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The Big Easy - April 2024

Updated: Jun 30

While we didn't add a new state on this trip, it was still really fun to have the time to explore New Orleans. This was our second visit to the city, but the first time we stayed in Mississippi, and only visited New Orleans for two half days. The first of those days was the day we landed, and we basically ate and drove to our hotel in Mississippi. The second day ended up rainy and cold. We spent the morning and early afternoon walking in the rain before heading to Baton Rouge for the evening. So, when my son's vacation request was to go back it didn't take too much persuading. We booked a long weekend, leaving Wednesday morning and coming home Saturday afternoon. This time the weather was perfect staying in the upper 70s to lower 80s the entire time and the sky was clear and rain free.

Our flight landed around 1pm on Wednesday. I rented a car and drove to find our hotel (which was actually an apartment) but because we arrived early, we couldn't check in right away. We went to the French Quarter and walked by the River near Jackson Square. We found lunch at Landry's Seafood House.

After lunch we went to check into our hotel. We stayed at Sonder The Schaeffer. It is located on Rampart and Canal, so outside of the craziness of French Quarter, but only by about a block or so. We had a 3 bedroom, 2 bath apartment which was plenty of room for the three of us. The room was clean and comfortable. None of the bedrooms had windows which did creep us out a little, but we got used to it. I would definitely stay here again.

Once we checked into the room, Isaac was tired. He stayed back while Matthew and I went out to explore. We walked aimlessly admiring buildings and dipping in and out of stores.

Thursday morning, we woke up and walked to breakfast at The Ruby Slipper. We ate at this restaurant in Mobile on our visit in 2022 (Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama on that trip), and it was Isaac's favorite so we figured we would try it again. It certainly didn't disappoint, and the service was the best of any restaurant we dined at this trip.

After breakfast we began our drive to Lafitte for our scheduled air boat ride. I really wanted to do this when we visited Mississippi in 2022, but we were late in the season, and they weren't operating when we tried to book one. I reserved a tour at noon with Airboat Adventures. It was about a 30-minute drive from New Orleans, and we had hoped to find a place to explore in the area while we waited for our tour to begin.

Unfortunately, there wasn't a lot in the immediate area. We did pull over by a levy where we were told there was a walking path, which turned out to be more of ruts from vehicles driving which ended at around 1/4 mile at some concrete barriers.

We walked and admired the stagnant water filled with debris and climbed over the barriers following what we decided would serve as a trail for a short walk along a swamp. I'm glad we did this walk because it was the only glimpse we had of what I imagined a Louisiana swamp to be. Green marshy water, trees and moss growing out of the water as far as you can see. We didn't see any wildlife of the walk, but it was a stunning view of endless swampland.

After our walk we checked in for our airboat tour. We scanned the small gift shop area finding a magnet to add to our collection, then waited on the deck for our boat to board. We were on a larger airboat that seated 32 people and it was almost full. Smaller boats are able to go deeper into the bayou, but I don't think that any from this tour really did. We saw plenty of alligators even though a cold snap just passed so the guide said they are less active. Even though we weren't able to navigate through narrow passages under overhanging snake filled trees like you see in movies, we did see really amazing foliage, moss filled trees, turtles and gators. It was really enjoyable way to spend our afternoon.

Once our tour ended, we drove back to New Orleans, stopping for lunch on the way at Creole BLEU Cafe. The food was ok, I wouldn't call it great, but the service was good and the restaurant itself was cute.

When we returned Isaac needed a nap, so he went back to our apartment. Matthew and I went out to explore more of the French Quarter. We found ourselves enjoying watching eccentric people and viewing eclectic buildings.

We decided to head back toward our apartment to wake Isaac up but wanted to check out a cemetery on our way. We were able to find one you could only visit it if you had a reservation with a tour guide, so we started walking back to our apartment. On the way, just a few blocks from where we were staying, we found Louis Armstrong Park. We chose to walk through quick and loved it. This park has all kinds of statues, flowers and a bridge overlooking a little lazy river filled with ducks.

We were almost done exploring Louis Armstrong Park when Isaac called saying he was hungry. So, we went back to the apartment, and he joined us as we headed back to the French Quarter. We walked all the way down to Jackson Square and stopped for frog legs and beignets at Bon's New Orleans Street Food. Isaac decided that he wasn't quite hungry enough for dinner yet, but wanted to snack a bit.

After our snacks we walked along the riverfront watching the sun set and admiring St. Louis Cathedral.

Then we walked over to Cafe Du Monde for coffee and more beignets. We didn't realize that it was cash only at the Cafe, but luckily their prices are very reasonable, and we had enough cash on hand to cover it.

Somehow Isaac was still hungry at this point, so we went to Muriel's for dinner. Matthew and I weren't overly hungry, so we ordered light, but still managed to eat until we were stuffed. The food here was excellent.

After our bellies were full, we called it a night. Walking several blocks back to our apartment, past Bourbon Street taking in the vibe and watching people as we went.

The next morning, we were Baton Rouge bound. We had tickets for the LSU vs Vanderbilt baseball game for 7pm and planned to spend the day in the city.

On the way we stopped at small BBQ restaurant called Wayne Jacobs Smokehouse in LaPlace. The brisket was fabulous, and Isaac got some BBQ sauce to bring home with him.

Our first stop in Baton Rouge was the USS KIDD Veterans Museum. This is located on the Mississippi River, and has a nice park area, several planes and memorials outside and a large museum you can walk through, before boarding the USS KIDD to tour the ship. We really enjoyed this entire area and spent quite a bit of time walking through everything.

After our time at the museum, we decided we would drive around and just see the city, looking mostly for old homes and different architecture. We enjoyed doing this for most of the rest of the day, then went to see the Louisiana State Capital building.

We ate dinner at Cocha. This restaurant celebrates locally sourced food with global influence. Their menu is small, and the flavors are huge. This may have been the best food we had our entire trip.

After dinner we were rushing to the main event: the LSU game at Alex Box Stadium. This is the reason we visited Louisiana. Isaac doesn't love the vacations I plan because they are pretty busy. To ensure he doesn't feel completely left out missing most of our family trips, I let him pick something he would enjoy, and his choice was to go back to see a game. Last time we were here we saw LSU Football beat Alabama in the final regular game of the season. This year he chose to watch baseball. Unfortunately, we didn't see LSU win this time. The weather was perfect and we had fun regardless.

Saturday we were flying home, but our flight was late afternoon, so we had time to enjoy the morning in New Orleans. We had breakfast at Cafe Maspero and then walked. We had to vacate our parking spot by 11am, so we drove down closer to the river and parked there.

After about an hour of walking we decided we had seen everything we needed to see and opted to drive north and see some plantation homes before heading to the airport. We didn't have time to do full tours so we just drove and viewed from outside.

As usual I wish we would have had one more day to explore outside of the city. I would have loved to walk through the plantation homes and seen a little more of rural Louisiana. Our flight was at 4pm, so we made our way to the airport to return home.

Day 1:

Sonder The Schaeffer

French Quarter

Landry's Seafood House

Jackson Square

Day 2:

The Ruby Slipper

Airboat Adventures, Lafitte

Louis Armstrong Park

Bon's New Orleans Street Food

Cafe Du Monde


Day 3:

Baton Rouge

USS KIDD Veterans Museum


Alex Box Stadium, LSU Game

Day 4:

Cafe Maspero

French Quarter

Oak Alley Plantation

St. Joseph Plantation

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