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Friday, December 30, 2011

Season’s Greetings

Notice I didn’t specify which season considering Christmas passed before I could get this posted.  December was a busy month due to final exams and papers and due to hosting our family for Christmas for the first time ever at our house.  I had hoped to get this on the blog before the holiday.  Oh well, better late than never.

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Although it is a few days late, Judd and I wanted to make sure to thank you all for your continued readership and support this past year.  We are truly thankful for you, our blogging family and friends.  Thanks for sticking with us even though our posting this year has been infrequent. We wanted to send you a Christmas card over the blogosphere.  The one we included happens to be the same one we mailed out this year.

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We’ve also included the same Christmas newsletter that was inside our cards.

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“And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:10-11

We wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas. We feel so blessed to have friends and family like you. Despite all of the stress and craziness that is life, we are mindful of the real reason for the season, and we are so thankful for Him and for you.

Probably just like the rest of you, we’ve had our share of stress over the last year; in fact, we even failed to mail our Christmas cards last year because of it. As a result, we are attempting to catch up with you this year.

All is well at the Langham household. This year Judd became a principal/co-owner of 2DStudio, a landscape design and planning firm that he started here in Birmingham. Additionally, over the past year he had the pleasure of adjunct teaching in the Masters of Landscape Architecture program at Auburn University.

Abby is approaching her 4th anniversary at the University of Alabama at Birmingham as the Coordinator for Institutional Research in the Office of Planning and Analysis. She continues to pursue her Ph.D. in Educational Leadership/Higher Education Administration full-time while also working full-time.

Together, we started our own DIY printable invitation and stationary business—The Langham Project. We enjoy working together to create something useful and beautiful for others. We hope to get an online shop for it soon.

As you can tell by the cover Judd drew for our Christmas cards, Cole, our black Labrador retriever is such a joy to us. He is so sweet and gentle. It’s hard to believe that he is already eight years old.

We are so thankful for the opportunities and blessings that God presented before us this year. We hope that you are all equally blessed and well.

Merry Christmas!

Abby and Judd Langham

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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Visions Of Dog Bones Danced In His Head

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I felt so spoiled by my husband this Christmas.  He got me an iPhone and a wonderful new camera.  I’m still figuring out how to use them both.  I have a feeling our blog will benefit greatly from those two gifts.

This was a photo taken on my iPhone 4s using the instagram app.  I know I am probably a little late in the game, but I LOVE instagram.  It’s so fab.  Have you tried it? 

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

And Another One Down…

Well, as you might have guessed from my prolonged blogging hiatus, I’ve been busy with school and work and Auburn football this fall.  I can finally attempt to catch up now that the semester is over.  Expect a few more posts this week and next.

So far I’ve managed to keep a 4.0 grade point average over the three year duration of this degree.  I had one with my Master’s too.  I hope I can continue that record for one more semester.  This spring (2012) will be my last semester of coursework.  I know that your GPA at this level doesn’t matter at all; however, it matters to me.  This coming spring will be VERY busy.  I will be taking three classes, writing my dissertation proposal (the first three chapters of my dissertation), taking  my comprehensive exams, getting institutional review board (IRB) approval, getting admitted to candidacy, and working full-time.  Wish me luck.

Then, starting in the summer I will be ‘all but dissertation’ (ABD) and will become a dissertation writing machine.  I am beyond EXHAUSTED from school.  I have never been so tired of anything in my entire life.  I cannot wait for this phase of my life to be over.  Because of my Ph.D. everything else in our lives feels like it is on hold.  I’m sure Judd can’t wait for me to be finished as well.

Sorry to post about school so much.  I know that it is not that fun to read about.  I prefer my decorating and craft posts too.  School is such a big part of my life right now.  I have a hard time doing anything without it being on my mind at the same time.

We did squeeze in a little fun this semester.  We attended many Auburn University football games this year.  We tailgated as usual at my in-law’s house in Auburn, AL.  I’m not sure if I’ve ever mentioned this on the blog but it is the same house that Judd and I rented when we first got married.  His parents bought it when we moved to Philadelphia, PA from Auburn after grad. school.

Here is one of the few pictures I managed to take during the season.  Judd bought me a new camera for Christmas so hopefully the frequency of our picture taking and our picture quality will improve.

I think this was Iron Bowl weekend.  These are some of my FABulous friends and their spouses.

(From left to right: The Myers, The Nichols, and The Langhams)

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Friday, November 11, 2011

Thank You, Veterans

Hi all,

My how I have missed you.  I have been meaning to post for quite some time.  As you know, I am in the midst of earning my Ph.D. full-time, working full-time, and trying to survive it all.  It was important to me to make sure to post this Veteran’s Day, no matter what, to say thanks to our service men and women.

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SSG. Bryan Tull (a.k.a. my bubby)

Last year, I wrote this post about thanking a veteran.  I offered you all the opportunity to thank my brother if you did not know a veteran to thank.  I am going to extend that offer again this year.  I know it never hurts to be encouraged and to know that others believe in you and care about you.  Just leave a comment on this post.  I’ll be sure to share your kind words with my brother, SSG. Bryan Christopher Tull (210th MPAD and 314th PAOC).  Bryan is a current Army Reservist and an undergraduate student at the university where I work—UAB.  In fact, he recently re-enlisted for another six years of military service (after having already served his first six years of service—including two year-long Iraq deployments).

