On May 3, 2014, Susan and I attended the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival for the first time. We went with three friends: Maria, Julie and Jon. Maria asked us to go because she wanted to see Bruce Springsteen. Although we are not Springsteen fans, we knew the festival would be fun.
We arrived in New Orleans on the Friday before. We just hung around the French Quarter for the first night. Maria and Julie had a tarot card reading.
The next morning, we got an early start and headed to the festival. To the right, is Susan and I as we entered the festival. The festival opened at 11. We got there about 12:30, just in time to sample some of the traditional New Orleans food.
The festival is the largest one we have ever attended. We might have seen half of it in the one day we were there. Susan was excited to see a pow wow that was hosted by several different Indian nations. The photograph to the left is Susan with the Indians after the pow wow.
We were not able to see Springsteen. We got to the stage too late. It was packed. We did get to see Better than Ezra and Foster the People. We enjoyed both concerts.
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On February 2, 2014, Mike returned to New Orleans to run the Mardi Gras Marathon. This race was the first marathon Mike ran in 2011. Several of Mike’s family members (two uncles, an aunt, his mom and Aaron) ran the half marathon. To the right is a picture of everyone at the expo the day before the race.
Mike had a goal to of 3:40. The weather was quite a bit hotter than he was hoping for. It was also very foggy. When running through the French Quarter, there were areas where there was about 50′ of visibility. It was almost surreal. Phil and Susan cheered for everyone doing the race. This was Mike’s mom’s fourth year doing the half marathon!
Mike finished the race in 3:47. He shaved off two minutes from his previous personal best. Mike has shaved off 45 minutes since his first marathon in 2011! Shortly after the race, Mike signed up to run the Miami Marathon in January 2015. Maybe a 3:40 will be doable. Then again, it will probably be quite hot at that race too.
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On January 11, 2013, we traveled to New Orleans to witness a reenactment of the Battle of New Orleans. The reenactment took place on the original battlefield, which happens to be about a mile from where Mike’s mom lives. The following morning we went to the Chalmette Battlefield to view several demonstrations related to the Battle of New Orleans. The weekend was very informative. Susan was probably the most excited since it is a topic that she teaches in fifth grade. The photograph is a cannon demonstration. Click on the photograph to view the entire album.
During the first weekend in February 2012, we traveled to New Orleans. Originally, we were planned to go to New Orleans to see the Red Hot Chilli Peppers in concert. However, the concert was cancelled because the lead singer had to undergo surgery. We decided to still make the trip. Our friends Erik and Shannon joined us. On Saturday night we went to two Mardi Gras parades that were in the French Quarter. The parades were quite short and threw few things. We were disappointed with the parades to say the least. We took a horse carriage ride around the French Quarter, which was the highlight of our trip. The carriage was actually pulled by a mule though. The photograph on the right is Mike and Susan after they ate dinner at the Crazy Lobster. The restaurant was on the Mississippi River. Click on the photograph to view the entire gallery.
On August 13, 2011, Mike and Susan attended their first red dress run. The run was hosted by the New Orleans Hash Harriers. Everyone was required to wear red dresses, including the men, to participate. The event started at Washington Square, which was near the French Quarter. Thousands of people attended the event. There were several bands, all you could drink beer and BBQ was catered. The funny part about the run, was that there was no run. At least that we saw. There was just a mass exit to Bourbon Street toward the end of the event. Click on the image to view the entire gallery of photographs.
On February 13, 2011, Mike ran his first marathon (26.2 miles). Mike chose the Mardi Gras Marathon to be his first marathon. The marathon was held in New Orleans, LA, where Mike’s mom lives. Mike was able to con his mom into running the half marathon (13.1 miles). Mike and Susan stayed in a historic hotel, the Le Pavilion, near the French Quarter. The hotel was very nice. Mike and Susan’s niece, Nicole, drove from Montgomery to cheer Mike on. This was Nicole’s first time in New Orleans. Susan took some time on Saturday to show her around the French Quarter.
This was the largest run Michael ever participated in. Mike was amazed at the expo. Mike’s mom got a gait analysis for the first time. She learned she was wearing the wrong type shoe. Brian and Aaron enjoyed playing the games at the expo. Both of the boys won Brooks pillow shoes and medals. The lower photograph is Brian and Aaron at the expo with some of their winnings.
