It would be interesting to know how many pigs lips and pigs feet they sell! Apparently nothing on a pig gets wasted around here!
Bayou Segnette State Park where we stayed use to be rated the #1 state park in Louisiana until Hurricane Katrina completely wiped it out. The entire park was completely submerged under water. They have rebuilt most of it but there are some parts they are still working on even now. Aimee was surprised to find they had free laundry as we hadn't seen that at any of the other state parks. This was a nice break from having to pay for the numerous loads it takes to keep a family of 5 in clean clothes.
Woke up to rain again the next day! We decided to take the Sightseeing double decker bus to learn about New Orleans. You would think we would choose to sit inside the bus to stay dry but no, we sat on the top deck in our matching ponchos the tour company gives you. That's the difference when traveling with kids, at least the rain stopped half way through the tour. Everyone really liked seeing all the beads decorating everything and hanging in so many of the trees.
As soon as we got off the bus in the French Quarter we headed to get some beignets, a delicious pastry everyone recommended we try. They were so good we ended up ordering more!
The French Quarter was a pretty neat place with beautiful architecture, lots of little shops, and tons of restaurants that made it hard to choose where to eat. We ended up picking Napolean's Restaurant because it had a great courtyard we could eat in. After a nice lunch, we went for a walk and bumped into a family we had met while we were in Gulf Shores, Alabama. They were from Calgary and we chatted at the pool at the state park we were both staying at. We couldn't believe what a small world it is!
While we were walking around we heard someone comment that they would never bring their kids to New Orleans.
We didn't let this offend us but thought how sad that their kids are going to miss out. We definitely would not bring them during Mardi Gras and did have to steer them away from a few things in a couple of shops but there was lots to see and do that was family friendly. You certainly saw all different kinds of people which we feel is a good thing to expose children to. It provides an opportunity to talk about how the choices you make in life can sometimes effect where you end up. There was certainly other people with kids there that must have felt the same as us! We walked through Jackson square and watched a busker for awhile before we took the bus back to where we parked the truck.
We had planned another huge surprise for the boys that evening! When we found out Jazz Fest was on we noticed that Maroon 5 was playing, a band that they both really like. We listen to them all the time at home and have been listening to them on the I-pod in the truck the whole vacation. We knew they would be really excited to see them live in concert.
We decided to all go (Bruce and Aimee couldn't agree who would stay with Clare, come on, it's Maroon 5!) and everyone had an amazing time! The timing was perfect as they would be on stage from 5 to 7 p.m. It would still be late for Clare by the time we got her settled in bed, but not too bad. They were playing outside at the fairgrounds and because of all the rain it was a mud pit. Ask how much the boys loved that!
We met some other Canadians and a really nice family from the area that go every year. We have never been to a concert like that as a family and it was such a great thing to experience together! Maroon 5 was awesome! When we were leaving the fairgrounds after the show there was some local bands set up in the streets and neighborhood people selling drinks and food. It was a great atmosphere and the perfect end to a perfect night!
Before we could leave Louisiana we had to do a swamp tour!
Clare was still too little to do the air boats so we did The Cajun Critters swamp tour instead. The captain grew up swimming in the bayou, hunting alligators, and eating frogs, turtles, and birds, proudly announcing the only bird in the bayou he's never eaten is the Blue Heron. We will say he was very knowledgeable about the area and a great guy. We were the only ones doing the morning tour (traveling in the off season has been wonderful!) so we had the captain to ourselves.
We saw an alligator before we even left the harbour and saw many more out in the bayou. The water was very dark and muddy but the scenery was quite beautiful with all the Spanish moss hanging down from the trees. The boys were quite impressed by how the captain would get the alligators to come closer to the boat by feeding them marshmallows and how he had named many of them. It was so cute to see Clare yell and point out when she saw a "gator" too.
We listened to some Cajun music on the boat on our way back and Cohen and Clare were feeling the groove! It was a fun morning and we were glad we didn't miss out on doing it!
Everyone is ready for our next border party (just an excuse to scream, yell, and blast the music) as we cross over the state line into Texas!
It was still raining when we left Biloxi and we hoped we would drive into sunnier weather on our way to New Orleans. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case and it rained the entire drive. We were really glad we replaced that wiper! Our drive ended up being a little longer then we expected because of an accident on the highway. We still stopped at the Louisiana Welcome Center and were especially glad we did because we found out Jazz Fest was on! We continued on and set up in the rain but by the time we were finished it had almost stopped. The kids played at the playground for awhile then we headed to Sonic for dinner. We had never ate at a drive in style restaurant where you park, place your order from your car, then have it delivered out to you. The kids thought this was fun and even funnier how many times they had to come out to our car because they kept getting our order wrong. We did some groceries at Wynn Dixie and noticed they sold some items you wouldn't see at our local grocery stores.