Day -1

The day before the cruise, my wife’s 40th birthday, we made the uneventful 8-hour drive to New Orleans. There was a marathon in town, selling out a lot of the places offering a cruise parking package. We decided on a 2-bedroom unit at TownePlace Suites New Orleans Metairie for $189 a night. We’ve traveled plenty of times with the boys, and while a single room works, we get much better sleep with a door between the two of us.

Thanks to a leisurely start from Arkansas, we arrived at the hotel around 6:30 pm. The front desk clerk frowned at the room list for a minute and then said, “I’m sorry, but we sold out of the type of room you requested. What they did for you was give you two 1-bedroom rooms that adjoin. The whole thing will cost $20 less, is that OK?” I try to stay calm when things don’t go right, but there was no downside to their mistake. We wound up with more space for less money and still got a door between us at bedtime.

Naturally we were hungry, so we started the food search. The hotel is right next to a Popeye’s (tempting) and near a shopping center with restaurants, but we wanted something more local. I fired up Yelp and in no time was reading a review about Short Stop Po-Boys. Although the restaurant was about 2 miles away as the crow flies, we had to circumnavigate the train depot and whatever else was separating us, resulting in a 10-minute trip with traffic.

Short Stop was just what the doctor ordered. They have a good variety of po-boys, from catfish to sausage to poutine (fries and gravy–on a sub!). The ordering process is a bit different. You stand around until one of the cooks is ready, they call you up and you place your order. They don’t want to check you out until your whole order is done, so you stand there watching them put your order together and then go pay. We ordered a catfish for my wife, one for the boys to split and a crayfish for me. The sandwiches took a while to prepare, but they were delicious. My wife’s originally from the region and gave it a hearty thumbs up!

After supper we were almost back to the hotel when I spotted a Baskin Robbins. We celebrated DW’s 40th birthday a week early with cake, but it seemed strange not to do something on the actual day. Normally I would have fired up Yelp again to find a local dessert place, but we were tired and my wife never says no to BR!

I was so excited I had a hard time going to sleep, but eventually I drifted off until our 5-year-old came in from the other room at 5. The kids don’t get to come in our room on normal nights, but when traveling the little one gets to come sleep with us because he’ll usually sleep a few hours more than he would on his own. Tomorrow, the cruise I’ve been planning since July is finally here!