Things To Do In New Orleans For Families

My husband and I try to take the family to New Orleans every year.  There is so much to do and it is a good weekend trip from most northern Gulf Coast communities.

We’ve been to the Audubon Zoo, the WWII Museum, walked around the French Quarter and more on past vacations to NOLA.  We always combine family activities with the pursuit of good Louisiana food.  Our family owns Dixiedining.com, an award-winning Southern food and culture review website.  We basically eat our way around the South, taking in the cultural differences in each location which could include festivals, art shows, concerts, shopping, museums, zoos and more.

The French Quarter offers so much that it is fun to return to often. The shopping, art gallery viewing, French Market and the artists, street performers and musicians around Jackson Square are always enjoyable. A walk along the Riverfront, Streetcar rides to the different neighborhoods nearby and horse-drawn carriage rides offer a different view of the area.  It’s all in the name of great family fun.

 

So once, again we made our pilgrimage for 2014. Here’s a list of what we did and what we recommend you and your family do on your next trip to the Crescent City.

8 Things We Did:

1. Shopping Magazine Street: food, historical music venues, art galleries and thrift shops

One of many pieces of art you will find around the Magazine Street shopping area.

One of many pieces of art you will find around the Magazine Street shopping area.

2. Art Galleries in the French Market: our favorites were The Art of Dr Seuss, Caliche & Pao, Rodrigue Studio, and Kezic GalleryCAM01389

3. Mardi Gras World: a guided tour of where Mardi Gras floats and festivities are made

 

4. Ogden Museum of Southern Art: check out their schedule for events (music after hours) and traveling exhibits

Outside the Ogden

Outside the Ogden

 

5. Street Car/Trolley Ride: under construction in places this year so check for information before you plan your ride.  Usually great fun

6. Crescent City Farm Market: Wow, what a selection.

7. Bowling at Mid-City Lanes/Rock n Bowl: bowling by day, bowling/dinner/concert venue by night

8. Lafayette Cemetery: be sure to follow the tours. The NOLA cemeteries can be scarey and dangerous on your ownwpid-cam01422.jpg

More family-oriented things we recommend to do: Audubon Zoo, Aquarium, Riverboat ride, horse-drawn carriage ride, Civil War Museum.

10 Restaurants We Tried:

1. Joey K’s: loved the Po Boys

2. District: Donuts, Sliders, Brew: Donuts were greatwpid-cam01353.jpg

3. Vincent’s Italian: great Italian food; the boys opted for Calamari and loved it

4. Old Coffee Pot Restaurant: try the Calas for breakfast.  Other items available, too.

5. Domilese’s: Po Boys

6. Hansen’s Sno Bliz: always a line; always yummyphoto (39)

7. Pascal’s Manale: Gary and I enjoyed their famous barbecue shrimp. Kids ate calamari again. Thumbs up.

8. Cochon Butcher: So good.

9. Cafe Beignet:  2 locations. Very good for breakfast.photo (91)

 

10. Elizabeth’s: family friendly, good food

For more dining information go to Dixiedining.com. The Louisiana restaurant page is filled with tried and true places we recommend as a family. Our blog contains more detailed information on some of them.  Also, check the festival listings so you can catch one on your vacation.

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Gustav changed our beach

If heavy waves crash on your shore it’s bound to change the appearance.  Such is with Gustav and Siesta Key.  No, it’s not dramatic but you could sure tell something came through.  First, what was once called Sunset Beach and then Dog Beach and now something else had some more of the road washed away.  I recently heard that the Gulf side of the street that is now beach used to be a neighborhood but was wiped out in a storm.  The person relaying the story couldn’t remember which one.  Apparently the “lots” are still owned and the owners are just waiting for something to happen.  Don’t know what but that’s the short version of the story. 

Ok, going down the beach, the surf had come over the first set of dunes.  Then down by access #5 we now have a shallow lagoon where the surf got stuck.  Hopefully it’ll dry up in a few days but the beach is flat as can be out to shore now.  Farther down you can see where the surf came up fairly high along the vegetation.  This is where the snowy plover nests had been roped off earlier this summer.  Then, there’s no longer a ridge from the surf to the lagoon.  It’s flat and the lagoon now has a drain to the Gulf.  And so on down the beach.  I stopped at access 10 and returned north. 

So, what did I find beach combing?  A couple pieces of broken glass, lots of broken sand dollars, some bottle caps, lots of jelly fish, welk operculums, a sea urchin and a baby octopus (dead).  That was the coolest of the finds.  I determined it was dead because it was found quite a distance from the surf line, it was covered in sand and not moving even when placed in water.   I thought it would be an awesome treat to bring home, show the boys, observe it under the microscope and then dissect it.  They were amazed.  It’s soaking in water until we get our science kit out.

As of this writing the levees in NOLA have held.  I’m so thankful.  Hurricanes can be scarey, cause unbelievable stress when your hometown is in the way and make for hardships for the people evacuating.  I remember we had spent a lot of unbudgeted money one year having evacuated Myrtle Beach…gas, hotel, meals out and necessary items you forget to pack.  During Hurricane Floyd we couldn’t get back for almost a week because of flooding from the Waccamaw River.  We were lucky to be able to spend time with friends in Asheville NC (thanks Suz and Jerry) which helped ease the strain but not many people have that kind of luxury.  If there’s no room at the shelters, you’re shelling out cash for hotels.  And sometimes you can’t get a hotel nearby so you have to keep driving. 

I pray for all the people who had to leave their homes and wish them a safe return. 

Meanwhile, our beach will always be changing as long as waves are crashing.