been nice. *Sigh*

At this point, Brianna was having a great time. She loved this fountain!

The foliage on the grounds of St. Louis Cathedral was beautiful. It was such a perfect day for sight-seeing!

Still sleeping . . . he is so good to take his nap in the stroller so we could maximize the time we had in the city.

After Jackson Square, we took the short walk down the street to Cafe Du Monde. We had heard and read from several sources that Cafe Du Monde was a must-do while in New Orleans. It's open 24 hours a day every day of the year except for Christmas, and let me tell you, this place was PACKED OUT. It has a HUGE outdoor seating area and there was not one place to sit! However, behind the outdoor seating was a little garden area that had walls you could sit on. So, we headed back there while Chris stood in line to get us food.

In a matter of the few minutes between Jackson Square and Cafe Du Monde, Brianna turned into a little monster. It was SO unlike her. She just became a HUGE grump.

I was really, really irritated with the way she was acting.

While she was being a stinker, a man was walking around giving balloon animals to the children. I didn't think she should get one due to her behavior, but he made one for her anyway.

After I saw these photos, I felt super guilty. The child was SICK (more on that to come), but I didn't realize it. Isn't it so obvious in her eyes, though? No wonder she was acting awful.

Chris finally found us with the beignets and chickory (what we had heard were the must-haves at Cafe Du Monde). Brianna - who is usually up for anything - would barely let the beignet (kind of like a super fluffy donut if you've never had one) touch her lips. Then she just cried.

Brenson enjoyed it though!

After Brianna just continued to melt-down, we finally just loaded up and headed back to the hotel. I was SO annoyed. I thought she was just being a brat, and because of her behavior we were cutting our sight-seeing short by over an hour. ARGH. I honestly thought she was still just tired from travelling, so as soon as we got back to the hotel, I put her to bed. It was only about 11:15am, and she went right to sleep.

Chris went on to his conference, and I watched TV for like two hours straight. I NEVER watch TV during the day (we don't even have cable), so I just vegged out with HGTV. Haha. I love watching HGTV when we are on vacation, and I for sure took advantage of the opportunity!

At about 1:30pm, Brianna woke up and was pretty much lethargic. She wouldn't play, eat, or even sit up. I quickly realized that she had a fever as well. I sent this photo (taken with my phone) to Chris:

Annnnnd, approximately two minutes later, she cried out, said, "Momma!" and threw up ALL over those pillows, the couch, and herself. OH. MY.

I scooped her up, ran her into the bathroom, and ran back into the living area just in time to grab Brenson before he put his hand in the mess. I put him in the pack n play and proceeded to get Brianna cleaned up. She was screaming, he was screaming, and there was PUKE everywhere. YAY. I texted Chris a quick note and just said, "B threw up. Back-up needed if possible." Lucky for me, he had just been dismissed for a 20 minute break and was able to run up to our room and help me.

I called the front desk to let them know that I needed housekeeping to either come clean the mess or bring me something to clean it with, and the guy was completely RUDE to me about it. He acted so annoyed and irritated that my sick child had thrown up in the room. As if no one had ever puked in a room in downtown New Orleans before. *rolls eyes*

After that, Brianna was 100% fine. Her fever was gone, she was happy, hungry, and back to her {well-behaved} little self. Praise God!

After Chris's conference ended that evening, we had planned to take a streetcar (trolley) to the Garden District and just walk around a bit. Since Brianna was completely fine, we went ahead with the plan. Unfortunately, the streetcar that runs from downtown to the Garden District was undergoing repairs, so we ended up on a city bus instead. NOT my idea of fun, but the kids thought it was fantastic! Brenson kept squealing and laughing, and Brianna begged us to ride the bus again for the rest of the week. Chris snapped this photo of us on the bus (he had to stand up front with the stroller):

The Garden District was beautiful, just like we had heard. It is basically a neighborhood of HUGE, older homes that are well kept and just lovely.

Brianna and Brenson were having so much fun riding around seeing the sights.

The houses were incredible.

We walked a long ways down St. Charles Avenue, and eventually came to a beautiful park. By this time, both kids had fallen asleep in the stroller, but we were thoroughly enjoying ourselves.

