Revisiting our summer trip to New Orleans

I've finally had the opportunity to weed through the photos from our summer trip to New Orleans. Here are some highlights:

My dad and stepmom Beth drove to New Orleans from New Iberia to spend the day with us. Our first stop was Brewstock, a neighborhood corner store that carries a full line of beer, wine, coffee, soda and cheese-making products. My dad, quite the coffee aficionado, picked up a coffee roaster. Note that the rocking chair is locked to the building so no one can steal it!

I love the bright colors of Brewstock's pressed tin ceiling and the red door outside.

Look at those bruised-up legs! Our pediatrician tried to make me feel better about it by saying it's a sign of a child who spends a lot of time playing outside.

Our next stop was the coffee shop Velvet, recommended by the guys at Brewstock, on the corner of Arabella and Magazine.  New Orleans has a great coffee culture. It's one of the things I really miss about home. The city's love affair with java runs deep. According to the food blog The Plate, New Orleans is said to have had almost 200 coffeehouses in the mid-1800′s. Velvet did not disappoint. I saw later that The Plate included it on their list of the five coolest coffeehouses in the city. Now I'm eager to check out the other four!

Look at that beautiful crema!

While we were sitting outside of Velvet, we ran into my high school friend Jonah Freedman and his daughter Sierra. Turns out he lives in the the neighborhood. It had been years since I'd seen him, so it was a pleasant surprise.

Strolling down Magazine Street on our way to lunch at Gott Gourmet. Their shrimp BLT wrap is divine.

This is what our child looks like after her grandparents spoil her with sugar. She was jumping up and down on the seat.

Sharing gelato with Pawpaw and entertaining Grannie B at Sucre, a sweet little Magazine Street cafe I always visit when I'm home. Their white chocolate lavender hot chocolate is one of my favorite drinks on the menu. It sounds sickeningly sweet, but it's not. It's really smooth and delightful. It's perfect for a crisp fall or winter day.

Pure happiness

Enjoying some downtime in Kiki and Dennis' courtyard. They've created such a beautiful little sanctuary back here. It's filled with lush greenery and something lovely to look at in every direction.

No summer trip to New Orleans is complete without a stop at Hansen's for a snowball. Hansen's Sno-Bliz was started by Ernest and Mary Hansen in 1939 and is now owned and operated by their granddaughter Ashley. Ernest invented the first ice shaving machine and Mary created her own flavored syrups. The walls look like they've stayed the same for decades.

Our trip to Lafayette Cemetery No 1 was much too quick. I was only able to take a couple of shots before the gates were about to close. I'm captivated by the beauty of this place. I love the ferns that grow through cracks in the crypts and the bricks that peek out under layers of crumbling plaster. Everything is rich with texture. It's a visual feast that never grows old.

We can't leave the city without picking up a few new records at Louisiana Music Factory.

Evangeline was excited to water the plants in Kiki and Dennis' courtyard. Here are a few shots of this very special place. I love all of the plants that grow in this humid subtropical climate. Of course, my mom is envious of the hydrangeas we can grow up here, but Eamon and I just  love the beautiful ferns that thrive in this zone.

Fern trees!

Inspired by this background of beautiful live oaks, I made Eamon pose for a portrait.

We wanted to take Evangeline to Storyland in City Park, left, but it was closed, so we headed to Danneel Playground instead.  I think we visited this playground almost every day during our trip. Evangeline loved it. Most of the equipment was age-appropriate for her, so we were able to sit back and watch her have fun.

We celebrated Kiki's 60th birthday during our visit. We started the day with brunch at Surrey's in the Lower Garden District. The shrimp and grits is my favorite dish on the menu.

I enjoy seeing my mom's look of love here as she and Evangeline share a cupcake.

This wild animal is ready for a motorcycle ride.

What's better than yellow cake with chocolate frosting?

When we returned home, she didn't waste any time before putting on her gardening gloves and heading out to her playhouse.