When my girlfriend from California told me her girls were playing in the USA Volleyball Jr. Nationals in New Orleans this summer I knew we had to make the trip. We are in Texas and it's a lot closer to NOLA than it is to CA. Besides, we'd never been to New Orleans and neither had they, so we could explore it together. Plans were made. We would meet them in NOLA for some sight seeing, memory making and volleyball!
You should note that that was the extent of our plan. You should also know that going anywhere or doing much of anything without a plan is generally unheard for me. I deserve points. Lots of them.
I lugged my camera everywhere and I did get a few opportunities for good shots, but we were on the go. I did the best I could and ended up using my phone when there just wasn't time for the "real' camera.
I could have snapped photos of the balconies all day long. Here are a few of my favorites.
Food:We had restaurant recommendations from everyone (seems our 2 families are the only ones that have never been to NOLA)! Two slight problems though...
- #1 I won't eat anything that ever lived in any kind of water and my girlfriend from CA won't either (smart girl).
- #2 We are cheap.
We did find manage to find places to get food that had never spent time in the water, and that didn't break the bank. We could have had every meal at Cafe Du Monde and been just fine really! Yum!
Cemetery Tours:I can safely say that I hadn't really expected to ever want to tour a cemetery. Until, we drove past some in New Orleans. I knew they were above ground, but I didn't quite comprehend how interesting that would look until I saw it with my own two eyes!
So we found a great deal through Groupon and booked ourselves an tour of St. Louis Cemetery #1. I never thought to check Groupon on vacation before, but I highly recommend it. We saved a fair amount of money making many of our reservations online with Groupon and coupon codes. Our CA friends are smart!
Fun and wacky fact: Nicholas Cage has purchased a plot and will be buried in this cemetery in this:
Steamboat on the Mississippi:
Seeing the Mississippi was the thing I was most excited about. Well, that and visiting with our friends from CA. I was not disappointed by either! Our riverboat cruise on the Natchez Steamboat was an absolute highlight. I got to sip a Mint Julep, visit with friends, listen to live jazz all while riding a steamboat on the Mississippi. I could do that all day every day!
WWII Museum:We are museum people and history buffs. We have been to the National Museum of the Pacific in Fredericksburg, TX and loved it. So naturally the National WWII Museum was one of our destinations.
The entire museum was excellent. I am of the opinion that the movie Beyond All Boundaries should be required viewing in all high school history classrooms. It was a very well done and powerful overview of WWII. You will leave a bit overwhelmed, but better for having been reminded about this war and our history.
These are just a few of the main highlights of our trip.We also road the trolleys, saw Jackson Square, briefly walked Bourbon Street, browsed the French Market, watched a fair amount of the impressive USA Volleyball Jr. Nationals at the NOLA Convention Center and walked a TON!
So I survived my first unplanned vacation. We didn't do everything, but we got the highlights in, and most importantly we were able to enjoy it all with our dear friends. It was especially hard to say goodbye. We are hoping for more volleyball tournaments within driving distance in the future!