First, a little explanation. I am currently in the middle of a month-long training course for my new job, and it's extremely challenging academically- a very competitive and stressful environment. I have been getting up at 5 am most mornings, and not getting home until 5-6 pm. I have been extremely tired and stressed, so please forgive me for not getting back to your comments sooner! I'm plugging along, can't wait to be done, and will be very happy when I can get back on a more manageable sleep schedule. Until then, your thoughts and prayers are much appreciated. I have lots of important blog posts in my head, but they're all pretty debbie-downer in nature, so for today I'll stick to a fun topic.
Last weekend Brett, Lucy and I traveled to New Orleans. Brett wanted to meet up with a friend to watch the England/USA World Cup match, and I wanted to visit in general- I'd never been there before. Anyway, since it's only a 3-hour trip, we figured, what the heck? So we left Saturday morning and arrived in NOLA in the early afternoon.
I had to drop off Brett at this pub and then continue on my way with Lucy to do some shopping. I had initially planned on exploring downtown, but like I said, I'd never been there before. Let me tell you- it was NOTHING like I expected. I'm sorry if I offend anyone, but I thought it was really, really trashy. I've been to most of the major cities in the US, and I've never felt scared or intimidated before, but New Orleans scared the crap out of me. First, the driving is ridiculous. The streets are narrow and crowded, and many are one-way with super confusing signs about where you can and cannot turn. Then, BAM, a street car comes out of nowhere! So imagine me and the Goose trying to navigate our way through downtown (near the French quarter).
Also, there are so many homeless people! I watched the news as much as anyone during Hurricane Katrina, and I *thought* I understood the magnitude of what had happened. I guess I naively assumed that the cleanup and recovery would be much quicker. I was so shocked to see a multitude of homes still missing roofs, and large groups of people huddled in the equivalent of small tent-cities. It was so, so sad. What's even sadder to think about is that with the recent oil spill, the city's odds of recovery are even lower.
Anyway, since we couldn't check in to our hotel until later, and Brett was busy watching the match, Lucy and I went shopping, and managed to clean out Gymboree, which was having a clearance sale. I love my little shopping buddy! I also managed to successfully navigate my way back to the hotel, all the time wishing I had my concealed weapons license already (I'm dead serious about this). Our hotel, the Whitney- a Wyndham property, used to be a bank, and was beautiful. There are some great rates available right now, and the location is very good. I highly recommend it.
That night, we went exploring. I definitely wouldn't recommend a young women traveling by herself to do this, especially after dark. I felt much better having Brett around! We found a place on the upper end of Bourbon (near Canal) to eat, and had a good dinner. We walked down Bourbon for a block, just to say we did, and the terms Sodom and Gomorrah come to mind. Lucy is so little I figured she didn't know better, and I had her in the sling facing me, but still felt really uncomfortable. I was amazed to see people walking with young kids- 5-6 year olds-walking ahead of their parents- and after dark! Ugh.
We cut across a block after that and enjoyed window-shopping at some of the crazy shops, and hiked about 2 miles to make it to Cafe du Monde- I was determined to have my beignets and Cafe au Lait. Lucy behaved incredibly well and put up with being hauled all over the place- and she even shared our beignets. What a wonderful little traveler I have! After that I was ready for sleep- this pregnant lady was hot and tired, as the heat index was over 100 degrees that day.
The next morning we had a delicious and relaxing breakfast at The Ruby Slipper Cafe. Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day (probably equally because of its association with coffee, and because I hardly ever get to eat a proper breakfast at home), so I spent a lot of time researching where to go. Ruby Slipper is one block off the north end of Canal (north of I-10), and is a bit off-the-beaten track. Brett had the crab-cake breakfast, and I had eggs, potatoes, toast, etc. Lucy ate an entire pancake and most of a side of scrambled eggs. All were delicious! The crab cake had very, very little filling, and Lucy's pancake was THE best pancake I have ever tried (I snuck a bite.) All the food is locally-sourced, and the coffee was free-trade organic. Best of all, though, was Brett's Bloody Mary- yes, I had a sip. It was homemade (not mix), spicy, and delicious. We judged that it surpasses our previous favorite from Hyman's in Charleston, SC. Gosh, why do I crave them when I'm pregnant???
After breakfast we headed home, and since it was her naptime anyway, Lucy slept pretty much the whole way- score! Although our trip was short, it was (despite its rough beginning), fun. I don't know that I'd visit again, but I'm glad my eyes were opened to the situation there.
* On a side note, I am so proud of Lucy's beautiful table manners! She eats pretty much all adult food now, and can eat off of a regular (i.e. not paper) plate without flinging either food or the plate. Lucy attracts admirers wherever we go :-) I feel so blessed to have a beautiful little girl that I can enjoy time with outside of our home!