The morning of the run, Mike walked to the start line from the hotel. UPS trucks took care of the gear check. Mike was in corral eight. Mike’s mom was in corral 22. Mike streamed his run via Runkeeper. Two of Mike’s friends and Susan watched Mike’s progress on the Internet. Mike was able to see Susan, Nicole, Brian and Aaron at the start, half way point and the finish line. At mile 15 Mike hit the dreaded wall and started to slow from his 8:30 pace. At mile 23, Mike’s calves cramped and he was unable to run for long periods. Mike alternated between walking and running during miles 23 through 25. At mile 25 Mike was able to pick up a slow pace all the way to the finish line. Mike finished in 4 hours and 33 minutes. Mike hoped to complete the marathon in 4 hours or less. Mike’s mom had knee pain around mile 3. She completed the half marathon in 3 hours 23 minutes. Mike’s mom actually completed seven minutes earlier than she estimated she would.
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The week of Christmas 2010, we traveled to New Orleans, LA, to visit with Mike’s mom and step dad. We walked around the French Quarter to witness Christmas in New Orleans. We stopped at a hotel that was decorated real nice. We also went to Christmas on Fulton Street. Harrah’s Casino decorates the street with Christmas trees, lights and fake snow. We also went to a concert that was held in the St. Louis Cathedral. The next day we went to a cooking demonstration in the French Quarter. We visited the Katrina Museum, which was breathtaking. For lunch we ate gyros near Bourbon Street. We capped off the visit with a nice ham dinner prepared by Mike’s mom. The photograph on the right is of everyone in a French Quarter hotel.
After a busy three days in New Orleans we returned home to celebrate Christmas. We had a quite Christmas celebration with just the four of us. On Christmas morning Brian and Aaron woke up around one in the morning. Susan got up and chased them back to bed. This Christmas was the biggest yet for the boys. Brian received a Macbook and Aaron received a 32″ LCD television for his room. Mike’s present was probably the best of all. Mike got four tickets to the Chick Fil A Bowl, which FSU was playing in. Susan would probably argue her present was the best though. She received a new Mazda 6 unexpectedly. The Mazda will replace the Honda she has been driving since 1998. The photograph on the left is of Mike and Susan Christmas morning.
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We enjoyed Mardi Gras in New Orleans so much in 2009, that we decided to go back to New Orleans for Mardi Gras 2010. This year, Mardi Gras fell between Susan and the boys’ birthdays. The weather was very cold in New Orleans for the parades. Our friend Maria went with us to New Orleans. Maria works with Mike. She lived in New Orleans for several years. She was looking forward to seeing some of the parades she saw as a child. Mike, Susan and Maria went to one of the night parades on Canal Street. The girls got cold and went back to the hotel room early. Mike stayed for the last parade of the night. During the parade Mike caught a mask, a deck of cards and a set of plastic cups. On the right is a photograph of Mike, Susan and Maria at the Friday night parade.
On Saturday, we met Mike’s Mom and step dad at a day parade. Mike’s mom was watching Brian and Aaron. We all attended the Krewe of Endymion parade. The president of the New Orleans Saints was in the parade. Many of the parades were celebrating the Saints win in the Super Bowl. After the day parade, Mike, Susan and Maria headed to Bourbon Street. Maria met several of her friends that traveled from out of town. We enjoyed another Mardi Gras celebration in New Orleans. The photograph on the left is Mike and Susan at the Krewe of Endymion parade.
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On October 28, 2009, Mike and three of his friends (Dan, Maria and Jessica) went to New Orleans to see ACDC in concert. Susan was unable to make this concert because it was during the week and she had to work. This was Mike’s third concert during the month of October. The concert was held at the New Orleans Hornets’ Stadium. After the concert Mike and his friends headed to Bourbon Street for a few drinks. They went to a bar called Boondock Saints, which is supposedly owned by a retired New Orleans police officer. Here is a photograph of Dan and Mike right before the concert. Click on the photograph to view the entire gallery.
Mardi Gras 2009 was our first Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Mike and Susan have experienced Mardi Gras in Pensacola and Mobile, but never in New Orleans. So this year, we visited Mike’s mom in New Orleans on the weekend before Fat Tuesday. We went to one night parade and two Saturday parades. The parade were held on February 20th and 21st. Kid Rock was a celebrity guest of Krewe of Endymion. The parades were the best we have seen. The floats were well done. Tractors pulled the floats, instead of trucks. Mike and Susan also visited Bourbon street to witness the chaos of the after party. We ran into one of our Pensile friends, Ricky. Here is a photograph of Susan and Brian at the Saturday parade. Click on the photograph to view the entire gallery.