Traveling Mamas

Inspiring you to explore our world

  • 100_0582.jpgMardi Gras isn’t just a trip for adults, it is also a great time for a family vacation. Kids and parents can learn about the history and culture of New Orleans, the event called Mardi Gras, and the food that makes this city so memorable. Take a step inside and old warehouse to discover the mysterious Krewe of Rex and dine on fine cuisine at Galatoire’s, a New Orleans favorite.

    Yesterday morning began with a limousine ride to the Rex Den. A den is the place where Krewes build and house their floats. The Rex Den is located in the 9th ward and many of the floats were damaged in Katrina. However, Rex would not let a hurricane bring them down, and they rebuilt their floats and have begun to use their creations for educational purposes. This year’s theme is about rivers, which each float representing a river. School children have been able to come into the den and see these representations of rivers such as the Tiber, The Nile, The Mississippi, and many others. I feel honored to have been invited in to this special place, where the waterline from the flood is still visible on the metal walls.

    The Rex visit was followed by a New Orleans favorite, Galatoire’s. This restaurant does not take reservations and a dinner jacket is strongly advised. This landmark begins seating at 11:30, but this does not stop diners from lining up in advanced. Galatoire’s invented Oysters Rockefeller and Crab Sardou, leaving their own mark in culinary history.

    Carnival Season in New Orleans is home to so many different Krewes and parades. I was able to catch Shangri-La after lunch, and then a few more after my dinner at Grand Isle Seafood, located on Fulton Street at Harrah’s. Pegasus was the last parade of the evening and I walked back to Harrah’s looking like Santa Claus with an enormous bag of beads thrown over my shoulder.

    I was so glad to get back to my room and soak in a hot bath, to prepare myself for the next day of festivities. Thank goodness Harrah’s has a never-ending supply of scalding hot water. Oooohhh!

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  • Fine dining is one part of what makes New Orleans and Louisiana appealing to family travelers and couples on romantic vacation. Partaking of a meal isn’t just a meal, it is an event.

    100_0554.jpgBreakfast at Brennan’s is always a treat for me. I always order the Three Course Prix Fixe which starts at $36US. It is customary to start with an “eye-opener” while perusing the menu. My favorite choices are a Brandy Milk Punch, a Mimosa, or a Mr. Funk of New Orleans. There are many other eye-openers to choose from, in typical New Orleans style. The meal itself is an event, taking at least two hours. The purpose is to enjoy your meal in a luxurious setting while visiting with friends. I ended up choosing the New Orleans Turtle Soup (with a splash of sherry), a split of Eggs Benedict and Eggs Shannon, and a grand finale of Bananas Foster, which was invented at this restaurant. In my mind, of course, I’m imagining that the Eggs Shannon was put on the menu just for me. There is an extra charge for the turtle soup and the banana dessert, but it is soooo worth it.

    Local editor and author Errol Laborde came to the meal and presented us all with a copy of his book, KREWE, a history of early New Orleans Carnival. It can be purchased on Amazon.com. Only a few of us managed to get up from the table and continue on for the day. We walked through the Mardis Gras museum located next door to St. Louis Cathedral in Jackson Square.

    100_0570.jpgThe rain began and as I strolled down Bourbon Street, a walking parade made its way past me. It was the Krewe of Cork, which pays homage to the vines. After the parade passed, I stopped into my special place, Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop, the oldest bar in the US.100_0562.jpg

    The rain poured down even more and the evening parades were cancelled. I made it back to my room at Harrah’s and met the group for dinner in the casino. I was so glad at that moment that I was at Harrah’s Hotel, because there is an underground tunnel that leads to the casino, keeping me out of the cold rain for the night.

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  • 100_05441.jpgYesterday after work I hopped in RedBugg (my VW) and took a road trip to New Orleans with my man, Kimo. Kimo and I have been on many road trips together, and what I like about him is:

    A) He lets me drive him around.

    B) He doesn’t mind me singing at the top of my lungs.

    C) He smiles all the time.

    D) He never wears a shirt.

    There is something about driving a vehicle, with the landscape quickly passing by, and learning to just live with you. As a mama, it is hard to find that quiet time to talk to yourself or think about your first kiss, or that time you look REALLY rocking in a particular outfit. Road trips are just wonderful and this is something any mama or a group of mamas should really do at least once. Maybe we secretly desire to be Romy and Michelle or even Thelma and Louise (without the ending).

    This particular road trip ended up at Harrah’s new hotel in New Orleans. I’ve met up with a few old friends and I’m making some new ones. We are checking out the hotel, a few restaurants, and definitely going to a few parades.

    I was excited to get into my room and pleasantly surprised by the lavish digs that are considered standard here. The colors were toned down rich colors of Mardi Gras, such as aubergine and a creamy mustard. The bath even had a soaking tub with separate shower. I did my “hotel detective” check and found that even the area behind the toilet was immaculate. I give thumbs up for Harrah’s New Orleans.100_0548.jpg

    Dinner last night was in the hotel restaurant, Riche, due to the late flights of most of our group. We met up with Arthur Hardy, who is the voice of Carnival season in New Orleans. He has published the Mardi Gras Guide for the past three decades. He entertained our group with stories of Bob Hope, Sandra Bullock, and many other celebrities who have enjoyed the season in the area.

    It was a pleasant start to a full weekend, which includes brunch at Brennan’s, one my favorite restaurants in the entire world.

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