For our fifth consecutive year, we celebrated Thanksgiving at the campground! This year, we headed to Bayou Segnette State Park in Louisiana to serve as our base camp for visiting NOLA!
Bayou Segnette State Park in Westwego was our destination this year. This was an easy location less than 30 minutes from the French Quarter across the Mississippi River from NOLA. The campground was a figure eight with a couple decent bathhouses and boardwalks providing shortcuts from the campsites to the bathhouse. There were a couple playgrounds around the campground as well. Our site was a large asphalt with a wooden deck, picnic table, and fire pit. We had a lot of grass for the kids to play.
Some of our party stayed in the park’s cabins. These cabins were floating on the bayou with great water views, making Bayou Segnette a great option for our party or campers and non-campers.
We did have a couple concerns that are more concerns of camping in a swampy area verses the park specifically. One was mosquitoes. Although it was late November, we were surprised to be bitten up by bugs. We didn’t have a bug room nor spray, so we instead fought them off with a campfire. Two was the weather. Again it was late November and we were surprised how damp and humid it was. It rained the first day and was warm but humid and damp for the remainder of the trip. Leaving Illinois in November where we had already had a snow day, we just weren't prepared for the bugs and humidity. We will know what to expect next time.
We’d considered using public transportation to access the city. Typically a ferry runs from near the campground to the French Quarter. Tickets that allow riding the ferry, trolley, and bus are affordable, however the ferry wasn’t running during our visit. We decided to drive and pay to park, which was fine.
We visited Jean Lafitte National Preserve for a Ranger-led hike. The park is named after the French pirate/privateer in the Gulf of Mexico. The weather didn’t cooperate for the Ranger hike, so we instead waited the rain out and did our own forest, swamp, and marsh hike.
After our hike, we wanted to get a feel for NOLA and drove through the French Quarter, Bourbon Street, and Canal Street. Our goal was to spot a good spot to pop in for lunch. We quickly decided that wasn’t going to work, resolved to not cruise the heavy populated district again, and detoured to Whole Foods for lunch. After listening to podcasts and researching on the drive, we tried Frank and Johnnies to get a feel for NOLA dining. A few of us would regret the tasty red beans and rice as we had a five mile race scheduled for Thanksgiving morning.
Our non-traditional Thanksgiving Day is beginning to have traditions of its own. This was our fifth consecutive Thanksgiving at the campground and the third of the last four to start with a Turkey Trot. We found the 112th Annual Turkey Day Race in City Park. The five mile race was all within beautiful City Park and concluded with a NOLA twist - a lot of complementary beer and Wild Turkey Old Fashions.
That afternoon we found lunch in French Market. We had N'awlins Cafe and Holy Crepes. Our family shared the Sea Platter and Swamp Platter, all of it tasty. Next we headed on our quest to find a good cup of coffee in the French Quarter. The line was far too long at Cafe Du Monde, so we walked to Who Dat Cafe which was closed for the holiday. On the way back, we found Envie Coffee, which was very good.
Friday morning we headed back to the Quarter to join a bike tour. We found parking easily in the garage at the Canal Street Mall. Our bike tour was booked through Fat Tire Bike Tours which took us through six neighborhoods, City Park, St Louis Cemetery. Our guide gave us a great tour of the city and we learned far more history, lore, and tips that we could have possibly come up with on our own.
From the Quarter, we easily walked to Bamboulas on Frenchman Street for live music, drinks, and lunch. We enjoyed the afternoon walking the shops and the market, had a caffeine boost at PJs Coffee, and enjoyed great people watching. Heading back into the garage to head back to the campground, we were surprised to see a parking boot on the 4Runner. We’d made an error buying our parking spot, but was able to call and attendant and get it resolved and removed fairly easily.
For our last full day, we planned to ride the Hop On, Hop Off Bus. Instead we made a last minute exchange of our tickets on Groupon To visit the National World War II Museum. We were pleased we could easily, and without fees, make this exchange. Groupon may be our future go-to for buying ticketed experiences for the times when our plans change. We were so pleased with our choice to move the tickets to the WWII museum. We loved the artifacts, the stories told, the vividness of the displays, and the overall depiction of the war. Everything about the National World War II Museum made for an amazing and powerful day.
Thanksgiving 2019 in NOLA was a memorable experience for our family. Now the big question, what to do for Thanksgiving 2020?
Shane and Jessica
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