Okay, I know it took me almost a month to post our Christmas! As a result, you may be getting alot all at once! Boy, I really need a better routine for this. It seems that everytime I sit down to post Lincoln is turning off the computer from out from under me! Oh well! Here are a few more details of our Louisiana trip:
The day after Christmas, we enjoyed a visit to the Insta-Gator Ranch where we did everything but eat alligator. The boys were a tad nervous at first but warmed up to it throughout the presentation. At the end, upon Adam's request, we couldn't go home without bringing home an Alligator "family" from the gift shop. In Adam's terms, "An Alligator family is a Mommy a Daddy and little babies." (Complete with hand motions too hard to describe). He was pretty intent that the mommy should be an albino alligator.
Here are a few interesting pictures that have to do with Katrina. The picture below shows how deep the water was on this particular building. They say that 80% of New Orleans was under water. We watched a documentary called "When the Levies Broke" which was pretty humbling. The devastation on the area was so immense. Two years later we could still see so much debri laying around and many homes just hanging by a thread.
This next picture shows how many of the homes are built that are right on the water. Most of these homes were completely shattered by the storm into one huge pile of debris. This particular home we think is a rebuild after Katrina (Why someone would want to rebuild on the water after Katrina is beyond me! Now that's loyalty!). The windows are boarded up for Hurricane season.
We spent a day in the French Quarter of Louisiana. It was just delightful. Here is an example of the beautiful architecture to be found there. Just a cute old house. Evidently, the French Quarter was not flooded at all when the Levies broke. There is some controversy as to whether the levy was actually strategically dynamited so the flooding would miss the French Quarter. Has not been proven.
This decrepid old section of building, is what we would like to think was the birth place of Jazz. It is the Preservation Hall where the Preservation Hall band plays and has played for a LONG time. Kind of in an interesting part of the quarter though. We recommend that if you visit New Orleans to steer clear of Bourbon street. You just might see a naked lady!
Rob and I have decided that we would like to go back just us two some day. There are so many wonderful art galleries and antique shops that would make anyone drool. More street performers than we've ever seen. And they were actually quite good. We got a free showing to some excellent Jazz, Saxophone, Gospel, and even an instrument called a hammered Dulcimer. (See picture)
We ate at "Napolean's house" an old Mayor's Mansion that was said to be opened up as a refuge to Napolean. The food was scrumptious and very affordable. The culture of New Orlean's is really quite unique.
We enjoyed a ride on the trolley for the boys entertainment, then finished our day with a trip to Cafe' De Monde at the French market for some delectable Begniet's. Begniet's are like fritters or scones just drenched in powdered sugar. They were so good that I was craving them for days after we got home so I looked up a recipe online and made a huge batch of them. I'd have to say that even Shawny would have been impressed. (for those of you who don't know my friend Shawny, I revere her as the baker of pastries extraordinare!) They turned out great and SO yummy!
(Don't my parents look so cute in their missionary tags? if you can see them.)
Some other Louisiana cuisine that we tried were Satsumas (sort of a mix between and orange and a tangerine but even better!), and Cajun boiled peanuts (very different, but yummy just the same). We didn't try red beans and rice until we got home.
Some other things we enjoyed were a trip to the Bishop's storehouse in Slidell, LA where my parents work as employment specialists. They are doing amazing work there. I'm so proud of them! If you want to read a cool story about the Storehouse and it's role during Katrina, you can find it in a fairly recent Ensign. (not sure which one). It's prety amazing to see how the church's focus on preparedness really comes through in a crisis. It's really amazing the extent of help the church gave.
We also enjoyed a trip to the Stennis Space Center in Missisippi across the border. This is NASA's largest test launch site. We got to try freeze-dried Astronaut Neopolitan ice cream. I'm here to tell you that it just isn't quite the same. A good reason why I'm not an astronaut.
Probably my most memorable moments though were watching my boys bond with their Grandma and Grandpa, spending time with my brother Joel and his totally awesome wife Marie, and my walk/run's with my Dad early in the morning. I'm so glad families are forever!