A visit at Bissonet Plaza Elementary School & lessons in crawfish eating!

February 10, 2010 in North America, Travelogue, United States


Gabe & his beads

The first sound I heard this morning, before I even opened my eyes was the cheerful clack of Mardi Gras beads… a little too cheerful, frankly.  “Mom,” Gabe whispered “I have 136 beads!”  Welcome to New Orleans.


We were moving slow this morning, legs aching a little from the long walk and hours standing on the parade route.  It took us a little longer than normal to marshall the troops and head for the van… only to find our mirrors missing. Yep.  Both sides, the glass pried right out of them.  Welcome to New Orleans.  There’s nothing like a $500 mirror replacement and news that it’s going to take an extra day to really start the day off right… the upside is, it couldn’t get much worse… and it didn’t.


Miss Naugle's fourth grade class

Our morning was spent in the pleasant company of Miss Naugle’s 4th grade class at Bissonet Plaza Elementary School in Metairie, just outside of New Orleans.  The kids enthusiastically greeted us and asked a million questions about life on the road and the places we’ve been so far.  Their favorite pictures were of Tunisia and the places they’d seen in the Star Wars movie.  It did my heart good to see such a bright eyed bunch of kids and a teacher so obviously invested up to her eyeballs in launching them into the great big world ready to change it for the better.  We need more Miss Naugles in our classrooms.



Hannah sucks a bug "like a local"

We wasted the afternoon geo-caching along Lake Ponchartrain and even took a little nap before heading into Kenner to meet perfectly delightful strangers for dinner.  Chris and Holly Johnston and their lovely children took us to their favorite local seafood haunt and introduced us to the fine art of eating crawfish.  There is nothing for an ice breaker like dripping seafood juice from every knuckle and being challenged to “suck the juice out of the head half… like a local!”  They swept us from the crawfish to the parade route for our second consecutive night of bead catching… because 136 strings just isn’t enough!

The Johnston Family

The icing on the cake was, in fact, powdered sugar on the beignets and a string of stories about life in New Orleans, surviving Katrina and what to do with all of those beads when the kids have had all the fun they can stand.  Our favorite part of life is meeting all of the interesting people who cross our paths in different ways as we travel.  The Johnston family is no exception.  They patiently waited through our shifting schedule due to ice storms and the usual delays, and treated us to the evening of a lifetime in the Big Easy, adding themselves to our list of good friends to mail postcards to from far and wide:  Thank you, Chris & Holly… you made our day!


It’s getting late.  The kids powdered sugar caked clothes are whirling in the dryer, and I’m thankful for a $2.00 wash & dry instead of an hour of hand washing.  The kids are asleep, dreaming of sparkly beads and giant jester hats.  Tony is processing today’s video footage.  Tomorrow is our last day in New Orleans; we’ll spend most of it at the Chevy dealership getting those pricey new mirrors replaced.  We’re already planning our return trip, “someday.”  If you get the chance, come for Mardi Gras.