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It was a weekend to remember.  Ernesto and his brother share the same birthdayNew_Orleans exactly 2 years apart.  Not many mothers can take credit for that bit of mastery!  Not a single year has gone by where they haven’t spent it together.  This year, we wanted to do something different.  I suggested New Orleans.  The Big Easy.  NOLA.  Why not?!  Only a 6 hour drive away and a city rich in history and music.  A sight for folks of any age (sort of).  So off we went.  4th of July weekend.  Sure it wasn’t Mardi Gras…but it’s a guaranteed spectacle any time of the year.  I’d visited Maya_Nola_Brightalmost 20 years ago and a lot has changed since the devastation by Katrina in 2005, but I was curious to reunite with a city that ignites such intrigue.  We spent our first night enjoying an exquisite seafood dinner, then a stroll up and down the streets of the French Quarter.  Bourbon Street never disappoints.  Part of me wonders what kind of parents bring their child to New Orleans??  I looked around, then at Maya.  I wondered what was going through her head as the endless crowds of young college boys, bachelorette party entourages and childless couples filled the blocks looking for the next watering hole to patron.  The city has an alternative vibe.  Anything goes and there are really no boundaries.  Also, crime is high.  So if you choose the wrong corner to cut through to get back to your hotel, you venture at your own risk.  That’s the reality.  My buddy who recently visited was nearly mugged.  Luckily, there are several police officers on horseback at the ready to chase down young hooligans.  We remained cautious while still enjoying the quirkiness that is NOLA.  The peak of Maya’s visit was the charming Café Du Monde which is a popular cash-only 24/7 coffee stand which serves a heaping dish of 3 TO DIE FOR beignets for just over $2.  Our mouths are still savoring these heavenly pastries.  The WWII museum was incredible and wonderfully educational for Maya.  Let’s not forget the swamp tour with Captain Greg.  Who knew alligators loved marshmallows?!  They swam right up to the boat for their sugary treat.  Finally, we finished up the trip with a stop at the famous St. Louis cemetery where all the graves are above ground…borderline eerie yet fascinating at the same time.  So here’s to the Big Easy and all it’s mystique.  There’s something for everyone, no matter what age (and then some).  Cheers to a fabulous birthday weekend and a safe 4th to everyone!Maya & Me Logo