On Monday afternoon we hopped in Boatie and headed to Jackson, MS for an appointment Alexe had with the Tax folks early Tuesday morning.
We got to Jackson after dark, and explored what felt like the back streets of Beirut, if Beirut insisted on one way streets. Downtown Jackson has suffered in the past 50 years from various social and economic disasters, and though there is construction everywhere hopefully signifying the beginnings of a turnaround, there's a long way to go.
We checked into a nice hotel in the middle of the mess, a spot that has undergone a $60+ million renovation in the past 5 years.
The kids got their own door entry cards, and checked on the quality of the mattresses before we headed out for a late night driving exploration of the town, and a search for food.
We ended up back at the hotel an hour later, a bit scar(r)ed, and still hungry. So I ordered a pizza and we went swimming while we waited for it to be delivered. It was never delivered, because Papa John's placed the order with their Oxford location. So at 10 minutes before the kitchens closed we ordered room service.
9 the next morning we were here for Alexe's meeting. (Contesting late fees on sales tax payments when the state website was having technical difficulties and was unable to accept payments the day they were due.)
One of my persistent questions of what the state feels is a higher priority than education spending: This is the state revenue campus.
Being almost halfway to New Yorleans, we turned Boatie south again and kept going.
A pleasant 3 hour drive later, and we were walking through the Garden District, and stopped at a Thai place for a late lunch.
Something I miss about dense population centers: the architecture and infrastructure that they support.
And the funky historic properties. Notice the stairs snaking down the side of this house from the third story.
We checked into our hotel, a nice enough spot, if they had been able to supply hot water for all their guests. The room layout was very convenient, a single room, with a set of spiral stairs leading up to a sleeping loft for the kids.
We settled in, and then hit the streets for more exploring. Alexe's love of growing things has been a surprise over the years, and continues to grow.
Being a few weeks after Mardi Gras, there were beads everywhere. Caspian, the collector that he is, picked them up, brought them home, and created a project of snipping them into distinct beads. He's all about the process; once he finished he promptly spilled his bag of beads all over the car, and moved on.
Being in New Yorleans with kids is very different. There's less walking, less jumping over graveyard walls, less fancy dining, and more early evenings in, and playgrounds. With the good bread and cheese shops, piles of books, and Doctor Who episodes, we made the most of our early evenings in the hotel.
Breakfast was in City Park, for hot chocolate and Beignets.
Followed by playground time.
Duck and turtle watching.
Then it was back to the hotel to drop off the car, and catch the street car into the French Quarter.
These kids are ready to travel anywhere.
First stop was a candy shop, where they each spent ages picking out their 10 pieces of candy. This was a delay tactic; ice cream had been mentioned on the drive to New Yorleans, and we had yet to find a functioning ice cream shop. Caspian was checking in on the ice cream schedule every three minutes.
We ended up in H&M. We swapped the kids boots out for new matching sneakers, and then the girls went off to the fitting rooms, so Caspian and I tried on hats. Or anything that might function as a hat.
Properly shod, we hit the streets again. This time with me carrying several bags of boots and new clothes.
For many adorable photo ops.
Annaliese is very serious about having her own (broken) iphone, and was doing her best impression of a tourist. Which reminds me I need to track that phone down and take a look at the pictures she took.
We enjoyed a street magician show, (see his blog herehttp://magicianonamotorcycle.com/ Great crowd work, decent magic,) and then headed for lunch in this 1700s feed store / restaurant. I love these courtyards, and the porches that are build on flat stock steel, maybe 2" wide, turned on edge and stuck out the side of a building. No modern building code would allow for this, yet theses porches have been holding up crowds of revelers for 100s of years.
The kids were zonked, so we headed back to the hotel.
Where I fell asleep face down on the bed surrounded by the kids watching cartoons and Alexe reading. When I came to we headed out for the promised ice cream. Which neither child finished.
This car. She has survived so much abuse, and continues to get us where we want to go. We have been seriously thinking about getting a Volt, the only modern car we would be willing to drive instead, but on this trip Boatie bounced and squealed her way there and back, and won our hearts again.
We had a nice breakfast in a neighborhood cafe before heading home.
And then to combat the 6 hour drive wiggles, we stopped in the Auduban park across from Tulane to let the kids vent some energy.
She says she's a morning person...
Caspian was all over the place.
Visiting the ducks.
Climbing the trees.
Annaliese was in a grump, and swinging. She's way back through the trees.
Ducks in Trees!
A bouncy ride home, with a pit stop at a Fresh Market about half way, and we were back in the Valley.