New Orleans, Louisiana is known as a party city, especially around Mardi Gras, but the city doesn’t need many reasons to have a good time. Well, on this trip we had to leave the party mentality behind and take on the “Big Easy” with a 3-year-old. Luckily we realized that there is something for everyone here. Even navigating through the frequent downpours added to our family adventure.
Our trip to New Orleans was intended for a December wedding, but about a month before the trip, we received a TBD-Save-the-Date due to weather concerns. It was too late to change our plans. We already bought flight tickets to Fort Lauderdale, Florida from New Orleans for the second part of our vacation. We decided to make the most out of this trip and extend it into a week-long vacation instead of a weekend. We also wanted to use this experience to see how Jai would react to constantly being on the go when we travel the world in September. (Spoiler Alert: He did awesome!)
On a trip to the Crescent City, it’s hard to avoid the French Quarter. People are able to get a quick taste of the city in one glance. You can grab a beignet from Café Du Monde and sit on the bank of the Mississippi River to watch steam boats like the Natchez, or face the other way and watch street performers and horse drawn carriages in front of Armada Plaza and St. Louis Cathedral. We did all of this on our first day and even went on the Natchez for a tour down the river. If it weren’t for Jai, I’m not sure if I would have really enjoyed my time on the steamboat. It was windy, cold, and wet. I would most likely have just sat in the dining area instead of exploring. With a 3-year-old, there is no sitting. Jai’s excitement definitely perked up Elijah and I and we really got into the spirit of the tour. Our first day set the tone for the rest of the trip. We would not let the rain and cold weather keep us down, and we would go through each day being flexible.
The rest of our outings were made between rain showers. We visited the Audubon Zoo, the French Market, Mid City, French Quarter, Louis Armstrong Park, St. Patrick’s cemetary, and lots of restaurants. If I wasn’t able to have a wild night on Bourbon Street, I was definitely going to get my enjoyment out of the food. This city can make swamp creatures like, crawfish, alligator, and turtle taste refine. There is a level of spice that can be found in all the dishes, even some desserts like the Cajun seasoned pralines. Jai, having a milder palette, enjoyed the French crepes and French fries. One thing all three of us could agree on was the hot chocolate from Café Du Monde. We went back a second time, and only ordered their hot chocolate. The waiter was a bit perplexed that we didn’t order what they are known for, beignets. We actually preferred Café Beignets over theirs.
New Orleans breathed new life into us. We left with so much confidence knowing Jai was the perfect little traveling companion. Jai went with the flow and was always excited to see something different. He was able to sleep in a new surrounding while we stayed in an Air BnB. Kids like their routines, but I don’t think that means the whole day has to be a routine. We stuck to our usual meal times and sleep schedule, as best we could, but everything else was improvised. He was having so much fun in NOLA, he didn’t want to leave.
The rain and cold air probably made a lot of our decisions, but it also helped us think outside the box on places to visit. It gave us time to relax between outings, which is really important when traveling. We now have a unique traveling story because of the rain. It seems that life is always giving you supplies to make sweet lemonade.