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This past April, the hubs and I loaded up the kiddos and the camper and went to New Orleans for spring break. It was absolutely one of my most favorite family vacations. The weather was perfect, the people were amazing, the music was fantastic, the beignets were delicious, and the memories were priceless. We stayed for a week and that was the perfect amount of time to leisurely see all the sights without feeling rushed.
Where we stayed
We stayed at the KOA New Orleans West. It was a nice, quiet, clean campground. No frills and not very big, but the price was right! It was about 30 minutes to the heart of the city, which was fine with us. I mean, we spent a week in New Orleans for about $300!
What we did
Our first day, we didn’t really have a plan, so we decided to just wing it. It was Easter Sunday and I didn’t know what would be open, so we just headed downtown and parked near the French Market and decided to find a place for lunch. We ended up at Napoleon House. The atmosphere was fantastic with all the ladies dressed in their Sunday best and huge Easter hats. Samantha and I split a Muffaletta and still couldn’t finish it, it was so huge! Gordon got the red beans and rice and Anna had a delicious grilled cheese sandwich.
With our bellies full, we wandered back to the French Market and shopped for a bit. It reminded me of the Charleston slave market, only not quite as nice.
We then decided to head towards the street cars for a ride and walk down Bourbon Street on the way (just to say we had been there). Unbeknownst to us, there was an Easter parade about to happen! We heard the music and floats coming, and just found a spot on the sidewalk. It was SO FUN!!! They were throwing beads and eggs with candy to everyone and had on the most ridiculously huge hats! I loved every minute of it! And what an awesomely spontaneous thing to have happened!
We then rode the street car from the beginning to end without getting off. Just enjoying the scenery and breeze blowing through the windows.
On the way back to the car, we walked past Cafe du Monde and saw that there was NO LINE! If you’ve ever been to New Orleans, then you know what a big deal this was! So, of course, we stopped in to enjoy their famous beignets.
We ended the night laughing and playing card games at the camper.
Today was plantation day! This is about an hour drive from NOLA and very much worth the time.
We started the day at Laura Plantation. It was an old creole sugar cane plantation that was run by 4 generations of women! The tour guide was absolutely amazing and one of the best tours I’ve ever been on. She read us an excerpt from a book written by the Laura and actually cried as she read it. Very moving….
We then ate at B+C Seafood, a stone’s throw away from Laura Plantation. It very much reminded me of a hole in the wall, and those are always the best places to eat. We munched on jambalaya, boudin balls, gumbo, red beans and rice, and gator burger.
After that, we drove to Oak Alley Plantation, which was only about 15 minutes from Laura Plantation. Where Laura Plantation was more about the people that lived there, rather than the actual house, Oak Alley was all about the beautiful house. It was breathtakingly beautiful and the oaks that line the walkway were amazing. Many films have been made there, including Interview with a Vampire. Make sure you enjoy a mint julep while you are there!
We purchased a walking tour of the Garden District and Lafayette Cemetery No. 1. I feel like this tour was a waste of money, as the tour guide was a super cute older lady, but I couldn’t hear a word she said and we had to wait about 30 minutes for her to show up because the group was too big for the tour guide (who spoke much louder) we had, and they divided us into 2 groups. Anywho, I feel that just doing this on your own would be just as nice and it would save you some dough. The houses in this area are beautiful and the cemetery is eerily just as beautiful.
Today we went to the WWll Museum. This was something my kids looked forward to the most as they are both learning about it in school. Let me give you fair warning. Get there as soon as the doors open! We weren’t in a big hurry since this was the only thing we were going to do that day. We got there about 1230 and the place was PACKED! There are 2 things you can do to upgrade your visit, and we were hoping to do both, but they sell out of those tickets fast and we could only do one (and it was the last showing of the day). You can sign up for the PT-305, but since we didn’t get to do it, I can’t really tell you what it is. Me? Bitter? No…. BUT we did get to see the Beyond all Boundaries 4D movie, and it was well worth the wait! The best part of the whole day, by far!
Today was my favorite day in New Orleans! We started the day with a swamp tour on the bayou. I wish I could remember where we went, but I didn’t write it down! We didn’t sign up for this through a tour company, but just did this on our own. We opted not to do the airboat because it was a lot more expensive and I was told you get the same experience either way (you just go slower on the smaller boat). Our tour guide was Cajun and knew everyone out there on the water. I loved all of his tall tales and we even got to hold a baby alligator, not to mention we saw a ton of them in the water.
We decided to go back downtown and eat more beignets, do some shopping on Royal Street, and listen to jazz in the streets. We accidentally happened upon Doreen Ketchens and she was AMAZING! I could have listened to her all day. If you ever get a chance to see her in person, I highly suggest it.
We then headed to the French Market to get their famous roasted corn (holy moly delicious) and then made our way back to the camper.
We ate dinner at a hole in the wall near the campground called Dot’s Diner, and of course it was delicious.
As you can see, I loved everything New Orleans had to offer and made priceless family memories. If you’ve never been, I highly suggest it!
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