new orleans…with kids

There was a moment earlier this year when I sat down and tried to figure out what I wanted most for our family.  I tried to see into the future, ten years down the road, and divine what would be my biggest regret. It’s a tough thing to do, right? How do we truly know which parenting decisions will be the right ones when send our children to college? Alas, this has been a year of big decisions, and I had one to make.

I thought, when my children were very young, that we should always give them the very best schools that we could possibly afford. As someone who went to school for 20+ years, I know the value of being in an excellent school. As a former professor, I know the importance of small class sizes and motivated teachers. But earlier this year, as I peered into a foggy crystal ball, I came to the realization that not all education happens in the classroom. I knew this all along, of course. My own childhood was informed by all kinds of experiences, not just school ones. But the cost of private school was weighing us down, and it was soon to be the only experience we could afford for our children. So one day, we decided it was enough. I imagined the day that we would drop our oldest off at college and thought that my biggest regret that day wouldn’t be sending her to the very, very best school we could afford, that it would be having that be the only thing we were able to give her, forgoing education and experiences in so many other forms.

Our world is too big and beautiful a place for my children’s lives to be confined to a classroom. We want their lives to encompass all of the experiences and adventures we can possibly afford, not just a school. It’s exciting and liberating.

And that’s how we ended up in New Orleans for a family vacation.  Our friends looked at us askance when we said we were taking the kids there, but I promise you, it is a great, kid-friendly destination, full of delicious food, interesting history, and beautiful sights. Just steer clear of Bourbon Street.

Here’s a few of the things we did…

Beignets at Cafe DuMonde.  Obligatory.

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Cemetery tour at LaFayette No. 1.

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A tour of the Mississippi River from the Steamboat Natchez.

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Birthday brunch at Brennan’s.

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Jackson Square.  There are so many fun street performers and artists that you could spend hours just in that one spot.  (Although be sure to stop by the Faulkner House bookstore, which is right down an alley, behind the cathedral.)

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Enjoying the hotel life. Everyone at our hotel was lovely, and no one minded the kids, not even in the hotel bar.

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Stopping to see the details, getting lost in the streets.

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And, of course, there’s the music.

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We would go back in a heartbeat.  And I didn’t manage to take a single picture of the food.  My goodness, so much delicious food.

Our trips this summer are all focused on family, but we’re already plotting our next big adventure.  Where should we go next?

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