We got a lot of strange looks - you know - walking through Bourbon street with a stroller, but we're no novices when it comes to New Orleans. My sister has lived in The Big Easy for almost three years now, and I went there a little too often myself in my 20's. This time we were back for my sister's engagement party. Coming here with a baby? Well that was a first, but surprisingly, still a blast.
Our weekend started out with Stefani and Ace's engagement Crawfish Boil. If you've never been to New Orleans, you should know that the food is an even bigger deal than the beads. We showed up to her future in-laws' property and drooled in awe over the giant barrels full of southern-style crawfish. Savory, juicy, and oh-to-tempting, you would have thought we were on the food network. Of course, the crawfish was good, but who knew corn could taste like that? We lazied around the yard, talking, petting the local goat, and watching Stef and Ace take adorable photos with giant ring balloons.
That evening we checked into the Four Corners Bourbon Street Hotel and watched partying strangers stroll la rue to live blues bands through the french door windows in the hotel lobby. It was like watching a crystal ball in reverse.
The next day was all about Magazine street - a lovely (and much quieter) boutique area of New Orleans. We strolled along to brunch with baby sunglasses and our jogger. Brunch was one of the most fabulous meals I've ever eaten. Apparently Ace knows some people really high up in food. Baby B was passed around the table like an accessory in a photo booth, and Stef helped me change his diaper on a sink only slightly larger than a pedestal. We went thrift store shopping and found a couple of authentic Dolce & Gabbana blazers.
That afternoon while strolling Bourbon st near our hotel, Josh and I took turns hopping into voodoo shops, and grabbing a beer to stroll with. Near evening, people were approaching us, commenting on our baby's sunglasses, and it became clear it was time to head back inside for an early evening. My mom babysat Bryce and Stef, Ace, Josh, and I had dinner nearby. We grabbed a bottle out of my mom's car on our way back to the hotel. As a club promoter grabbed my arm to drag me in, she saw the bottle and asked ,"Girl, what is that?!"
"My baby is back in the room" I said. It was an early night.
The next day, Josh, Baby B, and I walked the French quarter stopping for ice cream, and taking our time to admire the art. As we walked Jackson Square by the Cathedral, we lingered in the park. We spent several nights enjoying the view of Bourbon from the air conditioning of our hotel bar. On Sunday night, we watched Game of Thrones in our room to the muted sound of big bands and guests swimming in the courtyard pool below our terrace.
The Big Easy wasn't the same with a baby. We didn't get absinthe for lunch or even step foot in Lafitte's, but it was still lovely. There were still wrought iron vines wrapping the city in creole decor, and beignets, and of course there was my sister.
Congratulations on your engagement Stefani and Ace!
For any mama who's traveled with a baby, you know it isn't easy. Here are a few of the items we couldn't live without:
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