Friday, March 11, 2011

Day Four in Baton Rouge

We LOVED Baton Rouge. We woke up and went to see the Baton Rouge temple. I can't believe how much I take for granted having a temple close to me. I think the Dallas temple is so far and it is only a half an hour away when the traffic is good. I am grateful for small temples like the Baton Rouge temple that help so many people have the blessing of a temple more in reach!!

We then went to the Louisiana State Capitol building. We saw where Huey P. Long was shot. (We learned a lot about the controversial figure Huey Long during this trip. I want to read a book about him.) We also went up to the 27th floor and enjoyed a wonderful view.

*You can see the little orange cone bandit in this picture. Nicholas has an amazing ability of finding ways to entertain himself.
*The amount Nicholas enjoys one of our stops is directly proportional to the number of stairs or dogs there.

We then went to the old state capital. I was very excited to visit it. It has tons of character, but was way too small. They had basically turned it into a museum about Louisiana history.

We then went to The Chimes, a restaurant right by LSU campus. I wanted to have an authentic cajun meal. The food was absolutely fabulous. We ended up having blackened alligator, duck and sausage gumbo, crawfish etouffe, and a catfish and crawfish pasta dish.

*You can tell Nicholas loved the food.

We then made the long drive back to Dallas. Nicholas did pretty well in the car. We hooked up a portable DVD player and he watched Baby Signing time. He also loved the little container we call his "treasure box." I fill it with random things and he enjoys taking them out of the box, putting them back in the box, and then finally throwing them. It is messy, but it at least entertains him.

Mardi Gras in New Orleans

This was the day we were most worried about during our trip, because we didn't know what to expect. Parking was a nightmare. Parking spots near the parade route were going for $40!! We luckily found a spot and enjoyed the walk over to Canal Street. We walked through the French Quarters and part of Bourbon Street. We wanted to get a peek at it before it got too wild. We ended up veering off it because at 9:30 in the morning the party was already going at one end of Bourbon Street.

We saw a tiny bit of the parade. We got there too late to get good seats, so we didn't stay too long.

We then walked to the Algier Ferry and enjoyed the view of the Mississippi.

We then went to the famous Cafe du Monde and had beignets. (Thanks Grandmother and Grandfather Muhlestein for the suggestion and for the Valentines money that we used to fund this part of our adventure.)

(This is Nicholas having his first taste. Later, he gets covered with powder sugar when he eats a whole beignet by himself.)

We then made the walk back to our car. As we were walking back, we ran into the costume contest/parade. There were some very impressive and elaborate costumes.

Nicholas was worn out by all our fun. He is our little Mardi Gras king.

We then drove across Lake Pontchartrain. This was one of the highlights of the trip for Joseph. He has always wanted to drive across this bridge since he found out about it.

We ate dinner and then drove back to Baton Rouge and did a little bit of sightseeing before we turned in for the night. We can now die saying that we did Mardi Gras in New Orleans. (We still have New Years in Time Square and Groundhog's Day in Punxsutawney, PA on our list.)

Spring Break in Louisiana (March 6th-7th)

We left on Sunday after sacrament meeting and drove all day to Louisiana. We made one stop at the Sam Houston memorial. The rosebud trees were in bloom and it was gorgeous.

We made it to our campsite at Lake Fausse Pointe State Park after dark. We car camped that night and woke up to discover that this state park lived up to all of its positive reviews. It is amazing!! It has a splash park, a playground, cabins, fishing, and tons of place to hike, bike, and canoe. We hiked around and then went canoeing on the lake. We definitely would love to come back to Lake Fausse and spend a whole week. It is my kind of camping.

Our next stop was Lake Martin. We walked along the shore and spotted a lot of turtles and alligators. At one point, we counted around 24 to 30 baby alligators grouped together sunning themselves. We then took a boat tour and saw a lot of other wildlife and got real close to some big gators. It was a cold day, so we didn't see as many as we would have liked. We only got to see three really big gators. We did see tons of birds and a nutria. (A nutria is a swamp rat from South America that was farmed for its fur in Louisiana and then escaped into the wild.)

We then drove into Layfette and got a pizza and watched the Layfette Mardi Gras parade. It was really fun and completely family friendly. It didn't get going until after Nicholas' bedtime, so he spent most of the parade snuggled up with Mom and getting really annoyed when Mom didn't move fast enough and beads hit him in the head. He did enjoy all the trinkets we collected. He especially loved the giant coins. They are his "moneys."