A Comment By Joe Lee III
If you are looking for a fun weekend that does not have to cost an arm and a leg, take your kids or grandkids to New Orleans on the train.
We went down early on Saturday morning and came back Sunday afternoon. A round-trip ticket cost $80 per person from Greenwood to the “Big Easy” on the famed “City of New Orleans.” The view from the observation car, and even the regular seat during the 6.5 hour trip is excellent.
We packed a lunch going down and ate it on the train. On the northbound trip we picked up Subway sandwiches at the New Orleans station before hopping on the train.
There is a good snack bar on the train, as well as a full service dining car, so you won’t go hungry!
As far as the hotel cost — your choice runs the gambit of not too expensive to whatever you want to pay.
In our case we redeemed some Hilton points, so the price was just right!
We were going to the Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium immediately upon arrival Saturday afternoon, but the train was late, so we missed it.
The BOH, always a master of “Plan B,” promptly trooped us down to Acme Oyster House.
The line was long — as usual — but the grandson cheered up when I arrived with three strands of beads and a big, fat hot dog from the corner vendor.
(I refuse to divulge what I had to do to get those beads!)
Once in Acme, the Boss of the House was in charge! Crab claw appetizers … I forgot what else.
I had the charbroiled oysters for my main course. Delicious.
Grandson Beau got a kick out of riding the three-wheel pedal taxi back to the hotel to swim in the hotel pool, and his room had a giant Jacuzzi, which he put to good use.
About six o’clock Sunday morning, I bought a Times Picayune and headed to Cafe Du Monde. The interior stays open all night, but the patio does not officially open until 8 a.m.
If you wait until eight o’clock, you likely won’t get a table on the patio without a long wait, so it’s not unusual to see folks like this writer taking the stacked chairs off the tables and staking a good spot on the patio around 6:30 or 7:00.
By 9 o’clock, when the rest of my lazy bunch arrived, I had consumed two orange juices, two chicory coffees and three biegnets complete with about a quarter of a pound of powdered sugar.
By this time, the man who makes the balloon hats was was in full swing, as was a great three-piece jazz band. It was fun — even for an eight-year-old.
Speaking of fun, the BOH had the rest of the lightning-fast trip planned. As soon as it opened we arrived at the Aquarium. Terrific.
Just inside the building you walk though a glass archway, where you are surrounded by all kinds of sea life to your right, left, and overhead.
A diver was feeding stingrays broccoli. They were really putting on a show. As far as putting on a show — the penguins and the otters were no slouches.
There is a lot more to do in “The Big Easy,” including the WWII Museum, a top notch zoo, short and long riverboat excursions, and fun trolly rides, but our schedule did not allow us to visit those — we were trying to concentrate on what an eight-year-old would like most on our tight schedule.
Our schedule was helped greatly by former Grenadian Melinda Hall Mallery. She and the BOH have been planning the logistics of the trip via phone and e-mail for weeks.
There are a number of hotels within easy walking distance of the museums — the Hilton Riverside, the Westin, the Doubletree, and others.
Taxis are pretty easy to come by, also.
We plan to do it again.
One concern — you might want to make arrangements for someone to take you to the train station. If you leave from Greenwood, it is probably not a good idea to leave the car there. I am not familiar with the Memphis station parking. It may be OK. There is no Amtrak stop between Greenwood and Memphis.
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This is incredible video about a family cat attacking a dog who was attacking a young child.
The cat and the child won!