Social media can sometimes appear to make things seem prettier than they actually are, right? Not for us. I just asked Bruce, "What should we title this blog on our trip to New Orleans?" He quickly said, "Miserable?" I laughed. Then I said, "No, really, what if we called it, The House of the...," but before I could finish my thought, he gave me the title you see above - The House of the Whining son.
Very fitting. Then I laughed, until I actually cried. I'm like that.
So, since we have a perfect family (not) and perfect children (not), we wanted you to enjoy and laugh a little with us, as we head down to New Orleans.
This was our first Spring Break with our college-age kids as empty-nesters. We didn't want to spend money on plane tickets, so Bruce and I brainstormed on where we could go by car.
I am from Beaumont. It's a Texas pass-through on the way to New Orleans. Lucky me, I have spent a lot of time in New Orleans over the years. I have always loved it, particularly the architecture, antiques, funky shops, plethora of art galleries, museums and parks.
Because of his work, Bruce has probably been to New Orleans at least 40 times. He says he can't get enough of NOLA. We both truly share a passion for the the distinctive blues and jazz music and are madly in love with the food and people of New Orleans.
Since our kids are both musicians, we thought, what a perfect place to take them.
Our intent was for Josh and Caroline to experience the music, culture, and the general vibe of New Orleans.
Originally, they both gave us a little push back on the trip but eventually got on board. So we thought...
First, we stopped for two nights in Baton Rouge to stay with my first friend. I was literally in the playpen with her. She will always be Lysle Higgins to me.
Lysle and I miraculously discovered we were distant cousins when we were 10. We still talk every week on the phone. When we were little we used to do things like rescue baby owls or dig to China with my mom's silver in the mud of rainy Beaumont. (My mom discovered her silver a year later while gardening.) Went on a "trip" in the back yard on the little boat my dad had and brought my mom's new luggage and left the suitcases to be discovered months later behind the garage filled with rainy mildewed towels. One hot, boring Beaumont summer our moms said we could not go to the movies. Can you believe that? So, of course, we painted in the street in large letters "We hate our moms" (Sorry moms...we don't hate you!).
So, back to the story. After our stop in Baton Rouge, we headed down to New Orleans. Now, let me preface this, Josh is about to turn 21 and is usually a mature, young man. He is a true gentleman, able to speak with great wisdom and insight, and is a person of depth with deep sensibilities.
But not in New Orleans.
He always wanted a brother. When he was younger, we would catch him trying to make Caroline wrestle with him. And trust me, he gave no mercy to her based on her girl status. As we entered the city, immediately Josh started acting...well, like he did at the wrestling age of around 11 or so, right before puberty fully set in. Josh was profoundly picking on his sister. Charming in one moment, then hitting his sister the next. I am not making this up. It was like they were Jr. High kids in the back seat.
Then he started on me. This young man was complaining about EVERYTHING for three days, including me firmly saying that we are NOT walking down Bourbon Street. Finally, after three days of Josh being miserable and so generously sharing it, I was exasperated and said, "Josh what is wrong with you!" He briskly responded, "I only like nature and the suburbs!" I started laughing immediately. First of all, Josh hated chaos as a kid. He didn't even like his 3rd grade classroom aesthetically, because he said there were too many things to look at on the walls. He hated it when we left Colleyville and moved to busy L.A. in 5th grade and wasn't truly a happy camper until we returned to the gentle Lone Star State. He is wired for order and peace and does his best thinking and songwriting in silence. Oops, that is NOT New Orleans. All I could do was laugh when he said, "I only like nature and the suburbs!" I told him, "Josh, no one admits to liking the suburbs!"
The best part was when we all gave up and joined Josh in a pillow fight one night to work out our frustrations on each other.
Needless to say, the rest of us enjoyed the trip. Here are some pictures and videos to prove it.
We ended our trip at a bed and breakfast in the calm, charming town of Natchitoches. Our family experienced some amazing blues music by Joe Nadeau (Check out incredible music on his Facebook page). The family also had some fantastic Louisiana styled cuisines. Josh was a delight and returned back to his 20-year-old self. All is well on the Levinson front.
Under the Travel section on outsidethenest.net we have a full write-up of fun things to do and eat in New Orleans and Natchitoches.
Thanks for traveling this journey with us. Next time, Bruce and I will be returning to NOLA sans our beloved J & C. We would love to hear your thoughts and favorite things about the BIG EASY. See you next time.
-Bruce and Tracy Levinson - www.outsidethenest.net