Sunday morning, I left the Mom’s retreat early to head home, take the dirty clothes out of my suitcase, put clean clothes into my suitcase, and then we were back out the door and on the road by 1:00 pm, heading east to New Orleans. It was a good day for the drive, and although there was traffic it wasn’t too bad. When we arrived in town, we went straight to Mike’s Great Aunt Yvonne’s house. She is 93 years old, but you would never guess it by talking to her. She is in great health, and always has been – in the 40+ years that she worked, she never missed a day of work because she was sick. Not a single one. That just boggles my mind. She said the last time she was sick, she was 23 and had the flu. Amazing. If only the rest of us were so lucky.
After a great visit with her, we headed to our hotel on the edge of the French Quarter. Well, first we headed to the other Marriott hotel. It seems that there are two of them on Canal St., just a block apart. So we drove in circles (lots of one-way streets) to get to the next one. It was a nice hotel, with a great view of the Quarter and the Mississippi River in the background.
Monday morning, Jason & I got up to drive Mike to Norco, where the Shell refinery he was working at for the trip is located. Then we went back to the hotel to get ready to go on the CEMETARY TOUR! Whoo hoo!!! I finally got to go on the cemetary tour. I can’t tell you how happy that made me. I will advise future visitors to New Orleans – go on the tour in the winter. Maybe the spring or the fall. New Orleans is *hot* in the summer, and the cemetary has no shade at all, and all the white tombs radiate heat. I’m glad the tour guide made a stop at the A&P in the Quarter so that we could pick up a second round of water to take with us. Aside from the heat, it was really cool. Interesting to learn some of the history of New Orleans as a whole, and of the cemetary itself. I have a whole new appreciation for the city.
After the tour we stopped at a small shop that had prints of paintings of the French Quarter, and I picked up a small cemetary one to go with my collection of other prints. The air conditioning was a nice break, and the shop owner was so helpful. (I have his card at home, so I’ll add the shop name later.) From there, we went to the ice cream shop to get some ice cream, then to the Quarter Stitch to get a yarn fix. Ok, I got a yarn fix, Jason just enjoyed the fact that he could sit and relax and be cool. They had a great selection of Koigu, which is my latest yarn
fetish of choice. From there, we stopped for lunch, then walked a bit, finally heading to Cafe Du Monde for beignets. Mmmmm… After that, it was off to the local Lush store. I had spotted it on the way to the cemetary tour earlier in the day, but the shop wasn’t open yet. It was fun to have a chance to sniff all the goodies in person, but it was a much smaller shop then the last ones I visited in London. They definitely did not have the full selection of bath bombs, bubble bars and other goodies. It was still nice, and Jason even picked out a bubble bar for himself. We headed to Hard Rock Cafe across the street to get Kathy’s t-shirt, then it was back to the hotel to rest.
Mike was able to get a ride in from the refinery with his co-worker, so when they arrived back at the hotel we headed out again to the Quarter to find something for dinner for them. (Jason and I had picked up food on the way back to the hotel earlier.) We went to Bubba Gump, and I had some of the best key lime pie *ever*. I was told that their shrimp dinners were good too, but I was all about that key lime pie. After dinner, Mike’s co-worker headed off to the casino, and we walked back to Cafe Du Monde so Mike could get some beignets. Jason & I weren’t up for a lot of walking by then, but it was Mike’s only chance to visit Cafe Du Monde, so we couldn’t pass it up.
Tuesday morning, Jason & I slept in, then lounged around the hotel. We went to their fantastic breakfast/brunch buffet and had great omelets and other goodies. Afterwards we decided to head for the pool for awhile since the hotel was nice and let us arrange a 2:30 pm check-out. We left the pool around 1:30 to get showers and pick up the bags before heading out. After we checked out we headed back to Lush in the car. I managed to get in and out of Lush with just one Karma Shampoo Bar, the one item I went into the shop to buy. As we left, Jason asked if we could return to the ice cream shop, so we walked a few blocks to get another cool, refreshing treat. While we were there, Mike called to say that they were done at work, so we went to pick him up and headed back towards home. It was a nice uneventful drive home, although it seemed to take us longer to get back to Houston then it did to get to New Orleans.
I did discover a fresh appreciation for New Orleans this time. The last time we were there was over the 4th of July, and the French Quarter seemed… dirty. I saw trash everywhere, it smelled like trash, it rained every day we were there, it just wasn’t living up to my image of New Orleans. This time, the French Quarter was beautiful. I didn’t see trash, the tourists seemed to be more families … it was just nicer. I had a great time. I didn’t take a ton of photos, which is surprising. I think it was just a matter of being hot and worried about keeping Jason cool. Our next trip over definitely needs to be in a different season. I’ll post what pictures I did take later on over on Flickr.
Now we are in Lexington, Kentucky, visiting Mike’s parents. We haven’t done a lot so far – just relaxed and talked. Today we’re heading out. The weather is gorgeous – it is soooooo cool! So I can’t wait to get outside. It is supposed to warm up next week, so I need to enjoy it while I can. It has been nice to have a chance to visit with his parents without the chaos of a wedding going on, or the nerves of the first time I met them overshadowing everything. Much more laid back. It’s really nice. (Gee, could I use nice any more in this paragraph?)