We drove into Louisiana and got completely turned around when it came to finding the RV Park we were staying at, due to an address error on our GPS. We used our phones as back up, finding the actual (or maybe new?) address and plugging it into the GPS instead. The new address took us to the opposite side of Lafayette, no small detour. Juliette drove into Whole Foods for groceries while Dominic finished setting up with the kids. Whole Foods are pretty standard everywhere, however this one was a bit different as it had a full wood paneled, saloon style bar in the middle of the store! Juliette found some pickled okra, which ended up making for a delicious snack the following day. We made some okra gumbo and jalapeño corn bread from Juliette’s Gluten Free Baking Academy Course to mark our first night in Louisiana. Adele is a huge fan of Okra, she kept remarking how delicious it was all through dinner.
We got off to a slow start the next morning, arriving at the Acadian Village mid day. We enjoyed wandering around the collection of Acadian buildings, brought in from different locations around the state. We read the Dear Canada book Banished From Our Home about the Acadian Expulsion a few months prior, it brought our learning full circle to see where some of the settlers ended up landing and building a life for themselves. I had learned about the Acadian Expulsion in school, but reading the Dear Canada book brought the experience home for us. The series is fictional, written in diary format from the perspective of a girl around 12 years of age, but it is based on real events and often makes them come alive in a really amazing way.
We went back to Whole Foods for a late Linner (Brunch is a thing, so why not lunch + dinner?!) before making our way over to the theatre to see the Live Action (or Real Life as my brother used to call it) Beauty and the Beast. The official release date was March 17th, but we lucked out and were able to see it a day early. The movie lived up to our very high expectations, it is definitely one we will re-watch and we are sure that Beauty and the Beast will figure heavily in the kids’ play over the next little while! It’s fun to see them bring characters from novels and films to life both during and after experiencing them in written or visual format. We are currently listening to The Thickety series by J.A. White, a great fantasy series featuring witches and magic spells. The movie started at 7, which meant the kids all fell asleep on the way home. It was worth the late night however, as the kids thoroughly enjoyed the film they had been looking forward to for weeks.
Our drive into New Orleans took much longer than anticipated, due to major traffic outside of Baton Rouge. As a result there was no one at the office when we arrived at the RV park we had contacted about our stay. It was a little rough around the edges, so we elected to go to the next park over, a lovely spot with a coded gate entry and a very helpful front desk guy.
We settled into our RV (a process that is getting easier and easier all the time!) and then made our way over to Seed, a vegan restaurant that came highly recommended on Happy Cow and online reviews. The spot we were staying at was in a fantastic location, a 15 minute drive into the heart of the city! We had an incredible dinner, trying out some southern country style “crab” cakes and polenta.
We started our morning with some Shamrock Smoothies, part of a fantastic five day smoothie challenge put out by Fresh Things First. The kids were big fans, finishing the smoothies quickly before we got packed up and ready to go to the Crescent City Farmer’s Market. We love finding local farmer’s markets, to check out local produce. This one was no exception, some of our favorite finds were fresh greens, honey from bees pollinating blueberry and strawberry plants and a lovely selection of dried herbs and spices. We found a parkade close to the market, with a low $5 day rate that made the drive into town very affordable. It wasn’t the most glamorous of parkades, but it served our purpose well!
Our next stop was the French Market, where we wandered around viewing stalls and getting a break from the sun with some local Big Easy 'Bucha before heading over to Bennachin, a delicious African restaurant in the French Quarter. We have tried Moroccan and Ethiopian foods before, but hadn’t sampled cuisine from other parts of the continent. The dishes we selected were delicious, they disappeared very quickly after arriving at the table!
We hopped on the streetcar next, on Armand’s request, riding a few stops and then transferring to another line to go visit Anne Rice’s old house in the historic Garden District. The public transit in New Orleans is great, one flat rate takes you all over the city for a full 24 hours! The homes in that area were large and elegant, a far cry from our current tiny home! Living in a smaller space has certainly changed our perspective on large houses, every time we see one we start chatting about how much time it would take to clean! During our wanderings we chanced upon the Eiffel Society, a piece of Paris in New Orleans. This structure is now home to an upscale event space, but it originally sat atop the Eiffel Tower housing a restaurant. After its removal from the famous landmark in the 1980s, it was eventually purchased and brought to New Orleans. This was a highlight for Adele who fell in love with the Eiffel Tower many years ago. We made our way back to the car park and headed back to the RV for a low key night.
We made our way back to Seed for brunch on Sunday, as we had enjoyed our first visit so much. It’s not often we hit up the same restaurant twice, but we decided it was well worth a second visit. Brunch was a very different experience, with order mix ups and a longer than expected wait time for our dishes to arrive. The food was delicious, however, and we would still recommend the restaurant, regardless of our issues the second time around. It just goes to show that once is more than enough sometimes!
We made our way to the National World War II Museum next, and Juliette spent the afternoon learning about Nazi War Propaganda with the girls, while Dominic took Armand to visit planes and tanks. It was heavy subject matter, but an important learning experience. We walked away with a much deeper understanding of the role propaganda played in the rise and success of the Nazi party. We took part in an optional interactive text option that posed really fantastic questions and took the experience to an even higher level. The exhibit discussed what propaganda is, how it is used, and how to identify it. These are important issues to discuss, especially in light of the current US administration. We left with heavy hearts, but also with a whole new appreciation for the social and political climate in Germany leading up to and during the second world war. We got a lot out of our visit, but were unable to see everything we had hoped to in one afternoon, so we elected to come back the following day. The museum offers a $5 second day entry within 7 days of your initial visit, which is so fantastic!
We spent our second day at the WWII museum learning about different areas of conflict in Europe and the Pacific. Dominic and Juliette had learned a lot about European conflicts but had less exposure to battles in the South Pacific. We learned a lot about submarine warfare, and had a chance to take part in an interactive Submarine experience that brought things to life even more. It was a heavy day, to say the least, and we were all in need of a bit of down time in the afternoon. We had a late lunch at Cafe Carmo, a beautiful cafe a block or so away from the museum, with a lovely selection of vegan items. We enjoyed having some soursop juice, for the first time in a long time, and really appreciated their sustainable approach! We picked up a few groceries at a local market, before heading home for a quick and easy dinner and an early night in anticipation of an early start the next day.
Acadian Village - http://www.acadianvillage.org/ - a fun stop just outside of Lafayette, with a collection of Acadian buildings transported from different parts of the US.
Dear Canada - a fantastic book series put out by Scholastic Books. The novels are written in diary format, a first person narrative from the perspective of a young woman usually around 12 years old. The diaries are fictional but they are based on real historic events and give a fantastic perspective on Canadian HIstory.
Thickety Series by J.A. White - a fantastic book series we are currently listening to with the kids, all about witches and spells and good vs. evil!
Seed Restaurant - a fantastic vegan restaurant, within walking distance to the National WWII museum.
Premium Parking - The parkade is not fancy (not by a long stretch!) but at $5 for the day it makes for a very cost effective option.
Crescent City Farmer’s Market - a fantastic farmer’s market that takes place in a couple of different locations around the city on different days of the week.
French Market - an extensive market with lots of food options and lots of market tables.
Big Easy Bucha - we’ve enjoyed trying out different kinds of Kombucha on the road. Big Easy Bucha is brewed in New Orleans and it is fantastic!
Bennachin - a fantastic African restaurant located in the French Quarter. They have lots of veg-friendly dishes!
New Orleans Transit - a cost effective and efficient way to get around town! The street cars are lots of fun, especially if you have little ones.
Cafe Carmo - a fantastic tropical fusion restaurant with several delicious vegan options.