New Orleans — The follow-up (Christmas Trip)

We survived!!  It was a great get-a-way (or at least I thought it was), and I came home without being in debt or having a high credit card bill to pay off.  I had saved money through the year and was able to pay cash for everything — a good feeling.

We traveled home on Sunday, we stopped in an outlying city to have beignets one last time at a Cafe du Monde.  We were in a small city called Kenner…and the beignets were just as tasty as eating them on the water front.  Tip about eating at the cafe on the water front, where there happened to be a nice breeze while were were enjoying our treats.  Don’t sit downwind, don’t wear black, and don’t be afraid of sitting down at a table with dirty dishes on it.  If you wait for a clean table, you will probably never sit down, and if you wear black and sit downwind you will likely walk away looking like a frosted doughnut yourself — just ask KJ. :)

Sunday coming across the 26 mile bride over the wetlands out of New Orleans, we ran into one of the “what if” scenarios and hit traffic due to construction on the bridge.  Made one question the solid structure, they had a crane on the bridge with a bucket over the edge…which allowed to unseen person to do “upkeep” on the structure.  At least they were doing some upkeep, for future safety measures.

Now a thought about the funding of the trip.  A lot of people say that going on vacation is to expensive, yet they eat out on a regular basis and spend money on non-essential stuff.  If you eat out one time a day, five days a week, you spend approximately $50 a week (and a lot of people eat out more than once, or also eat out on the weekends, which is more money).  That ends up being $2400 a year spent on food, on top of the money spent on groceries.  If you take your lunch, you can save that money for vacation, go home and put the money you would have spent in a “vacation jar”.  I took a family of four away for five days for less than $2000 dollars.  It is doable, it just depends on if you want to have an experience of a life time, or eat junk food.  Just a thought. :)

New Orleans is not a fancy clean city; it’s old with an old soul.  Katrina messed the roads up, and it is more like you are driving through a field on the back forty instead of through the streets of a city — a little bumpy and some pot holes.  To some people it may be considered dirty, but the history there more than makes up for the buildings that are not state of the art.  I would recommend it for anyone.  There are some places that do not allow anyone under the age of 21 to enter; there are some things that are seen when walking down the sidewalk that could be a great conversation starter and education moments, it would be up to the individual people on if you would consider taking children with you on the trip.

On that note…I would do it again in a heart beat.  The old soul of the city is a great experience.  The music, the food, the activity that was seen around Jackson Square…all good things.  You can shield the younger ones, because they are a little oblivious still to some things.  We were in our motel by 7:30-8:00 and did not mix or mingle into the night life of the city.  We did go out for coffee and beignets, but were in the Mid-city area and did not run into craziness.  To see the expressions as we sat and listened to music on the street and at Preservation Hall made it all worth it.  To listen to a street performer play/sing Amazing Grace and realize that everyone in the group had the same goosebumps because of the experience.  Nothing like standing on a street, in front of a Cathedral, listening to street performer sing Amazing Grace.

All in all it was a great trip.  I got to see and do a lot that I wanted too.  Will I go back, most definitely.  This trip was a little less structured than the one we took to Washington D.C., and it was just as good.  We had no deadlines to meet or places to be (except for the swamp tour), I came home feeling like I had been on a vacation instead of rushed through life for a week.

Until next time…ERM


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