We left at about 7 p.m. on Friday night. That gave us time to pick up little people from daycare, eat dinner with the family, and get lost out near CoonTown Farms. (Well, at least ONE member of our party got lost out there. I got a frantic call from Stace, swearing that she could hear banjos in the distance and lamenting that there were no lights, or even roads, out where she got turned around. Good times.)
Once we got on the road, we made excellent time (and hit the only two clean bathrooms) to New Orleans. We checked into our hotel around 10 p.m. At such point, did we gussy up and go out drinking? No. We stayed in the hotel room to KNIT. Sad, sad, sad. Next time, I'm forbidding Sandi from bringing yarn and looms.
In the morning, we headed straight to La Madeleine for breakfast. Soooo good. I had a crazy yummy chocolate almond criossant thingy with a cafe au lait and a peppy little fruit cup. We sat at the most perfect table in the restaurant (in the cozy corner in the back. We could see everyone.) and made copious jokes at one another's expense.
After breakfast, we headed out to the Quarter. Sandi hadn't spent much "touristy" time in N.O., so we walked along the riverfront, traipsed through the Quarter, and ended up at Cafe Pontalba (in Jackson Square) for lunch. The place was crowded, but the line moved quickly, and pretty soon another perfect table (right near one of the big open windows - we were practically on the sidewalk) was cleared. We went over to sit down, and as we were making ourselves comfortable, this grandma and a young boy of about 11 walked up. The little boy immediately screamed, "Where's my FOOD?!" and burst into this cross between a high scream and a wailing keen. Apparently, they had gotten up from their table (er, our table?) to go to the bathroom, and the restaurant staff had unknowingly cleared it, even though they weren't finished. Awk. Ward.
After lunch, we headed out to The National D-Day Museum. I had never been, but the attraction had been on my short list since it opened. It was amazing. First of all, the subject of the exhibit is touching because it is about US. I've been to alot of famous sites/churches/museums in Europe, and they were perfectly wonderful, but I never felt very personally involved in what I was observing. What's different about this museum is that my grandfather and my grandmother's brothers fought in WWII. The subject matter was about people I knew and loved.
Plus, the whole place is brilliantly laid-out. The exhibits build slowly through the planning and preparation for D-Day, and by the time you arrive at the section of the museum devoted to the storming of the beaches, you are totally keyed up. It was profoundly moving, and the use of the personal effects of soldiers and their direct testimony resulted in a tremendous experience. Not to be missed!!!
We basically stayed until the museum shut down, and then we headed over to St. James Cheese Company for dinner. Oh. My. Gawd. I got the three-cheese tasting board, which came with Comte (delish), goat cheese studded with raisins (which you MUST try) and a third, unremarkable cheese. Also included were sliced pears, honeyed walnuts, grapes, and a lovely sliced baguette. Add a nice glass of red, and I call that dinner. We ate and ate and ate, and Stace's sweet sis and her hubby joined us for some wonderful conversation. The weather was really mild, so we got to eat outside. I loved this place and would recommend it to anyone.
And of course, Stacey couldn't just let the eating be over at that point, could she? NOOOO. She then toted us to Sucre, an upscale artisan candy shop and bakery. At this point, I was beginning to feel like Templeton from Charlotte's Web (you know, the night he goes to the fair and eats WAY too much? Skip ahead to 1:40 for my true mood at this point.). But what can I say? I'm weak. I had a caramel-y, chocolate-y, coffee-flavored something, plus a cup of decaf. I tried to convince Sandi and Stace to doll up and go dancing with me afterwards, but no luck. (I must admit, I was exhausted myself. I tried leaning my head on Sandi's shoulder, but her bony arm nearly gave me a flesh wound. We've GOT to fatten her up a bit before we go out of town again . . . )
We headed back to our non-haunted hotel and hit the hay.