Thursday, September 11, 2014

New Orleans History Field Trip - 2014

We have a homeschool tradition of taking each child on an 8th grade trip to see something that they've studied.  For her 8th grade trip, Miss Ester chose to see all of the French Catholic culture of New Orleans come to life!

We packed in SO much in three days...I'm breaking it into two posts, this one being about the history that we took in.

My girlie and I at the airport waiting for our plane.

We were pretty excited.

After checking into our French Quarter hotel, we walked just 2 short blocks to St. Louis Cathedral, the oldest, functioning Cathedral in the entire United States!

Oh my goodness, the frescoes were just gorgeous!  And the pictures...boy! did we take the pictures.  Here are just a few...

The French arrived in the early 1700's and built three churches on this site.  The first was leveled during a hurricane in September 11, 1722.  The second one was destroyed by the Good Friday fire on March 21, 1788.  This third and final church was dedicated as a Cathedral and put into service on Christmas Eve, 1794.

The walls of this Cathedral have welcomed great heroes such a Andrew Jackson, Zachary Taylor, and St. Pope John Paul II.

(A copy of the Bible that belonged to St. Louis!)

And this next photo is one of my favorites.  My daughter snapped it with my phone.

(Every single votive was lit!)

We were so blessed to receive and celebrate the sacraments of Reconciliation and Holy Eucharist that afternoon!

After Mass, we walked across Jackson Square to have some decadent beignets at the famous Cafe Du Mond (est. 1862)

 Beignets are French donuts, and they are ever-so-scrumptious!

Day 2 ::  We took  a horse and carriage tour of the French Quarter and the historic St. Louis Cemetery #1.

We had a great tour guide who shared so many, neat details about the history of the French Quarter and the famous people who lived here, and then he took us to the St. Louis Cemetery #1. (Established 1789)

Talk about fascinating!  Oh my goodness!

Finishing up with that tour, we bought tickets for the Sunday Jazz Tour aboard the Steamboat Natchez.

A two hour cruise on the Mighty Mississippi out of the Port of New Orleans.  We saw some history along the way...

...some familiar

... and some we wish we had a car to drive to

Jackson Barracks, which houses the National Guard, is still undergoing repairs from the extensive damage it received during Hurricane Katrina.

...and this next one...a BIGGIE.

Chalmette Battlefield.

The final battle of the War of 1812 took place here, the Battle of New Orleans.  This is the spot where Major General Andrew Jackson miraculously defeated the invading British.

The battle is attributed to a miracle!

"With the Americans outnumbered it seemed as though the city of New Orleans was in danger of being captured. Consequently, theUrsuline nuns along with many faithful people of New Orleans gathered in the Ursuline Convent's chapel before the statue of Our Lady of Prompt Succor. They spent the night before the battle praying and crying before the holy statue, begging for the Virgin Mary's intercession."

And on that same battlefield is the Beauregard  House.

(Built in 1830)

As I put this post together, I am reflecting on the fact we saw ALL OFF THAT in the first 24 hours.  Yowzer!

Day 3.

One of the places Miss Ester REALLY wanted to visit was the historic Ursuline Convent in the French Quarter, just blocks from St. Louis Cathedral.

The Ursuline Convent is the oldest standing building in the Mississippi Valley!  Talk about history...a former orphanage, High School,  built in 1745.

Most importantly, these nuns are credited with the miraculous victory over the British in the War of 1812!

And it was CLOSED!  Say it isn't so... :(

They closed the gates for to the public while the prepare a new exhibit opening in October.  Darn.

I did manage to stick my camera through the gates to snap a photo or two...

We made the best of it.  Hopefully, someday we will get back to see it inside....

The history tours were absolutely FABULOUS!  We were so excited to soak it all in.  To bring her studies to life was an unforgettable experience.

As I am still catching up here at home, I am hoping to put my next post together over the weekend... F.O.O.D. and the unique sites of New Orleans!

Until then,

~ Patty  ~ 


  1. I went there in my early 20's. It was so much fun. Oh, and the pralines!

    1. It's so full of rich history, and pralines ;)
      Brought a box home with us!

  2. Amazing!
    Such a great tradition, Patty...
    You two look as if you had so much fun.
    And you two look like sisters! : )
    Welcome home, sweet friend...

    1. A lot of people tell us that we look like sisters. Or that she's my mini. It was so much fun to be together and see what we did!!

  3. Now, this is the perfect example why I like blogs better than Facebook! SO much more here!!! I loved this! What a really fun tradition...really really fun and such memories!! Making history come to life. You two do look just like sisters. (both beautiful!)

    1. Loads of fun! Yes, the snippets on FB could never tell the whole story.

  4. What a fantastic trip! I learned so much from your post, I didn't know about the French and Catholic connections of New Orleans (well, I suppose thinking about it, Orléans is French).
    I just wanted to say that we Brits will only invade now as friendly tourists! Lol.

    1. Yes, friendly tourists! Ha ha!

      You know, there was a deep hatred of French Catholics from the Protestant English. On top of that, both countries wanted to be super powers in the New World. There were so many mini wars between them all leading up to the French and Indian war. At one point, the English beat the French (from Canada) and chased the Acadians (Cajuns) out of canada down to New Orleans. These Cajuns helped settle New Orleans. So interesting.

  5. Absolutely breathtaking!! What an awesome tradition. I can't wait to see part to. You two are adorable. :)

    1. Thanks, Laurie! The food and sites were so amazing!!

  6. What an amazing trip you two had! It all looks like so much fun and full of memories together. I think that's such an awesome tradition you established in your family. Very impressive. Thank you for sharing all of the history and photos. I truly enjoyed them.

    Can't wait for all the food and other sights of New Orleans!

  7. What a cool idea! And what a lovely memory for you and your daughter! Glad it was such an amazing trip!


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