Sunday, January 30, 2011

New Orleans - The rest of the story

Katrina House
Seeing that we have been home from New Orleans for about a week and a half, I figured I should share the remaining narrative of our trip.  As previously mentioned, Madeline & I flew separately from David.  Due to the restrictions of the reward tickets of our different airlines and the fact that David wanted to avoid tacking on an additional vacation day from work, we decided that the best option for our situation was to depart a day apart from each other.  So, David flew out of New Orleans in the late afternoon on Monday while Madeline and I headed home the following morning.

We decided to squeeze in, as a family, a few last minute New Orleans activities during our morning before David left.  There was a brief discussion about what to do for breakfast but it didn't take long to decide that we, *once again* NEEDED beignets and cafe au lait.  That stuff is just too darn good and both David and I knew that this was the last opportunity to enjoy this treat.  We have visited Jon on numerous occasions over the past 15 years but I don't recall experiencing this beignet madness before.  Although I brought home a Cafe Du Monde beignet mix, I know it won't be the same.  Besides, David wanted to take home a Cafe Du Monde travel mug as a souvenir so...what a good excuse to catch breakfast while we were there!

Mama & Maddie silliness while Jon pretends not to know us.
Afterward, since the last time I visited Jon was pre-Katrina, I wanted to do a drive by of the areas that were hard hit by the hurricane.  I knew that would result in a major eye-roll from Jon, which of course it did, but Jon was a good sport and drove me around to "see destruction".  It has been five years since Katrina and although many of the residential homes have been rebuilt, the businesses are mostly gone.  We would be driving down a street that once had malls or strip plazas and there stood the vacant buildings that once held these retail centers.  And despite the fact that many homes were rebuilt, we drove passed numerous vacant lots where homes once stood.  Yet, the occasional "Katrina house" stood untouched, abandoned and marked with the spray painted markings made during the post-hurricane recovery period.

More shopping fun
Next, we headed to Manny Randazzo's to pick up a couple king cakes.  OMG! Yum!!!  I was lucky enough to snack on the one Jon bought for his house while David carted one home to take into work on Tuesday.  I was also happy to pick up a cake server (I really did need one so this wasn't exactly a frivolous souvenir purchase) that was decorated on the handle with beading in the Mardi Gras colors (purple, yellow & green).  Next time I pull that out to serve up some goodies for company, I'll have a pleasant reminder of our trip.

We also ended up grabbing some lunch.  Ahhh....gumbo and red beans & rice with andouille sausage.  Hmmm, I think I need to experiment with some of these recipes for our own at-home Mardi Gras celebration this March.  After lunch we needed to stop by Target to pick-up a couple items.  Madeline and I had some last minute New Orleans reveling as we got silly trying on the Mardi Gras hats in Target's seasonal section.  I particularly love the picture with both me and Madeline because the guy in the background is actually Jon trying to pretend that he doesn't know us.

Madeline peeking at my People magazine
Shortly after, David was off to the airport.  My last evening was laid back.  I spent the evening packing up the remainder of Madeline's & my stuff so that we would be ready for an early morning departure.  I also tried to help Jon pick out a few paint colors for his house but decided that I was way too indecisive and, thus, probably not much help.  Other than that, Jon and I watched a few DVRed shows on TV.  In the morning, we headed to the airport and I prepared for my flight back home with Madeline.  Prepared with my fully re-charged portable DVD player, a couple movies, some princess & My Little Pony figurines and a coloring book & crayons I was confident in my ability to maintain a well behaved child during a 4 hour flight home.  In fact, I consider the trip a success since I was able to indulge in reading a People magazine and I attempted to work on a few puzzles in a puzzle book as Madeline occupied herself.

We are now back home and are slowly getting ourselves back into a routine of our everyday life.  David had more travel for work upon our return home.  In the time that we have been home, David has already traveled to Boston and San Diego.  Me, well.....I am still trying to wipe that "vacation fog" off my brain.  I guess that is just further proof that I enjoyed myself in New Orleans.

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