We flew from KCI to Atlanta to New Orleans
We discovered our room (which was the living room part of the suite we got with Mimi and Papa) was absolutely giant and oddly shaped like a triangle. It was also so, so quiet so Maria loved it. We met Charlie and Laurie for dinner at Deanie's. Anna ate crawfish etoufee (and liked it).
Maria took Anna back to the hotel, and everyone else went to Pat O'Briens for a hurricane. We ran into Auntie Kate and her friends.
Went to breakfast at Cafe Fleur de Lis.
Anna went swimming and fell into the pool (the whole leaning-too-far-over-to-grab-a-beach-ball-routine). There were plenty of people, and she wasn't under water for more than one second, but she was shaken up. When she calmed down, she wanted to get back in! She had a great time playing with a boy about 8 years old with a beach ball.
At 6:30, we met for Josh's bachelor party. We had planned on Acme Oyster, but the wait was too long for 14 people. Instead, we wandered around and eventually ended up at Desire's. We had fabulous oysters, crawfish, and other food. Our waitress, JoAnn, was phenomenal. She made the cocktail sauce right at the table. Then, we went to Checkpoint Charlie's, smoked cigars, and had male bonding time over beers and pool with a couple of live musicians from Ireland. Uncle Johnny fell asleep. When we checked on him later, there was a maraschino cherry in his mouth. We never did find out who put it in there.
Curt slept in (he got in at 4:30). Anna, Maria, and crew rode the street car to the garden district and marveled at the beautiful old houses. At one point they stopped to wait for another streetcar and Anna, who was lying on her belly on the bench of the car yells, “C'mon lady! Push me!” Curt went for “breakfast” to a cafe at about 11:30 and had a shrimp po'boy. We all met back at the hotel. Anna napped, while Mimi watched her. Curt and Maria toured Royal street and the antique/art shops and dreamed about what we would get if we ever struck it rich. We also looked around Jackson Square. Maria and Curt split a snack of red beans and rice (Maria had been waiting for that dish the entire trip.)
We got back to the hotel and took Anna on a tour of Jackson Square and the Riverfront. We got a few good pictures of Anna in front of a biker gang on the wharf and another few good pictures of Anna in Jackson Square eating a vegan watermelon popsicle. The best flavor: pineapple and cilantro. Even Anna preferred that one! We also got to check out St. Louis Cathedral (oldest west of the Mississippi).
Then, we walked straight to Josh and Kate's crawfish boil. It was wonderful. 170 pounds of crawfish, and only 20 survived (but there were about 80 revelers). Anna had fun eating them and Maria swore they were the best she had ever tasted!
We woke up, grabbed a quick breakfast, and went to the aquarium. Anna had a really good time, although it was pretty clear that she was starting to get worn down. She got to see stingray's eating broccoli! Maria and I were silently cheering, “Three cheers for the aquarium and their good food examples!” After the aquarium, we walked to meet Grandma and Mary Helen for a quick lunch at Cafe Begnet.
From the aquarium, we went back to the hotel room and got a great, much-deserved nap. We then got to go to Josh and Kate's wedding at Latrobe's on Royal. The ceremony was great. Their friend, Ryan, presided (favorite joke: “The rings are round because they symbolize that your love will have no end. They are also round because they have to fit on your finger.”). After the ceremony, we did the “second line” march around the block with a Jazz band which is a tradition in New Orleans. The bride and groom grabbed umbrellas and champagne and the entire congregation marched and danced block after block. Anna took a while to catch on, but then she started riding Maria's shoulders, and had a great time waving her napkin and cheering. We got back and had one of the most memorable wedding receptions ever. There was an oyster bar in one room, two appetizer areas, and one entree area. For desert, there was an assortment of pastries, root beer floats, and Krispy Kreme bread pudding. Anna danced like a maniac along with two other girls her age. She was able to stay up very late, yet stayed in a good mood most of the night.
We woke up and went to the planned party at Cafe Du Mond. Unfortunately, this was also the morning of the New Orleans Ironman Triathlon and the finish line was right in front of Cafe Du Mond. We had wait a little while, but we got Anna to eat her Begnet (in a black dress!) without too much of a mess. From there, we stopped by Cafe Begnet to get Anna a real breakfast (i.e., fruit platter).
We then went back to the hotel room. Daddy and Anna swam some more (for abut 5 seconds, because the pool was freezing). Then, Anna and Maria took a nap, while Daddy went to the Bienville House to hang out with the rest of the Stokes. Maria followed soon after, and we all had a good time hanging out by the pool. A few Stokes left as the day went on. But the ones who remained went to eat dinner at the Crescent City Brewery. While we were there, a thunderstorm rolled in. We had to get a cab back to the hotel since New Orleans is below sea level and the sea was raining from the sky! Daddy got soaked hailing the cab.
Went to bed early and packed in the morning.
Flew back to Atlanta again. Loaded onto the plane to KC 30 minutes early, but it smelled like urine, so they had us switch planes. Maria loved the whole “the sooner you get off the plane, people the sooner we get in the air!” lecture only to find our new plane had just pulled in and had yet to be de-boarded OR cleaned. But we made it and drove in Papa's trusty truck back home and stopped to eat some delicious Kansas City bar-b-que along the way. We were oh so glad to see our kitties and feel our own beds.
Thanks for reading!