Big Time in the Big Easy

After four days of fun and learning on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi, we said a final goodbye to our favorite lighthouse…

Biloxi Lighthouse, SHSU, LEAP Center, Southern Legislative Conference

…and to the beautiful tree sculptures…

Biloxi Lighthouse, SHSU, LEAP Center, Southern Legislative Conference

…and made our way to New Orleans, on our way home to Texas.

Café Du Monde, by Makayla Mason

As we walked through the interesting streets surrounding the French Quarter, the Leap Ambassadors were excited for the New Orleans culture we were about to experience. We were very tired and quite hungry, so our first stop was a New Orleans favorite: Café Du Monde. Café Du Monde was established in 1862. It is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and only closes on Christmas Day or in the event of a hurricane.

As soon as we sat down, a waiter came hustling up to us. We ordered 12 beignets and hot coffee. For some of us, it was our first time to ever enjoy the famous Café Du Monde beignets and coffee.

SHSU, LEAP Ambassadors, Cafe Du Monde, New Orleans, NOLA

We all enjoyed our delicious treats, maybe even a little too much, based on how much powdered sugar was on our clothing!

SHSU, LEAP Ambassadors, Cafe Du Monde, New Orleans, NOLA

With a great sugar rush, we were ready to explore!

SHSU, LEAP Ambassadors, Cafe Du Monde, New Orleans, NOLA

Exploring New Orleans, by Beatriz Martinez

We strolled along the streets of New Orleans until we reached Jackson Square. Jackson Square is located in the French Quarter and is a historical landmark, the site where Andrew Jackson defended US Territory in the War of 1812.

The cathedral is the third church to be constructed on that site since the year of 1718. Our guide gave us a very thorough tour of the church mentioning facts such as there being b

After taking the photos, we headed inside to tour the St. Louis Cathedral.

NOLA, New Orleans, LEAP Ambassadors, LEAP Center, SHSU, Jackson Square

The cathedral is the third church to be constructed on this site since the year of 1718.

NOLA, New Orleans, LEAP Ambassadors, LEAP Center, SHSU, St. Louis Cathedral

Our guide gave us a very thorough tour of the church, mentioning facts such as there being bodies buried underneath the church, only the three B’s (Bishops, Brides, and Bodies) being allowed through the old front door, and the history behind the mural on the ceiling.

NOLA, New Orleans, LEAP Ambassadors, LEAP Center, SHSU, St. Louis Cathedral

After the captivating rounds, we decided to head down further into the streets of New Orleans to see our favorite dog. The estate of George Rodrigue has a studio located in New Orleans where they exhibit his artwork, many of which sell for us much as $300,000.

NOLA, New Orleans, LEAP Ambassadors, LEAP Center, SHSU, George Rodrigue Studios

As always, there was a variety of Blue Dogs depicted in various scenarios.

NOLA, New Orleans, LEAP Ambassadors, LEAP Center, SHSU, St. Louis Cathedral

Everyone chose their favorite before heading back down to the French Quarter Market.

Among the many vendors in the market there was an assortment of interesting objects: colorful clothing, beaded jewelry, artwork, instruments, and a variety of other knick knacks. Some of the LEAPsters decided to begin their art collection.  Makayla was  captivated by the Weeping Angel statuette and bought several pieces. Interestingly enough, we decided to go look for the sculpture at the Metairie Cemetery, where we found her inside the Hyams mausoleum.

Hyams Cemetery, New Orleans, NOLA, LEAP Ambassador, SHSU

Boucherie, by Christina Perez

Before the Leap Ambassadors headed home, we decided to make one quick stop for lunch. We drove to the pretty, gray house with purple steps called Boucherie.  Makayla and Beatriz tried Boudin balls for the first time and seemed to enjoy it. Of course, if you’re ever in Louisiana that is the perfect thing to try. For our entrees, we each decided to try something new. Ryan got the New Orleans style BBQ Shrimp Po’boy.  During the trip, we drove past Krispy Kreme donut shops in Mississippi. Each time Makayla and Stephanie would look over and explain that when the light was lit up it meant that costumers got a free, hot donut. It was a trip full of activities so we didn’t have a chance to stop but we made up for it at the Boucherie. They had a Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding. Not only did our donut lovers get a treat, but our bread pudding specialists did as well.

Sculpture Garden, by Beatriz Martinez

Our last stop of the day was at the Besthoff Sculpture Garden. There we got to see pieces of our favorite art masters such as the LOVE by Robert Indiana…

NOLA, New Orleans, Besthoff Sculpture Garden, LEAP Ambassadors, LEAP Center, SHSU, Love, Robert Indiana

…Blue Dog by George Rodrigue…

NOLA, New Orleans, Besthoff Sculpture Garden, LEAP Ambassadors, LEAP Center, SHSU, Blue Dog, George Rodrigue

….Spider by Louise Bourgeois…

NOLA, New Orleans, Besthoff Sculpture Garden, LEAP Ambassadors, LEAP Center, SHSU, Spider, Louise Bourgeois

Among the other artwork, there were other very interesting creations. One of which was the Monkeys by Rona Pondick.

NOLA, New Orleans, Besthoff Sculpture Garden, LEAP Ambassadors, LEAP Center, SHSU, Rona Pendick

With their contorted figures and grotesque faces, they made an impression on those who happened to study them as thoroughly as we did. With a last glance at the artwork, we said au revoir to New Orleans and decided to head on home, although we could not resist making a last quick pit stop at Rosetree glass blowing studio.

NOLA.. New Orleans, LEAP Center, SHSU, LEAP Ambassadors, Rosetree Glass Studio

As far as six-day trips go, it was a quick one, with a load of memories, a lot of bonding, and a whole lot of learning.

Southern Legislative Conference, Gulfport MS, LEAP Ambassadors, LEAP Center, SHSU