New Orleans trip, in photos

Our trip to New Orleans was so much fun, I don’t know where to start. I think I’ll let the pictures do the writing for me.

Catie in her princess dress that Mimi made
If you need a custom-made princess dress, it’s good to have a Mimi who knows how to sew. (Also included: silver sparkly headband-crown, which you can’t really see in this picture because of the light.)

Two of the nights that we were in town, we went to my cousin Ryan and his wife Theresa’s house, who generously hosted a dinner/family reunion/hanging-out-talking-for-hours thing. That was a lot of fun, since they have kids close to Catie’s age, so she had a fantastic time playing with her cousins (and their toys).

Brendan & C.C. smiling for the camera, while Catie's having a very animated phone conversation
This picture cracks me up. Brendan and C.C., two of Catie’s cousins, were happy to smile for my camera, but Catie is totally indifferent and is all, “Whatever, I’m gonna call somebody on this toy phone and have a very animated phone conversation complete with hand gestures.” And, um, I don’t know where she gets that whole talking-with-her-hands thing. *cough* I swear I don’t know anyone in my family who does that. *cough cough*

We were lucky to have gorgeous weather all weekend. On Saturday, a bunch of us went to City Park, which I was hoping to get to take Catie to see.

Oak trees lining City Park
I love the old oak trees in City Park. My aunt Michele said that the oak trees are almost like people, they’re such a part of New Orleans’ identity. I can kind of see what she means. Those oak trees hold a piece of my heart like almost no other part of the city.

The last time I was in New Orleans (June 2006), it was almost a year after Hurricane Katrina, and the train ride around City Park was still destroyed. I was six weeks pregnant with Catie at the time, and I started to cry because I always had this vision of someday taking my kids on the train that I had ridden on when I was little.

In the last few years, they’ve rebuilt City Park to even better than before. Not only is the train ride back, and the carousel has been restored, there’s a small amusement park there as well. It was fantastic.

Catie & me on the carousel

Catie "driving"

Finally, we got on the train.

family train ride!
All aboard!

I’ll be honest, I almost cried. It was so cool to finally get to take Catie on that train, which four years ago, I thought might never happen.

I took a few dozen pictures from the train. Most of them were crap. Then I happened to snap this one, which I didn’t even know was good until I saw it on my computer later.

One of the biggest & oldest oak trees I've ever seen

I want to have it enlarged and framed. I love it that much. And I’m not trying to toot my own horn as a photographer, this one was just a really happy accident. It was taken from a moving train, it’s not like I had time to compose the shot.

On Sunday, we went to the French Quarter.

St. Louis Cathedral
Catie recognized St. Louis Cathedral as “the castle from Princess & the Frog.” I tried to explain that it was a church, not a castle, but… eh. It has spires. I can see how she’d be confused.

The Wilkinsons on Wilkinson Street!
Hey look, it’s the Wilkinsons on Wilkinson Street!

Catie & Mimi share a moment by the Mighty Mississippi
I love this picture of Catie and my mom, the way their heads are tilted toward each other. They have such a great relationship, I love watching them interact.

Flying home yesterday was exhausting, as air travel always is, with or without a toddler. But we’re home, and we’re getting back to normal everyday life now. As nice as it is to be home, though, I am already missing New Orleans. I love that city so much.