Louisiana: Octavia Books and New Orleans

Louisiana was a great stop and provided quite the education for our kids.

Octavia Books is lovely and charming and absolutely everything you’d want in a bookstore. (I just asked my engineer husband for one word to describe Octavia Books because I was afraid of sounding cliché, and he immediately said “charming” too—so I’m sticking with that very sincere description!)

 This might be the prettiest bookstore I've ever seen. And everybody is so nice--I highly recommend stopping by when you are New Orleans.

This might be the prettiest bookstore I've ever seen. And everybody is so nice--I highly recommend stopping by when you are New Orleans.

 My Aunt Susie and Uncle Eddie drove in to be at the event. I was thrilled to see them and give them a big squeeze.

My Aunt Susie and Uncle Eddie drove in to be at the event. I was thrilled to see them and give them a big squeeze.

We also did the tourist thing during our stop. We loved driving around and seeing the city. The Garden District is amazing with the swirl of colors and the older architecture. I wish I could have walked through all the long narrow houses. We also visited a cemetery. When I lived in Louisiana as a kid, I remember my parents telling me that bodies are put in above ground tombs instead of buried. The reason, they said, is because New Orleans is built below sea level, so if people were buried, they’d literally float out of the ground. As I kid with a vivid (and not always reasonable) imagination, I pictured this like tons of bodies hovering and bumping into each other. (Related: I had a lot of trouble going to sleep when I was younger!)

 Logan and I walking in the Garden District.

Logan and I walking in the Garden District.

 This was such a neat experience. Didn't know if we should smile or not considering the location--but also figured we shouldn't look stoic. Logan decided to go with some expression in between.

This was such a neat experience. Didn't know if we should smile or not considering the location--but also figured we shouldn't look stoic. Logan decided to go with some expression in between.

We also went to the French Quarter and trekked down the Mississippi Riverwalk to the French Market. This is where the educating started. The first thing was a pickpocket attempt. This was only thwarted because my son, Logan, and I stopped to look down over the railing at a football that’d gotten stuck on the rocky shore. Zach (my husband) asked what we were doing, and when I looked up to answer him, I saw a guy a we’d just passed had turned and was way too close to Zach’s back. I, being super chill under pressure and all, I screamed, “Zach!” The guy stopped reaching for the wallet and held his hands up, showing his innocence. Maybe he wasn’t going for the wallet—just a little snuggle with my hunky hubby. (I can’t really fault the guy for that.) Due to his color coordinated red boxers and jeans, we now fondly refer to our pickpocket as “Ole Red Britches.”

Afterwards, Zach put his wallet in his front pocket. I later noticed most people already knew to do that.

 Shopping in the French Market. The boys were mesmerized by the dried alligator heads (but thankfully decided to go with the little marble sculptures instead).

Shopping in the French Market. The boys were mesmerized by the dried alligator heads (but thankfully decided to go with the little marble sculptures instead).

 On the Mississippi Riverwalk (right before we met Ole Red Britches).

On the Mississippi Riverwalk (right before we met Ole Red Britches).

Then we went to the French Market and the kids got to learn about bargaining. I’ve tried to get them to do this before (although I don’t love to doing it myself, I think it is important to know how to and to okay if the answer is no). My previous attempts to push them in this area haven’t been realized, but yesterday, they were feeling brave (or maybe just high on life after stymieing the near wallet theft). Thus, the kiddos secured the first of their trip souvenirs: carved marble turtles and a dolphin, a mortar and pestle (Logan likes grinding candy to make concoctions), and a fan complete with sequins--befitting any true southern gal.

So complete was the elation from getting such a deal, my oldest kid (Colton) recounted the whole experience as we walked. He got so caught up in story telling, he didn’t notice he was getting very, very close to a man that had a distinct brown stain on the seat of his pants. I was forced to interrupt his retelling and ask him to stay closer to us. After a few steps, Colton said, “Oh. I think that man pooped in his pants.” To which Zach, full of fatherly wisdom responded, “I think it is more of a #3 situation.”

The kids quietly reflected on this as we walked back to the car.

We are headed to Florida now—though our trip is temporarily stalled. We are on the side of the road due to a blow out on the fifth wheel trailer. While the tire is being changed, I’m alternating between writing this and making sure the kids don’t even think about opening a door.

We’re all pumped about staying near the ocean, though we all have different ideas about what we want to do. Logan wants to fish. Colton wants to boogey board. Rowyn wants to find sea shells. Zach wants to get new trailer tires. And, I want to sit on the beach and read a book. Stay tuned to see who will win.