New Orleans - Louisiana
The first time I saw New Orleans was with my mom, aunt, brother, and cousin. We'd driven down from Oklahoma City to drop the family station wagon off to be shipped overseas, a few weeks before shipping off ourselves. What I remember is fragmented; a carousal, a tanker ship gliding by, and muggy heat; flashes of buildings and people, holding my mom's hand and the pair of white shoes I wore.
The second time was much more recent. Darrell had a sword tournament in Baton Rouge the first weekend of June and we added a few extra days to the trip so see New Orleans. It's only an hour and half away and we couldn't be that close to the Big Easy and not go. That was also the thought process behind driving along the Gulf Coast to see some white sand beaches and how we ended up in Florida all in the same trip.
My favorite parts of New Orleans were the less crowded things; getting up earlier than anyone else and walking around before the streets were too busy, getting beignets late at night from Café Du Monde (I love that they're open 24 hours and have a to go window), and walking into the cold quiet of St. Louis Cathedral on Jackson Square. We toured St. Louis Cemetery No. 1, New Orleans oldest, with Save Our Cemeteries early in the morning and snagged a few photos of Marie Laveau's tomb. But my favorite place was Croissant D'Or Patisserie. I'd drive back tomorrow just for their almond croissant.
We didn't get much beyond the French Quarter. The few must see or do things we had on our list were in that area and between the rain and my poor shoe choice (I don't know why I thought breaking in a new pair of Chucks was a good idea on vacation) we didn't see as much of the city as I would have liked.
But I've already got a list of places to see when we go back. Well, it's really just a list of places I want to eat. If you have any suggestions please let me know! I don't want to miss anything next time.