Traveling Mamas

Inspiring you to explore our world

  • 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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  • Mardi Gras Queen

    New Orleans is just one of many places that celebrate Maris Gras. Cities such as Mobile, Pensacola, and Baton Rouge offer family parades full of fun.

    I’ve been invited to spend a long weekend at Harrah’s New Orleans, a new hotel/resort on the scene. I’m going to eat, drink, and be merry during a time of parades and partying. The first Mardi Gras celebration may have occurred in Mobile, AL, but New Orleans made it big. Other places around the Southeast U.S. celebrate this festive season in their own special ways and they all provide a family atmosphere (even NOLA).

    Mobile, AL – This is where the first Mardi Gras was celebrated in 1703. They throw beads and are known for throwing Moon Pies.

    Pensacola, FL – These parade participants throw beads, candy and Moon Pies. They offer a family atmosphere and poke fun at New Orleans and Mobile Krewes in a punny way.

    New Orleans, LA – Like I stated earlier, they made Mardi Gras big.

    Baton Rouge, LA – This capital city is the host of such parades as the Krewe of Mutts and Spanishtown, which features pink flamingos placed in various spots throughout the city during carnival season.

    New Roads, LA – They host the oldest Mardi Gras celebration in Louisiana outside of New Orleans. It is also one the the nation’s oldest African-American sponsored event.

    Mamou, LA – Masked riders ride horseback from farm to farm to collect the ingredients for a gumbo. This is an old tradition and the climax is the chasing of the chicken.

    Lake Charles, LA – This is the center of Southwest Louisiana, which hosts parades in small towns and villages in the area.

    This is just a sampling of the many places in the U.S. that celebrate Mardi Gras.

     

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  • Mardi Gras Parade

    Parades and the revelry of Mardi Gras has attracted tourist and visitors from all over the world. Make sure you don’t break any of the cardinal rules of Mardi Gras. First timers may not know the traditions, but this quick primer will help you weave your way from parade route to parade route, no matter if you are in New Orleans, Mobile, or Galveston.

    Mardi Gras translated means Fat Tuesday. It originally began as a Catholic celebration day to enjoy the things that a person would give up during the Lenten Season. Lent, is the 40 days before Easter that symbolizes the time Jesus spent fasting in the desert before his arrest and crucifixion. Catholics fast on certain days and also give up something that is important to them. Many people give up candy, others quit smoking, and some people try to give up relations (if they aren’t married). It starts on Ash Wednesday, the day following Mardi Gras.

    Through the years, the celebrations have expanded from one day to an entire season, consisting of weeks of revelry beginning on The Epiphany, or Twelfth Night. Mardi Gras dates vary from year to year. Many revelers will argue that there really are no rules to Mardi Gras. As a lifelong resident of South Louisiana, I beg to differ. There are rules, and then there are the RULES.

    The King Cake Rule: I can give a detailed explanation about the origins of the King Cake, but that might be boring. Suffice it to say, the King Cake is a big round cinnamon roll topped with icing and colored sugar. The colors are green, purple, and gold. A plastic or gold baby is placed inside the delicacy, so be careful when you take a bite. You don’t want to break a tooth. If you get the baby inside your slice, guess what? YOU get to buy the next King Cake. And don’t try to slip it back inside the King Cake when no one is looking, because Karma will come back and get you in the form of an party-goer who will regurgitate on you at your next parade.

    The Parade Rule: There are invisible lines surrounding the area of a family who has staked out their spot on the parade route. Do not think that you can wait until the parade starts to stand in the area in front. You will get injured by an inebriated mother wearing a feather boa should you block her child’s area of the curb. Your lesson: Get there early and find your own spot.

    The Bead Rule: There are beads and then there are “good” beads. When good beads are being thrown, get out of the way unless the person on the float makes eye contact. Yes, this is the Bead Rule. Eye contact and pointing means the person throwing the item will aim for you. Oh, and don’t catch beads intended for a child. Should you make contact with these beads, then act like you “meant” to get it for the kid, and then hand it off to them.

    The Don’t Be Offended Rule: Mardi Gras is considered a family event in many areas, however, this does not lesson the satire or adult tones of parades. If you are easily offended, just don’t go. You will see the obligatory family ice chest filled with beer and juice boxes. Every once in a while someone still flashes “the girls” so don’t look or at least be aware of your surroundings during the parade, keeping your hands ready to block a view from your child’s eyes. Stay away from Bourbon Street and find the family areas along a parade route.

    The No Business Rule: Mardi Gras is an official state holiday in Louisiana, so don’t even try conduct business with someone from that state from the Saturday before Mardi Gras through the afternoon of Ash Wednesday.

    These are just a few of the rules of Mardi Gras posted for your entertainment and education. Any additional rules can be posted in the comments. And remember, if you attend a Mardi Gras parade, the ultimate rule is to HAVE FUN.

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  • Matthew McConaughey announced yesterday on his website that his girlfriend, Camila, is three months pregnant. This means that their window of opportunity for planning a Babymoon is slowly closing. They have passed the first trimester, where travel isn’t recommended, so this gives them three to four months before the end is near…….the end of life as freewheeling travelers.

    But what is a Babymoon, you ask? A Babymoon is the last travel hurrah for an expecting couple before another being is added to the relationship. Here are some of TravelingMamas.com picks for Babymoons:

    Jamaica

    The Grand Lido Resort and Spa in Negril is an all inclusive resort offers 24 hour room service, prenatal spa treatments, a 30 minute personal training session for dad, and the in room bar is stocked daily with pickles, chocolate bars, and ginger ale for mom.

    Mexico

    Las Ventanas al Paraiso in San Jose del Cabo beautifies mom and distresses dad with prenatal massage, luxury accommodations, and even a gift for baby.

    Canada

    E’Terra in Tobermory, Ontario offers extra pillows for mom’s comfort at night, special treats to satisfy cravings, spa treatments for mom and dad, fitness advice for before the birth and after, and they even offer a cooking class on how to make your own babyfood and healthy eating during and after pregnancy.

    Charleston, SC

    This destination offers various Babymoon packages at local hotels and inns, such as Planters Inn and Andrew Pickeney Inn.

    California

    Casa Madrona Hotel and Spa in Sausalito offers Babymoon packages for short or longer visits. The packages include a private picnic, parent-to-be spa treatments, and special treats for Mom and Dad.

    The Cliffs Resort in Shell Beach offers a baby moon getaway that includes a basket of diapers and a onesie, an evening treat of Baby Brickle ice cream, breakfast in bed, and a commemorative bottle of wine, for after the birth.

    These are just a few of the many Babymoon packages offered around the world. If you have a favorite hotel, be sure to inquire about available Babymoon packages, or make your own. Before traveling during pregnancy, consult your physician.

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