New Orleans and up the Mississippi

The drive from Orlando to New Orleans would take us through 4 states in 9 hrs – Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. Our stay in New Orleans was brief, 2 nights in fact, so we unpacked our bags to the Airbnb and headed to the French Quarter for dinner and some sightseeing.

Trip Advisor had great reviews for a restaurant called Gumbo Pot but upon our arrival we discovered it was closed. So, we decided to go for a stroll to see if there was somewhere else close by.

As we walked up Saint Peters St pass Jackson Square where we passed many buskers, some of whom were doing magic shows and others whom were reading palms and telling fortunes

Thankfully we came across the Gumbo Shop- a beautiful quaint restaurant, that was very busy – which we took as a good sign.

Post meal destruction

We took one look at the menu and were happy to see the “Complete Creole Dinner” option, allowing us to try a variety for meals without having to spend big dollars on multiple “entrée’s”. Much to our surprise Lilly and Kobe loved the Gumbo and Jambalaya as much as Adam and I did, so much that I will attempt to cook a Gumbo once we are home again.

New Orleans is more commonly known as a city to visit if you want to party, but all of this is really contained in one Street – Bourbon Street.  This makes sightseeing easy, knowing where not to go if you’re not up to partying.

As we walked around the French quarter the next day I loved admiring the buildings with their gorgeous shutters and balconies and the kids enjoyed looking at all the Halloween decorations in the doorways. We loved walking through the streets looking through the art stores and gorgeous boutique stores listening to the Jazz bands that were playing in the streets.

Walking around New Orleans

New Orleans is also famous for Beignet,  a doughnut covered in powdered sugar, but rather than wait in a rather long que at the very famous Café du Monde, our Lonely Planet Guide book had informed us the Beignet Café just around the corner and it would have no line at all and plenty of seating. We were delighted to try out this delicious treat with a nice coffee in a quiet café with fast service.

mmmmm…. Doughnuts

As we walked around we found ourselves at the dock of the Paddle steamers Natchez & Queen Creole and decided to take a lunchtime cruise on the Queen Creole along the Mississippi River. The cruise was very informative of the origins of New Orleans and the Battle of New Orleans in 1815 which a stop off at the site of the battle. Much to our delight lunch would be more Gumbo.

Paddle steamer

I would love to come back to New Orleans again – there is so much history and character that I think you could spend days just discovering it.

After our stay at in New Orleans we were headed to Dallas Texas, but rather than the interstate we drove along the Mississippi River till Baton Rogue on our way to Natchez. To break up the hours of sitting in the car we are always looking for things to see and do along the way. We found a hike to a waterfall in the Clark Creek Natural Area in Woodville. This was a beautiful hike with lots of steep climbs and stairs. We hiked for 2.25km and we came across a little creek, Kobe declared his despair of “walking this far, for this!”

big canon!

We made it to Natchez in time to watch a gorgeous sunset at our Hotel which is alongside the Mississippi River. After a nice southern breakfast of biscuits and gravy at the hotel we were headed to Shreveport via Alexandria, as we had discovered that in Alexandria was a petting zoo that we knew Lilly & Kobe would love.

Sunset over the Mississippi

We had told Lilly and Kobe that we would be stopping soon, but with the hike still very fresh in Kobe’s mind he was very concerned that we had found another hiking trail and was not excited, that was until he seen the sign for “Gone Wild Safari”.

Well trained
feeding the animals

Once in the park, we brought some feed for the animals and stepped aboard the repurposed school bus to head out on our tour. A guide drives you around the park and tells you about the animals they have there. And stops frequently for you to feed the animals from the bus. On the first stop a very friendly camel stuck its head in the bus window scaring Kobe, Lilly lost her feeding cup to a very zealous antelope wanting more than she was offering. Kobe loved that the long-horned bulls would come up the window open their mouths and put their tongue to the side, so you could just poor the feed into their mouths. As we drove around we got to see Bison, Kangaroos, a Zorse (a mix between a Zebra and a Horse), Ostrich, Llamas, pigs, Deer and Giraffe and many more. Kobe and Lilly loved seeing the Prairie Dogs and may have even tried to sneak up on them to try and catch one, but those two aren’t very stealthily a trait they must get from Adam😉.  I think Kobe was definitely happy with this stop, we continued up to Shreveport where we would rest before heading to Dallas the next day for some Jiu Jitsu.

-Dee

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