As you have probably figured out we are huge fans of having a Bucket List. Not only do we have a Bucket List for trips and places we want to go. But we also have one for each trip. Once we decide where we are going we ask each person going on the trip what is the one thing that you really want to do on this trip. Which is how we ended up spending one of our days in New Orleans with Cajun Encounters! A Swamp tour was a must for Pop!
We started our morning early headed out of the city for the day. I don’t know about your family but for ours, if you are traveling anywhere in the south you MUST stop and eat breakfast at least once at a Waffle House! It is just one of those Southern Icons that you just can’t pass up on. So our day started out at the Waffle House on the way to Slidell, Louisianna.
After breakfast, we finished our 45 minute trip from town to Cajun Encounters for our Honey Island Swamp Tour. We had purchased our tickets in advance on Groupon and got a great deal that not only included our swamp tour but each of us received a $10.00 Gift Certificate to the gift shop. (I check Groupon all the time for deals not only locally but also place we plan to travel in the near future). (TIP! If you have the Ebates app you get cash pack on your purchases with Groupon) Sign-up here for it and start getting money back! Using this method, I got $5.00 per ticket, plus the $10.00 gift certificate, and 3% cash back on Ebates. Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!
Once we arrived and checked in we were all given colored bracelets and told to use the restrooms. As once on the boats, there is nowhere to stop for a bathroom break. We met our Boat captain who directed us to our boat for the trip. Once all seated and safety issues we set out to tour the swamps. As our Captian talked we realized we were there the wrong time of year to see many Alligators (insert sad face). In the fall they spend most of their time underwater.
The girls have spent probably over half their life on the water. Matter of fact SJ was only 5 days old the first time we took her to the lake for the day. She has been a water bug ever since. So it was quite comical to us that the entire rest of the boat got super excited every time we saw a turtle. I mean they went home with thousands of pictures of turtles. They kept asking the guide to turn around or stop so we could take pictures. When we just wanted to see an Alligator. We did love our unofficial tour guide who told us all about swamp living. (As loud as he possibly could!)
Needless to say, we very much enjoyed seeing how real swamp people live. Most have no electricity as this area was heavily damaged by Hurricane Katrina. Although some of them never had it to begin with. Each of these houses actually had people living in them at least part-time. Now Pop could do this, me nope not at all I would be too worried about snakes.
I would have no problem with an Alligator on my front porch but put a 2-foot snake out there and I would have a heart attack…
We did get to see one little bitty Alligator he/she was very cute and help make our trip complete.
Believe it or not, the turtle people didn’t really seem to care about the Alligator so we got him all to ourselves. The last stop on our swam tour was where a heard or pack (not really sure how they would be classified) of wild hogs lived.
The wild pigs love the tour boats. They come running as soon as they hear you coming. The guides have named each of them. Pepper, Oreo, Pot Roast, and Kevin (never got the story why he got named Kevin I am sure it is a good one) are very entertaining! Cajun Encounters feed healthy snacks to get them to come closer to the boats. We actually thought Kevin was going to jump right on the Blonds lap for a minute.
All in all the swamp tour with Cajun Encounters was worth every penny. We bought a few gifts from the gift shop with our gift certificates and some local sodas to try. Had our Picture taken with the life-size Alligator(See above) then headed back to town to hit up one of my New
Orleans Bucket List Items.
I had heard about Melba’s several years ago. My old boss had moved to New Orleans and sent me a picture of their sign one day. So soon as we made the plans to go on this trip, I added Eat at Melba’s to our trip list.
It is a cool little restaurant with a great story. Melba’s is located in the area that was hardest hit by Hurricane Katrina. Their whole story about how they changed their focus and business plan. How they help their local community is listed on their website and in the seating area. Very uplifting and makes you want to eat there every day to continue the good work.
Each person orders for themselves and they take your name. Well as soon as I said Melba all of the employees said Welcome to Melba’s Melba. Then since I had my ID with me proving my name I got my meal for free. I had the shrimp Po’Boy and one of their Dauquries with a free shot of Rum because it was Thursday!
All of our food was amazing and authentic Cajun food. Very reasonable in pricing also. Our girls Love cajun food so we tried the Cajun Chicken, Gumbo, and Jambalaya. It may have been the best they had tried on our trip. The seating room has an eclectic feel to it. Everything was clean and comfortable.
They also had several different souvenirs available for purchase. I, of course, had to get one the handmade coffee cups. Now each day when I have coffee at work it reminds me of a fabulous day on the bayou with our family checking more things off our Bucket List together! Always One of my favorite Stops!