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Imperfectly Perfect


Spontaneity can add an extra level of fun when adventuring with kids in New Orleans.


New Orleans is a culture-rich city, full of fun and adventure at every turn. From parading to parks to scooters on the boardwalk, life in this city is a blast — if you get out there! Before kids, it was easy to explore the city. Date nights at new restaurants were a breeze. Spontaneity came easily. Now, with four children in tow, everything needs to be planned and prepared. Just thinking about heading out the door seems like a chore. Diaper bags, strollers, snacks … so much to pack for an hour out and about. What if someone has a meltdown? What if the baby poops or the toddler has to potty? What if the big kids get tired of walking? What if it rains? Taking kids out is just complicated. But does it have to be?

Last weekend, with no planning or thought whatsoever, I threw the kids in the minivan and headed downtown. I had one diaper in my purse and packed no snacks. I didn’t bring a stroller. I had no idea what we were going to do. I just knew I wanted to adventure. I parked in the CBD where I work and got all four kids, ages 18 months to 9 years old, out of the car.

Once out, we grabbed hands and just started walking. We caught Pokémon. We visited parks and statues. We ran through courtyards. We found random white roses on the sidewalk and practiced our balance on half-walls. We admired art hung on the fences and heard street performers play music in the French Quarter. We indulged in sweet-corn cookies at Stumptown Coffee at the Ace Hotel. We stood on the corner and waved at the people on the streetcar. We smiled, and laughed and soaked it all in.

Was it all fun and joy and perfection? Absolutely not. The baby did poop, and I used that one diaper to change her in the grass by the courthouse while the big kids corralled the toddler. The toddler threw herself on the floor at Stumptown and tore up her white rose for no apparent reason. The baby climbed over a sleeping human on the steps of the statue at Lafayette Square, and I thought we were in for it — but nope, not a sound. The big kids found a Mardi Gras football on the walk, and threw it back and forth for hours, and eventually into a puddle of … well I’m not sure, which resulted in a struggle about why we couldn’t touch it now.

But you know what? It was worth it. The adventure we had far outweighed the collective 15 minutes of stress. We spent an afternoon making memories in a city that has so much to share. Letting go of the anxiety over what scary things could happen might just have resulted in one of the best afternoons ever. So get out there. Take your family adventuring. Be spontaneous. Set your expectations low, and trust this city to entertain you — because it will.