For spring break, the monkeys, my niece and I headed to New Orleans. We met up with my buddy, Marlinee, her hubs, and their four kids. For those of you counting, that is 3 adults and 7 kids! Quite a change from my past few visits to Nola! We all stayed at my cousin's apartment in the CBD so it was extra fun.
Team Marlinee arrived on Friday and we rolled in Saturday around 6:30pm. We had a 7:00pm dinner reservation at the High Hat Cafe, so I literally pulled up to the apartment, unloaded the kids and luggage, parked the car and hailed a taxi.
This was the first order of business.
The owners of the High Hat hail from Memphis, so you may recognize this.
I thought for sure it used to be on Main Street, but Facebook crowdsourcing said Linden. Regardless, the High Hat was a great place for our first meal. The service was outstanding!! I had gumbo and a shrimp po-boy, which is my standard fare in Nola. The kids ate grilled cheese sandwiches because they were upset about the $15 cab fare. (Jiro was officially Spring Break CFO!)
Between courses, Marlinee entertained us.
(I enjoyed my dinner, but clearly the fancier fare on the menu is what makes High Hat a must visit. I was very jealous of Max and Marlinee's plates of pasta and scallops, although Joseph said he "won" dinner with his pork plate.)
After dinner we took another taxi (our last) back to the apartment and settled in. Team Marlinee soon returned and the kids all settled in with their various electronics. (We had two Wii-U's, a laptop, multiple iPhones and iPads.) Since everyone was getting along so well, the adults decided to stroll around the corner to the Roosevelt and have a night cap at the Sazerac Bar.
Sunday morning we walked to Cafe Beignet in the Quarter for breakfast. By this time, Satchel decided he wanted to see how long it would take to make me mad. You know, just for fun. I interpreted this to mean he was really hungry and did not let him break me! Everyone was all smiles after eating and we headed back to the cars for our main activity of the day--touring the "Brad Pitt" houses in the Ninth ward.
Marlinee made sure everyone was getting a good understanding of what happened during Katrina, and we enjoyed strolling around the neighborhood for awhile.
We agreed that we all need a house with a party roof, whether hurricanes came to Memphis or not.
Next we went to the Lower Ninth Ward Living Museum. It was really well put togther.
We had one final stop at the House of Dance & Feathers, which is a Mardi Gras Indian S & P Club Cultural Education Center.
Then we headed back over the bridge to the Bywater. Since my favorite popsicle place, Meltdown, is on the way, we stopped for a quick treat. (The owner moved the store from the Quarter last fall. And yes, she totally knows me because I never miss visiting her when I am in town!) Salted caramel is still the favorite! (Here's an old review.)
From there we headed a few blocks over to Amy's house to visit with her family and check out the newly opened Bywater section of Crescent Park. The kids were anxious to go to the park, so we sent them over and spent some time chatting at Amy's house. When we met up with them an hour later, they were sorely disappointed. When I say "park" they hear "playground"! But trust me, it is lovely--especially for walking or picnicking.
We also learned that beignets and popsicles are not enough food to keep this crew going all day. I mean look at the size of these two!
Luckily my second favorite Bywater locale, Pizza Delicious, is adjacent to the park. (I reviewed it here!)
After dinner we were all pretty worn out. The evening was spent relaxing back at the apartment. I did manage to sneak out for one drink with Amy & John at my favorite watering hole, Bar Tonique.
Monday was Swamp Tour day! I have been to Nola a million times but never once I have I been on a swamp tour. I was pretty excited. We filled a cooler and got sandwiches to go from the restaurant downstairs, oddly named The Store and headed to La Place. Or Hammond. I don't know, I just followed Max's minivan to Cajun Swamp Tours.
We had a short wait, which just enough time for a picnic.
And staged photos.
The swamp itself was quite picturesque, and we had pefect weather.
At 2:15pm we loaded onto a large pontoon boat with a very chatty and friendly guide named Brandon. He brought along some critters to keep us company between alligator sightings.
Don't worry, the nutria above is stuffed!
After the tour, Team Marlinee decided to hit the Whole Foods in Metairie so Max could make dinner for the kids. I made a detour to Cold Stone Creamery since it was Sutton's only request.
Back at the apartment we did a little resting and got the kids fed. (Thanks, Max!)
The adults headed uptown to Lilette. Only once we got there, Marlinee worried we were under dressed, so we went next door to The Bouligny Tavern, which is the sister restaurant. The weather was grand, so we sat outside. It was a little dark to read the menu, and these two immediately pulled out their flashlight apps.
(I was hoping for a monocle.) The food was good, but we definitely did not eat enough of it!
After dinner we went by the Bulldog for more patio sitting and a night cap.
Stay tuned for more Nola action...
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