Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Mini trip to the Big Easy

 New Orleans has been somewhere I've wanted to visit for years and once Brad got back from his 3 week work trip we decided it was time to treat ourselves to a mini vacation to see the Big Easy.  NOLA is only 3 hours away. Now that sounds like nothing, but with a 7 month old baby that isn't too crazy about being stuck in a car seat I was pretty nervous about the drive.  Thankfully he (mostly) did ok.
A baby in a bar!  Not the last time our baby would be in a bar on this trip.  We were waiting for our room and no one was at the bar so we went for it.
 We decided to stay at the Hotel le Marais that we thought would be in a good location in the French Quarter and that had the amenities we were looking for like parking, a heated pool, breakfast and wifi.  We chose a king room with a balcony overlooking the French Quarter and nearby Bourbon Street since we knew we'd be in all night with the baby sleeping and that way we'd at least be able to look down on the nightlife.

After getting settled in our room we went right out to check out Jackson Square and the St. Louis Cathedral.   The square was full of artists, fortune tellers, and musicians.  I LOVED the vibe of this city. The people were so interesting, bohemian.  NOLA has such a unique culture, food, music, history and traditions.  It was like no other place I've ever been. I loved it instantly.

Cafe du Monde is a coffee shop established in 1862 and is famed for their amazing coffee and beignets. The cafe was packed and the life was forever, so since we had a baby in tow and not a whole lot of time we got in the slightly shorter line for take out.  The beignets were heaven.  I would gladly wait in a line again for those babies. 

We strolled around the French Quarter taking in the ambiance, street music and Louisiana flavor. 

We went back to our hotel via Bourbon Street.  I guess I never imagined experiencing the naughtiness of this place while holding my infant son, but I'm glad I did regardless.  It was early in the evening still, so the bars we still somewhat empty and things were relatively calm. Or as quiet and calm they can be on this party street.  NOLA is cool because you can go into any bar and ask for your drink to-go and then drink it as you walk.  I HAD to experience Bourbon Street with a cocktail in hand... and a baby strapped to my body.  I'm sure I looked like mom of the year as we strolled by the strip clubs. 
Brad was embarrassed to have a baby on Bourbon street, but other people were totally doing it too.  Much to Brad's embarrassment I popped into an empty bar (wearing the baby) and asked for a Hurricane to-go.  Sadly this drink was disgusting and tasted like it was 99.9% liquor, so if you were are looking to black out this drink was for you. I carried it around until the first trash can I found. 

We went back to our hotel for a dip in their outdoor heated swimming pool before putting the baby to bed.  The pool was great, we were the only ones using it, and Pax had fun burning off any extra energy before bedtime.

  While I got the baby to sleep Brad headed out to get us some Po Boys take out for dinner.  I'm a little jealous he got to go out, listen to the band and have a beer sans baby while getting our food, but at least one of us got to enjoy it.
 When he got back we took our sandwiches out on the balcony (that did not have any chairs, wtf?!) and had a picnic of Po Boys and my favorite wine.  My shrimp Po Boy was excellent and if I hadn't of been so cold I would have really enjoyed it. We went back in and watched some shows on the iPad with earphones all while trying to be as quiet as possible and keeping the lights off so we didn't wake up the baby.  Vacations with a baby is a whole new experience!!  Pax did great in the hotel. I was prepared for him to be awake frequently, especially with the loud raucous of drunken revelry going on below our hotel room all night long, but he only woke up once briefly.  Such a good baby!
 In the morning we enjoyed a complementary hotel breakfast before we headed out to see more of NOLA.  Even though we just had breakfast we wanted more beignets, so we headed back over towards Cafe du Monde. 

The line in the morning for Cafe du Monde will blow your mind.  We decided we didn't have time for that crazy long line, so we got into slightly less long line to try their beignets.  We each got beignets and split a delicious frozen coffee. 

Enjoying a stroll along the great Mississippi River.

Brad is a multi tasking daddy champion.  Here he is wearing a squirming baby with a bottle in one hand and a map on his phone in the other. 

A friend recommended getting a Pimm's cup at the historic Napoleon House, so I did just that.  And that drink was SO good.  I happily sipped my drink as we strolled down Royal.

We checked out of our hotel and got in the car to head to the Garden District.  We found a parking spot right outside of the Lafayette Cemetery #1 and went in to take a look.  This cemetery is quite unusual, super old (established in 1833) and has these unique above ground tombs. Super creepy.  Many, if not most, of the tombs were group burials such as many members of a family. One had 37 names on it.  I don't know how they all fit in there. We walked around and looked at all the names, dates and ages of the people buried there and tried to find the oldest date. There were a lot of dead babies and it made me hold mine just a little tighter and kiss his cheeks a little more often.

Next I looked up a walking tour on my phone so we could go see some of the grand Garden District mansions.  It was so much fun to walk through this incredible neighborhood and learn some history of the aristocratic, spectacular 19th-century mansions built in a variety of styles.  We passed by a mansion for sale that was so impressive I had to look up to see what it was listed for... get this, 8 million dollars.  And it had been reduced a million.  Craaaaazy.

After our walk we really worked up an appetite for lunch.   Sadly, we just missed the last seating at the famous Commander's Palace, but it was meant to be because we went over to Magazine Street with it's fabulous stores and shops where Brad found a French bakery.  Ever since my trip to France I have a major obsession with French macarons.  This shop had fun flavors and beautiful macarons. I got a box of 8 and wish I had bought a bigger box because they were soooo good.  I also got us a slice of authentic purple, green and sparkly gold King Cake and I got everything to-go since we still had to have lunch. 

We found a fantastic cafe for a quick, but awesome last meal in NOLA before hitting the road.  I can't WAIT to go back.  There is so much more I'd like to do and see.  I would definitely recommend checking out this unique city... even with a baby.

1 comment:

Mary said...

Go you, rocking the travel-with-baby! It sounds like New Orleans was incredible and you and Brad definitely made the most of it.

I'm sorry I could not be there to manfully drink that hurricane for you. :)