"Who Dat" in New Orleans?

posted Feb 5, 2010, 8:36 AM by Stephen Zenter   [ updated Feb 23, 2010, 7:26 AM ]
A few weeks ago, Sara and I took our first real vacation since our honeymoon over 3 years ago.  We took a few days off and headed to New Orleans to get away.  We already had our trip planned when the Saints pulled out a victory that landed them a spot in the Super Bowl.  With the mix of Mardi Gras looming and a Super Bowl appearance coming, the atmosphere was exciting.  Sara and I really enjoyed hanging out in New Orleans and enjoying the sights of the French Quarter and, of course, the food!
We started out from Houston heading towards Avery Island, LA - The home of Tabasco!  After enjoying a tour of the factory where every bottle of Tabasco sauce around the world is produced, we spent some time browsing the gift shop and tasting some spicy treats.  We then went on a tour of the Jungle Gardens of Avery Island, owned by the McIlhenny family.
Upon arriving in New Orleans that evening, we started out with some cajun seafood and a walk down Bourbon Street.  The next morning we wasted no time in heading to Cafe du Monde to enjoy some beignets and cafe au lait.  While we were in New Orleans, Sara and I enjoyed touring around Jackson Square and visiting St. Loius Cathedral, the oldest cathedral in America.  We had a tour of the French Quarter, courtesy of a mule named Hurricane and a buggy ride.  We also made our way down to the French Market for a little shopping.  A trip to the Aquarium of the Americas put us up close to some pretty fish and gave us the opportunity to pet some stingrays.
A few other highlights while we were in the Big Easy were a tour of the Presbytere (a historic Mardi Gras museum) and a ferry ride to Algiers Point.  One evening we enjoyed a spooky haunted history tour of the French Quarter, which helped paint a picture of life in New Orleans before it became the party destination it is today.  One stop on the haunted tour was the oldest bar in America, still lit by candlelight every night.  Jean Lafitte was a pirate who used his blacksmith shop as a front, which is now a great place to stop in for a drink.  To cap off our trip, Sara and I really enjoyed our evening at Emeril's NOLA restaurant, where we had a true taste of New Orleans.
...And did I mention some more Cafe du Monde and Bourbon Street? 
On our way back home, we stopped at the Houmas House plantation to tour an historic mansion and its surrounding gardens.  There is not much of the original decor in tact, as it is used for weddings and parties these days.  But the original structure still remains, and views were worth the side trip!  Check out our vacation pics in the Photo Album.