Sleeping by the Gulf of Mexico on Rutherford Beach, near Creole, LA

Stout meets a crab...

The first night, there was a crazy thunderstorm with a lightning show that lasted for hours... it felt like a giant stroboscope in the bus.

The sun came back the next day. And we had the perfect set up, right on the beach.

Stout was so happy to be allowed to run free on the beach. It was puppy heaven...

A bonfire on the beach. It doesn't get any better.

Stout has a light that attaches to his collar to see where he is at night. So fun and practical! And it makes for cool pictures too!

When we found out about that beach through another traveling family, I wanted to check it out. It's not often that you come across boondocking sites right on the beach! And it didn't disappoint!

This part of Louisiana has been severely affected by the passage of Katrina in 2005 and everywhere you look, you see concrete pads where houses used to stand, rusty metal structures, old restaurant signs... it's a sad sight... Many people could not afford to rebuild their houses and they now live in fifth wheels on these concrete pads.

A local told us that there were 35 to 40 houses along Rutherford Beach before Hurricane Katrina... and now, only a few houses remain... It was the perfect place to watch the IMAX documentary Hurricane on the Bayou.

The drive to get down to the beach is beautiful though, as you cross bayous and a wildlife preserve. There were lots of different birds and I was jumping up and down when we saw some Roseate Spoonbill (Spatule rosée)! So cool! The whole time we were driving through the bayous, the lyrics of Stephen Faulkner's song Cajuns de l'an 2000 that my dad used to play in the Westfalia when I was a kid kept popping through my mind. And to top it off, a local we met on the beach kept using the expression Son of a Gun! Oh and JF is cooking a typical Creole Jambalaya tonight with authentic bayou spices!

New Orleans, Louisiana

Eating beignets at Café du Monde. Maybe going there at 10:30 am on a Sunday morning was not our best decision... Oh well! They were worth it!

Tasting Po-Boys, a local specialty.

We had been to Louisiana 3 years ago for Mardi Gras. The French Quarter was obviously very rowdy and I was glad the girls were still young enough to not be aware of what was going on. They simply asked why the *princesses* throwing necklaces from balconies were wearing only underwears... Ahem.

But NOLA is called the Big Easy for a reason... It's not hard to look past the glimmer and sparkles... You see tired people trying to make a living in this crazy scene... You see their hard stories behind the fake smiles and make-up, behind their quirky street art... just a bunch of people going through the motion. Just another day at work. It reminded me of walking the back streets of Vegas during the day... The streets are dirty and stinky. The T-shirt and masks shops staff are scrolling on their phones... The musicians seem like the only truly happy ones there... What a weird eclectic place.