I know you have all been waiting on egg shells for the Return to New Orleans 😉 My deepest apologies. So, we returned to New Orleans in October of 2006 to work another convention for Justin’s job, although this time I had to earn my keep. We were pretty lucky that Justin’s first job allowed me to tag along and work the convention booths alongside him in return for an all expense paid trip. Hard to beat free travel! And I was more than delighted to have the opportunity to return to New Orleans after falling so in love with it the previous year.This time around I came fully equipped with my brand new, first ever, digital SLR. I did however feel the need to shoot in black and white which I now regret. Lessons learned. And it was cloudy pretty much the entire time we were there so the pictures are a bit blah. But it was pretty great to be able to break in my new camera in such a beautiful city!This is the oldest bar in America. That’s one of the things I love about New Orleans. There’s lots of “Oldest in Americas” to be seen, which makes the history nut in me very happy. Some day I will go to Europe and all this will look young, But for the US, it’s pretty darn old.Justin and I headed down a day early so that we could get a little tourist action in before heading to work. The first day we headed to the French Market (which was much quieter than the year before thanks to Katrina, as was most of the French Quarter which was just starting to come back at that point), wandered around the French Quarter, had some beignets at Cafe du Monde, (an absolute must, so delicious!), and then headed to the zoo.The New Orleans zoo is to this day the coolest zoo I have ever been to, and I’ve been to a lot of zoos. I honestly had no idea how great it was till we went and were totally blown away at how it felt like you were just wandering through a jungle filled with amazing animals. I finally got to see a jaguar!(This feels like just yesterday but we look so young!)I love the trees in New Orleans and the park surrounding the zoo was filled with them. They had a sign there that showed a timeline of the trees lives and all that they had lived through, from the Native Americans, through the Civil War, all the way to today. The next day we were joined by Justin’s coworker, and I, being the tourist guide that I am, steered the boys towards the Lafayette Cemetery for a tour. This cemetery is located in the Garden District and is absolutely beautiful. Several movies have been filmed in this cemetery, including Interview with a Vampire. Our tour guide had actually worked with the crew during the movie and shared a little story about a certain actor married to a Ms. Holmes who behaved rather badly while on set. I knew that guy was crazy!The mausoleums here are so beautiful but many of them have fallen into disrepair. Once upon a time, everyone would gather in the cemetery on the Day of the Dead/All Saints Day/Day after Halloween to care for their family mausoleum. It was a day of celebration of lost loved ones, and it was an important ritual because the structures depended on the yearly care to maintain their appearances. The tradition has been forgotten for the most part though and the historical society cannot legally care for the mausoleums without the family’s permission. Finding the mausoleum’s owners can mean searching back over a hundred years, so as you can imagine, some of them sit untouched. See now, you didn’t think I’d let you go without a history lesson now did you?On our way back we walked through the Garden District and admired all the beautiful old houses. The boys entertained themselves while I snapped away and imagined myself in the Antebellum South. Yep, a history nerd. Through and through. We finished up our afternoon of tourism with lunch at the Redfish Grill. If you are ever in New Orleans, eat there. You will thank me.The rest of our time there was spent working and hanging out with the doctors who worked with Justin’s company. We did however manage to squeeze in a Haunted History Tour, which was heavy on the history, light on the haunted, just like I like it. The tour ended up being absolutely fascinating, filled with all kinds of stories that I never would have learned any other way. Along the tour we walked by the amazing sight of this silhouette of a statue of Jesus. Before Katrina, this picture didn’t exist because the area was filled with trees. After Katrina, it is a jaw dropping sight. A beautiful example of God making something beautiful out of something heartbreaking.