After a very LONG couple of flights back, we are home from vacation. Long because Baby Gingy doesn't like the little pilot's light that says she has to stay in her car seat for 90% of the flight.  And home because all vacations must end sooner or later.

New Orleans was an amazing place to me. Here are some of the mental postcards of our adventures.

We witnessed an incredible place where our history had only come alive before in history books and movies.

The oldest cemetery in New Orleans and the oldest I had ever been in PERIOD.

The park where slaves would gather for leisure on Sundays and the plantations where they toiled and struggled and lived and died.

Voodoo shops that taught me that Voodoo is a religion with much in common with my own Catholicism. A religion that isn't the dark and sinister crime that the old film noir movies portrayed it to be.

A carriage ride through the French Quarter that gave you a close glimpse of what these dwellings must have been like to live in hundreds of years ago.

Mardi Gras parades that weren't like anything you see on Girls Gone Wild (thankfully) where families could gather for old fashioned marching bands, costumes, and good cheer and positive energy.

The amazing juxtaposition between the historic French Quarter and skyscrapers that towered into the sky of modernity.

Alligator meat (yum yum, at least to me), zests and flavors my taste buds had never tried before. Some of the best food I have ever eaten. Not only the fancy fare at Emeril's NOLA restaurant, but the polish sausage from the street vendor actually beat out the best I had tried in New York (sorry).

The places the locals, dead and alive, like to frequent--and avoid. The ghost tour was chilling and exciting.

How weather can change dozens of degrees in one day. How a nail pounding rain can turn into parting clouds and crisp blue sky.

Swamp land was just as beautiful and as mysterious and as creepy as I always hoped and knew it would be.

How a hand crafted, personally signed Mardi Gras mask is worth the price over the junk the tourist shops sell you. Especially if you want something to hang on your wall with pride, not just something to wear during drunken stupors.

The people of Louisiana are some of the kindest and gentlest people I have encountered on my journey across this great land of ours.

And how I can't wait to return to the incredible and sad and happy and tragic and wonderful city that is New Orleans. It is like nowhere else. The spirit of it came home with us.

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