When Brenson woke up, he wanted to be our navigator. Then he ate the map. Ahem.

We ended up walking several miles back to our hotel instead of taking the bus back. I love walking through a city, but we ended up being out later than planned because we rode the bus farther from our hotel than we realized. It was great to be able to see that part of the city first-hand, though.

The next morning (Tuesday), Chris went to his conference and the kiddos and I just hung out in the hotel room all day. It worked out perfectly since we had a suite and not just a room. Both kids took great naps, and I maxed out on my HGTV quota for the rest of the year, haha!

When Chris got home that evening, we decided to head across the street from our hotel to a restaurant called Mother's. Like I said in my previous New Orleans post, Chris goes down there to work about 3 times a year. One of the guys he works with who lives in NOLA had told him that Mother's was a must-do in NOLA. We had also read about it in several tour books, and it was Zagat guide rated in 2008. We were excited to try it!

Brianna was pumped to being eating at Mother's!

Our hotel was right across the street from Mother's, and we had watched the line to get in come out the door , go down the street, and wrap around the corner each night. So, we went early (like 5:15pm) to beat the crowd. These photos were taken when we first got there, and by the time we left it was PACKED.

Brianna took this photo :-).

Okay, so here's where I admit what a weiner I am. Mother's is famous for their ham, seafood, Po' Boys, and fried chicken. I don't do seafood at all. Like at all. I also don't like eating meat off the bone (so, no fried chicken). Cabbage is not my favorite, so Po' Boys were out as well. That left ham (which only came in red beans and rice) and a salad. So, I went with a grilled chicken salad . . . only I don't really like anything with my salad except lettuce. So really I ate grilled chicken and lettuce. Sad, yes? We go to this famous restaurant, and I eat lettuce :-).

Chris ordered crawfish etouffee, red beans and rice, and fruit. Brianna took over his fruit and also enjoyed a large part of his read beans and rice. He made me try a bite of the crawfish etouffee, and it tasted like something straight out of the ocean (no, thank you.). Then, he made me try the red beans and rice (a first for me!), and they were super yummy! I was impressed and wished I had an order of my own!

Brenson also enjoyed the red beans and rice. I think between Brianna and Brenson, Chris only got like two bites of his red beans and rice, haha!

As we were leaving, I was taking a photo of Chris and the kids under the Mother's sign outside. A nice gentleman offered to take a family shot for us. Love it!

After dinner, we decided to head back to Jackson Square and take a horse-drawn carriage tour of the French Quarter. So. Fun.

This is a horrible shot because it was taken as we were moving, but you get the idea of the narrow streets that make up the French Quarter.
We rode by Brad and Angelina's house, Johnny Depp's house, and the quiet end of Bourbon Street. Our tour guide was excellent and we learned a ton of interesting things about NOLA. Brianna and Brenson both LOVED it!

Zydeco band!

During our tour, we passed tons of nightclubs and bars. We even stopped at one and a waitress came out to the carriage to bring you alcoholic drinks if you wanted them. We are just soooo not accustomed to that world (thankfully), so it was a bit shocking to us. One drunk lady came out from the bar while our carriage was stopped (the other couple on the carriage with us got drinks), and offered Brianna a drink of her hurricane. Both Chris and I were like "NO!" and shielded Brianna from her. Crazy woman.

Brenson enjoyed petting the mule (horses are not allowed in the city . . . only mules).

Our tour guide then let Brianna feed Rock-N-Roll (the mule) its treat after the tour. Of course, Brianna loved this!

One thing we realized about New Orleans is that the natives are obsessed with their city (kind of like New Yorkers, ya know?). They think it's the greatest place on earth AND they want you to love it as much as they do. Therefore, they were super friendly everywhere we went, offering suggestions and advice and secrets to having a great time. I'm not sure we've ever been to a friendlier city than New Orleans. It's not somewhere I would ever want to live (or really even visit again), but we loved that the people were so friendly!

Stay tuned for part three!


Cheryl said...

This looks like a wonderful trip, that is, except for the puking episode! I'm glad it was a quick little illness and y'all were able to enjoy the rest of the trip.

Johannah said...

Love all your pictures! Looks like you all had a great time! I would love to visit New Orleans sometime =)