A while ago I said I would get a post up for Keegan's bday in New Orleans. Well, it took longer than I thought, there were a ton of great images from our trip out there and with all the processing and sorting it kinda got overtaken by more recent posts. Ooops.

But to make up for it, you are about to embark on an image heavy blog-journey which will either make you hungry, want to climb a tree or have a spontaneous birthday party. So, jump in the time machine it's set for just about a month ago...


We are headed for Louisiana, a state full of charm and history, swamp and humidity. Several years ago, Doreen worked in New Orleans for about a year and since that time she has often said she wanted to show me some of her old New Orleans hangouts. Sounds good to me, let's go. I was looking forward to seeing some cool architecture and diving in to the Cajun cuisine. I had done a little reading on that whole Cajun thing and as it turns out, quite a lot of Louisiana is made up of exiled descendants from Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island - all places I've done extensive traveling in. Well, enough of the history lesson, you're mainly here for my flashy writing style and wickedly funny sense of humor so let's get on with one of the main items on the agenda. ;-)

Keegan's Birthday!

Yup, three years old and life is good. We blew the birthday party budget on party hats and some choice prezzies then went looking for a place to throw the bday p-harrrrtaaaayyyyy. We set Keegan's party up in a glamorous setting - a diner. Actually it worked out pretty well, it was an organic juice bar and local organic produce kinda diner with laid back staff and a pretty relaxed vibe. We hung out at our table for quite a while and it never got busy enough that we felt like we had to leave.

Keegan really liked his "Mike and the Bike" book/CD (we are still listening to it in the car stereo) of course the instruments were a big hit, especially the part where you can play them in the bathtub.



Uhmmmmmm, who do you think is having the most fun at this birthday party?


Wearing point hats makes you a much better reader.


Since the day was all about Keegan having fun, we also spent some time at a kids park in the center of New Orleans. It worked out real well, the highlight for Keegan was the Fire Engine, he luuuuuuves them.

Now if there had been a Thomas the Train and a Red Fire Engine in the same park, we would probably still be there.

Good old truck #55.


How do you get Keegan's mind off big red? Well you introduce him to a very large concrete mushroom of course.


It also helps to ease the pain of leaving big red behind if you can setup a personal visit with the King of the Park. He didn't have much to say to the boys but with a crown like that you really don't need to say anything.


DSC_8005-Typical-seafoodFood. Oh yeah!

New Orleans does food. Lots of it, calories galore, I probably ate one million calories in just a few days. We were lucky to be there during crawfish season - of course it was also the season for shrimp, gumbo, jambalaya, étouffée, andouille sausage, po-boys, mufletta, dirty rice, sweet potato fries and etc, etc. Pretty much every meal was excellent and I can see why people always mention New Orleans and food in the same sentence.

I lost track of all the restaurants we went to, some were sort of expensive but most we chose because they were hole in the walls or bargains.

Lots of great places to choose from and I would be hard pressed to choose my favorite, though I can say Doreen's decision to take us to one of her old hangouts turned out to be so good that we went back on another night for a repeat performance.


Did I mention one million calories?


Here's a typical evening meal, local hole in the wall but excellent grub. Boiled spicy shrimp the size of a small fist for just over $3.00 a pound. Oh yeah!


I hear the local beer is pretty good, I wouldn't know because I'm on my crazy no alcohol until after World's Solo Championship routine, baaaah.


Architecture was really good for the camera. Rather than post up a bunch of abstract stuff I'll just put up a couple that caught my eye because of the nice end of day sunlight.



New Orleans is kid friendly when it's time to head out and do things with the munchkins. Simple things like a tram ride...


A picnic in a park down in the French Quarter...


Spicy jambalaya requires a thorough tongue blowing to cool things down...


Park fountains are a favorite...


And let's not forget a Saint Patrick's Day parade...

DSC_8276-Wow-beadsIt just so happens we were in New Orleans during the St Paddy's Day parade festivals. I've never been to Mardi Gras of course so I didn't know what to expect. Of course over the years you hear about that whole bead throwing thing but I just didn't get it until I was involved in it. Simply, it goes like this - Big floats, lots of beads, trinkets and assorted items, people, drinking, loud music, throwing, fun.

During the initial floats that passed by our sidewalk spot, the boys were bug-eyed and Santa Claus excited, I mean how could they not be. Beads. Shiny beads. Lots of shiny beads falling from a picture perfect blue sky.

Once the boys got into the swing of things they became bead collecting phenoms. Directly below you can see them at about the 10th float point, by the 15th float Keegan was almost hidden by the amount of beads he had on. There were only 65 more floats to go, as young bead Jedi Warriors in training they represented the House of Taylor with strength and courage. Anyone want to buy some beads?


C'mon, who thinks this image belongs on the front cover of "Plantations Weekly"? Put your hand up, higher, higher...

On one of our afternoons we headed out to a large plantation. The boys had a blast as the grounds were in very good condition so there was lots to look at and lots of room to run.

Besides history, culture and beauty, something else you can find on a plantation is trees, lots of them and all of them just desperately crying out to be climbed. Like little spider monkeys the boys hit tree after tree. Evan has a real knack for gaining elevation, real quick. Guess there will be a tree fort on the horizon sooner rather than later.


Curvy treeDSC_8238-Two-tree-climbers

This last image was taken on the way back into New Orleans from our little plantation trip. We saw a fried chicken hole in the wall on the side of the road, in the middle of nowhere, it turned out to be some of the best fried chicken I've ever eaten. Cheap, plenty of seating (in the parking lot) and good, what more could you ask for.


If you are looking for a place to go and have fun, see some cool sights, host a birthday party, or eat world class fried chicken, look no further than New Orleans. If you want an opportunity to grace the front cover of "Plantations Weekly" you will have to email me and include the keywords "gumbo" and "crawfish", I will respond back with the coordinates to my top-secret plantation cover shot location so you too have a chance to recreate the magic - hey, anything for my blog-aficionados.


Anonymous said...

great post! brought back a lot of memories of my trip to visit Doreen years ago. I loved that city and the 'hole in the wall' and 'shack' food places. great shots of the boys. RD

Jeff S. said...

Cxgeezer from Team Smack here--

If Keegan likes Thomas the Tank Engine, you might check out the original books by the Rev. W. Awdry. You all might already know all about these but if you don't they're a real treat, and completely different from the modernized commercial merchandise. They give a really good feel of what England must have been like in the 20's and 30's, and they're funny as heck in the English way--even for adults.

Great pix from N.O. and now I'm hungry. Cheers-Jeff

Shaun Taylor said...

Geez, I never thought to look for the original books, nice one!