Neither Matt or I recall booking our accommodation in New Orleans, but we managed to pick a good one. Great location in the French Quarter - not on Bourbon Street, which now that we have seen and heard Bourbon Street, are grateful for ..
. right around the corner from Johnny Po' Boys, for those familiar with the area. We had a list of things not to miss in New Orleans, (thanks Tara!) and tried to strike them off but it got a bit tricky with the kids in tow. We had a very messy breakfast at Café du Monde, eating beignets and downing café au laits - although I did notice we weren't the messiest group of people they had served that day. We ate oyster po'boys at Johnnys, we had crawfish for dinner - Matt told the kids it was popcorn and they scoffed them down, despite being self-confessed fish-detesters. We nearly sampled a hurricane and then discovered it was rum based, and knowing the effect rum has had on certain members of this family in the past, we took the soft option and tried Absinthe instead. We didn't actually take the kids into the Old Absinthe House with us, we hired a Sitter and had 'date night' in New Orleans, which included dinner at the Bourbon House, a beer at Lafittes Blacksmith House and a would-be nightcap at the House of Blues, but shockingly, they closed at 9pm!
The kids would have been happy to spend 2 full days in the pool, but we managed to get them to walk the French Quarter one day, and take the Trolley Car to the Garden district the other. At all other times the kids could be found soaking in the pool with Matt. Poor weary travelers they are; lucky we have a dangling carrot in the form of DisneyWorld to keep them moving forward. All in all, New Orleans has been fun - not enough jazz being played on street corners but there's a feel-good buzz to the place and a vibrancy that belies the chaos of 2005.
The first thing we noticed coming into Louisiana from Texas was the Cut-Price Cigarettes and Liquor stands. The gas station we pulled into just over the border, actually for a pit-stop rather than a fill-up, was loaded with every imaginable cigarette type. Happy to report that neither Matt or I felt compelled to stock up on nicotine, despite the obvious bargains. The second thing we noticed was the quality of the roads, although we had a change of driver for this leg so it could have been the quality of the driving. Either way, it was a bumpy ride into New Orleans. We traveled long spells of roadway that crossed the (presumably 'gator filled) swamps, not a good time for a toilet stop which was unfortunate for Daniel.