The Mardi Gras season just ended down in Louisiana. I have wonderful memories of my father taking me to Mardi Gras parades and we were very excited to take Matthew & Luke to their Mardi Gras this year. In New Orleans  everything is an ‘event’. I was very lucky that my father loved to take me out to experience it all. Here are five special places my father and I enjoyed.


1 – If you have enjoyed a meal in a New Orleans restaurant, you have probably found a glass bottle with the beautiful red sauce of Tabasco. Ever wonder where Tabasco comes from? It comes from a special place about 140 miles west of New Orleans, Avery Island. This is a beautiful area that my father loved to visit with the amazing history of Tabasco and the abundant wildlife preserved by the Avery/McIhenny family. Many have heard that the city of New Orleans is below sea level. Avery Island sits 163 feet above sea level and is one of five salt dome island along the Louisiana Gulf Cost.
When you visit Avery Island you can enjoy a tour of the Tabasco pepper sauce factory and the 170 acre Jungle Garden. The patriarch of the family,  E. A. McIlhenny, founded a bird colony in the 1890s to protect the egrets that were being slaughtered for feathers to make fashionable ladies’ hats. Today, Avery Island has become a critical part of the yearly egrets migration path.
2 – Pontchartrain Beach was an amusement park located on the south shore of Lake Pontchartrain from 1928 – 1983. It was a special place because in addition to the amusement rides it also had a beach and pool. My dad took me to every merry go round ride place in the city. He loved the memory of when I thought I was ready to ride the real roller coaster at Pontchartrain Beach, the Zephyr  He laugh remembering how scared I was that I was literally trying to crawl out of the ride. Fortunately he keep a strong arm on me, but lost most of the items he keep in this shirt pocket. I remember our elementary school taking field trips to Pontchartain Beach. My dad always took a day off work to chaperon field trips. I was very lucky to find my Pontchartrain Beach pennant. While the rides are gone, the beach is schedule to reopen this spring! Swimming in New Orleans can be dangerous, hopefully the beach will reopen safely.

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