New Orleans Family Travel Guide
I’m blessed to have a mother who loves to travel.
First time abroad for me was when I was 2 months old and that was to India. My mom still regrets taking me saying that I really should have skipped that trip; having no recollection of the trip I had wished she had waited for me to be 200 months old to take the trip instead of 2 months.
That being said my mother and I have had many adventures together but now that she is older she cannot travel to the far corners of the world, she has chosen places much closer to home to explore. Lucky for my kids they get to come along on our adventure too.
For spring break my Anne Rice loving mom decided that she needed to visit the home of the vampire Lestat so we ventured to the historical land of New Orleans. Now mind you I was a bit apprehensive about taking my children to the vampire voodoo infested bayou that I imagined it to be, filled with drunks walking the beautiful cobbled streets but lo and behold I was completely wrong!
We took a direct flight out of LAX and landed in NOLA in the afternoon to one of the nicest/cleanest art deco airports I have ever seen.
If you are thinking about renting a car decide against it, unless you want to travel outside the city. New Orleans is very compact so you can walk, take a taxi, trolley or bus anywhere. My advice is to take the shuttle to your hotel not a taxi. We made the mistake of taking a taxi and were swindled. The rates for a shuttle are fair. If you buy a round trip ticket at the airport counter you get a discount; also make sure to book your shuttle return at least 24hr in advance. Now in terms of hotel; we decided on a boutique hotel which was a 5 minute walk across Canal Street to the French Quarter.
In my opinion it was a prime location. We were far away from the chaos and noise yet close enough to be in the swing of things whenever we liked. Our hotel had an urban feel and was really trendy, not ideal for people with smaller children but it worked well for us. The rooms we surprising large and because it was an older building your walls were solid concrete so you couldn’t hear your neighbors and they couldn’t hear you. Once we unpacked, we decided to hit the town and try out the city’s famous Cajun cooking.
We walked down Chartres St. to see our dining options and stumbled upon The Original Pierre Maspero’s.
What a score on our end. It was our first time trying Creole cuisine and we were not disappointed. From their Sampler which consisted of crawfish étouffée, gumbo and rice & beans to their Blackened Jambalaya our taste buds were in heaven.
What about the kids? Well funny enough New Orleans is extremely kid friendly and everywhere you go they have kid’s menus so my son got the Shrimp Po boy and my daughter the Mac n Cheese. While at the restaurant we chatted up with our server and he told us about some places to visit and even went to the back and brought us a map. He circled areas for us to visit and scratched out areas that were dodgy. I was blown away by his kindness and eagerness to share his city. His kindness wasn’t a random thing; almost everyone in New Orleans was as kind and polite. While at dinner my 5 year started chanting for beignets. Now I have no idea how she even knew about them but she informed me that we had to go to Café du Monde for beignets. Later on I found out that my husband had told her tales of the famous treats and how they tasted like puffs of clouds (which they do – warm puffs of sugary clouds). We walked for about 10 minutes down Chartres towards Jackson Square, along the way seeing the Cathedral and turning right on St. Peter. As we approach Decatur my daughter who has just learned to read screams looks its Cafe du Monde. Sure enough there it was.
I looked at my watch and it looked as if it said 9pm. How can this place have a line out the door at 9pm? Well it truly was 9pm and the place was hopping. When you get to Café du Monde the first thing you need to do is find an empty table and grab it.
It doesn’t matter if there are plates piled 10 feet tall grab a table and sit. The next thing you do is look around for a busboy and motion him to come over to clear the plates as well as the 4 inches of powdered sugar on the table. Once you’ve accomplished those two steps, a server magically appears and takes your order. The beignets come in 3 per order. We ordered 2 which were plenty for the 4 of us.
I also recommend ordering a café au lait and a few waters per person because once you get your order you won’t see your server again! Then just sit back, eat your heavenly clouds and people watch.
To be continued…
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