Friday, July 6, 2012

Goodnight NOLA!

New Orleans, Louisiana (NOLA) is very special city to me.  In fact, I claim that I grew up there.  My family lived there when I was 10-17 years old.  It is still the longest I've ever lived anywhere.

Here is my house.  
The current owners apparently don't know how to trim bushes though.

My best friend, Whitney, has family in NOLA, too (which is how, where, and why we met).  A few years ago, Whitney got Joel the "Goodnight NOLA" children's book for his birthday.  We all love this book.  So, we decided to use it as our guide to introduce Joel and Kirstin to the Big Easy. :-)  We attempted to see,  experience, or taste as many things from the book as possible!  Since we were in NOLA, it was only fitting that we plan our time around eating.  We had plans with different people for every meal that we were in town.  What a blessing to see so many dear friends in a short time.

We had lunch on St. Charles Ave. with Pattie and Kathy from my former church.  
When then rode the streetcar from Uptown to Downtown.

Joel loves all things transportation!

Kirstin was trying to figure out why her hair was blowing (and she wasn't taking a nap yet).

Joel looking out the window enjoying the scenes of the city!

It was about this time that we realized that we only had enough cash on us to get one person back to our car on the streetcar (it's only $1.25, but you have to pay in cash with exact change...we didn't plan well).  We could have just stayed on until it looped back around, but that was going to take way longer than what our parking meter and Kirstin's sleep needs was going to allow.  So, welcome to the Marriott family NOLA adventure. We exited the streetcar and split up.  Jim and Kirstin (who rode for free) found their way across the street to wait for a streetcar to take them back Uptown to our car.  Joel and I started walking towards where we thought the Louisiana Children's Museum was located.  Fortunately, my mom answered her phone and was able to look up the address for us.  We were only about 6 blocks away.  Since we have an Association of Children's Museums annual membership (which I highly recommend if you have a local museum and/or travel with your kids) we just showed our card and walked in.  Yeah for a free bathroom in New Orleans (super rare)!!

Joel played in the "Port of New Orleans"

Shopping in Winn Dixie 

We explored the entire museum (which could use some TLC) and reconnected with Jim who had gotten to our van and drove around for a while for Kirstin to nap just in time to drive to our dinner location.  We met my friends Julie (a bridesmaid in our wedding) and Kerri (along with her family) for dinner a Deanie's in Bucktown.  It was wonderful to spend time with these ladies and catch up on their lives.  Julie is now a doctor and starting her residency and Kerri has 2 beautiful children as well as being a teacher.  Deanie's was also a fabulous choice to give us our fix of New Orleans seafood.  This is the place that easily has a 2 hour or more wait any night of the week.  We, however, met for an early dinner and had no wait...but it was hard to get out when we left.

Typically, our family would stop for ice cream, but I said we had to go to Sonny's to get snowballs.  Jim was skeptical.

Here it is... my mouth watering Strawberry Snowball with Condensed Milk!!!
Jim is now a believer.  In fact after one bite of his pina colada snowball he said, "why don't they have these more places, this is amazing."

Joel, too, enjoyed his snowball.  

We then headed "home" to my dear friends Ann and Bryant's house.  Our families lived life together when we were there.  We've remained close, even though we don't have the constant communication.  It's really neat the way God works though.  I walked in and it was as if I had never left, except I did wait for them to answer the door (for maybe the first time ever!)

Bryant took Joel for a ride on his 3 wheel motorcycle.  

Clearly, I trust this man dearly since I let him drive off with my precious, Joel.

Then it was Jim's turn.

Since the boys each had a ride, it was my turn.  I have red lips from my snowball and my teeth were clinched with anticipation.  It was actually a pretty stable and smooth ride.

We all made it back safe for a great night's rest.  The next morning we headed to the French Quarter to experience some more things on Joel's list from his book.

First stop: Cafe du Monde for beignets! 

I'm pretty sure Joel is threatening to blow the powdered sugar, but he didn't.

Kirstin didn't want to share her beignet with Daddy.  She is trying to take it back out of his mouth.  The joys of wearing her in the Ergo carrier.

St. Louis Cathedral in Jackson Square

Here's Joel walking around with St. Louis cathedral in the background (just to prove that I took the pictures instead of scanning a postcard).  It was a beautiful day!

We had lunch at New Orleans Hamburger and Seafood just before leaving town.  I was proud when the waiter asked me if we were locals because I ordered like I knew what I was talking about. :-)  

Kirstin is sampling some of seafood.  We like for our kids to try the foods that we are eating.  You can get grilled cheese anywhere, but when in New Orleans you will eat shrimp and crawfish. :-)

We also drove past the Superdome, Mississippi River, Lake Pontchartrain, the Causeway, Lucky Dog vendors, ate a praline, and saw many Mardi Gras beads hanging from the streetcar and telephone lines to cover the tour of NOLA in a day and a half.

With that we had to say Goodnight NOLA


  1. I'm skeptical of that condensed milk creation.

    I love that you toured using the book as a guide. I think I'll put that in the back of my mind for future trips... and maybe I'll find a Los Angeles book to use for our adventures to my hometown!

    1. We also have the Goodnight Chicago board book. We've not quite made it to all of the sites yet, but are working on it (we wait for convenient free days). :-)

  2. This is Jim...Brandy, seriously,those snowballs are fantastic! Cheap too (well,expensive for a cup full of shaved ice,but cheap for a dessert!) :-)