time of year
Jean Lafitte National Historic Park and Preserve, Jefferson Parish, Merrero, LA
The visitors center Palmetto Boardwalk Trail (0.2 miles out and back). It’s too cold to see alligators but it was a nice, peaceful walk through nature. One interesting note is that many of the preserves we’ve visited are outside the levees and are actually also part of what protects the developed areas from storm surges.
Joe’s Cafe Coffee and Donuts, Marrero, LA
for coffee and a buttermilk donut.
We went back to the French Quarter
to get Pralines from Loretta’s Authentic Pralines. Loretta was the first African American woman to successfully own and operate her own praline company in New Orleans. We chose an original and a coconut. Pure sugary goodness.
Walking back to the car we stopped in at the Ayu Bakehouse
and bought a slice of King Cake with cream cheese and a Chive and Parmesan biscuit. They were good but if you’re only going to try one flavor of King Cake, definitely go for the Praline. They have an open window from the street into the kitchen inspired by the area’s street performers. Ayu “pays homage to local flavors through the lens of a baker.” You can tell they take pride in the quality and creativity of their food.
For lunch we went back to Dong Phoung Bakery
Yep, it’s that good. We got the BBQ Pate Chaud and another Bahn Mi and split a praline for dessert.
We’ve had a great time exploring the New Orleans that isn’t typically shown by others
Now it’s time to leave New Orleans and start heading East along the Gulf.
We stopped to visit Fishbone Alley in Gulfport, MS
Originally a utility alley, the city envisioned a place that encouraged people to interact and enjoy the space. They redesigned it using pavers from 1908 uncovered during the downturn infrastructure restoration post Katrina. Artists from all over the coast have been invited to “leave their mark” in the alley, with murals, panels and the shutter program. The Call to Artists is an on ongoing program utilizing the organic nature of the alley through the eyes of our community.
We checked in to Baymont by Windam, Biloxi/Ocean Springs, MS
($65/night). Just a few miles inland and it’s almost $100 cheaper a night). We dropped off our bags and headed out to explore.
We went to see the Biloxi Lighthouse and stop in the visitors center to learn about the area
I was surprised to see a number of homeless people hanging around the immediate area. Across the road is a statue of Fred Haise, an Apollo 13 astronaut and hometown hero standing on a base modeled after the Saturn V rocket.
We made a quick visit to the Golden Nugget Casino, Biloxi, MS
so we could say that we’ve gambled in Biloxi. We won $0.20 and lost $0.80.
We drove to Ocean Springs, MS
to walk the town and find dinner. A vibrant and eclectic community, home to numerous galleries, artist studios and restaurants. It’s Saturday night and there’s a very “night on the town” vibe in the historic downtown. We settled on Glory Bound Gyro Co., an upscale restaurant and bar, and took our food back to the hotel to eat. They were really good, definitely a place we’d return to.
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