Over the past few months, while reading a periodical that circulates through our office, The Chronicle of Higher Education,  I have come across several articles pertaining to student warriors.  I shared these articles with my brother in hopes that they would help him to realize that he is not the only current military member with active duty time under his belt who also happens to be a college student.  I believe that higher education administrators need to lead with policies in mind for our nation’s student warriors. They need to be thinking about what kind of support this unique group of students need and how to identify student vets.  This country has been at war my entire adult life (literally, since I was 18).  Just take a moment to think about how many service men and women have enrolled and even graduated from institutions of higher learning in the past 10 years.

If you would like to read the articles I sent to Bryan you can access them via the links below.

“A Student Veteran Moves On”

“Why I Can No Longer Teach US Military History”

I shared these articles with Bryan in hopes they would let him now that he is not alone as a student veteran.  Do you know any student warriors?  What do you think universities can do to support these students?

I’d also like to thank my other family members who are/were veterans.

(Note to family: I tried to document a brief synopsis of your military history.  Please help me to add to it or to revise where necessary.  Also, send me pictures and I will add them to this post.  I would love to have a picture of everyone in uniform):

Specialist 5 Delos Lawton Tull [Daddy] (71st Supply Battalion) (Cold War - Germany)

Sergeant Robert Franklin Braden, Sr. [Maternal Granddaddy] (102nd Infantry Division) (WWII – Netherlands, France, Germany)

Private First Class Elmo Delos Tull [Paternal Granddaddy] (Army Air Corp) (WWII – North Africa, Italy, Sicily, France, Germany)

Sergeant Robert Franklin Braden, Jr. [Maternal Uncle] (4th Infantry Division) (Vietnam)

Major Dan Bowdoin [Paternal Uncle] (1st Cavalry Division) (Vietnam and Europe)

Colonel Carol Tull Bowdoin [Paternal Aunt] (Army Nurse Corp) (Europe)

Captain Libby Bowdoin Fouch [Paternal Cousin] (Army Nurse Corp) (Stateside)

Warrant Officer Zach Fouch [Paternal Cousin] (Missouri National Guard and Airborne Ranger, Helicopter Pilot) (Iraq)

Sergeant George Allen Payne [Paternal Uncle] (Chemical Corp) (Stateside)

Additionally, my paternal grandfather’s 5 brothers served as well as 2 of my maternal grandfather’s brother’s and my husband’s grandfather, Aubrey Lee Langham (Marine, WWII-The Pacific), and Daddy, Terry Martin Langham  (National Guard).

Thanks to everyone mentioned above and thanks to all service men and women on this Veteran’s Day.

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Cousins Libby Bowdoin Fouch and Zach Fouch (and Andrew)

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Aunt Carol Tull Bowdoin and Cousin Libby Bowdoin Fouch

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Uncle Dan Bowdoin, Aunt Carol Tull Bowdoin, and Cousins Libby Bowdoin Fouch, Andrew Fouch, David Bowdoin, and Beth Trotter Bowdoin

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

How To: Make A Burlap Wreath

Have you all seen these DIY burlap wreaths?  I first caught a glimpse of these kinds of wreaths at a gift shop/antique store near our home a few months ago.  Then I saw the images below on Pinterest.  I decided I liked the look of these for fall.  I thought I could probably make one myself.

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Source: The Newly Wares

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Source: Etsy

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Source: Classy Clutter

Here is what I needed to get started.

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Supplies:

  • Scissors
  • Measuring Tape
  • Burlap
  • Wire Coat Hanger
  • Hot Glue Gun

First, I separated the twisted part of the hanger that connected the end of the wire from the hook. With my hands, I shaped the wire into a circle, leaving the hook in tact and the twisted edge loose.

Second, I cut several 4” wide strips of burlap approximately a yard long.  I folded the burlap accordion style and strung it along the loose wire edge. 

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I continued weaving the burlap strips onto the coat hanger until I felt that it look full.  I’ll be honest, this project used a lot more burlap than expected.

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When all of the burlap was strung through the coat hanger, I placed small dots of hot glue on the wire sporadically around the wreath.  This kept the strips from sliding.

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I left the hook part of the coat hanger in place and I attached the loose end to the hook using a rubber band and hot clue.  I didn’t have any pliers on hand.  If you do, you may be able to twist the loose end back on the hook.  Otherwise, the rubber band and hot glue method seemed to work just fine.

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I used the hook to hang the wreath on my door.  I took the pictures at night on an iphone.  The photo quality is not the best, but you get the idea.   I will probably make a bow or add some dried flowers for seasonal color.

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After hanging the wreath, I trimmed the strings.  However, if you like the look of the strings feel free to keep them.  I waivered back and forth on this one.  I kind of liked them; however, I decided to cut them off in the end.

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Voila. Instant burlap wreath.  Luckily, I already had everything I needed to make this at home.  In my opinion, this is a great look for only a few bucks.

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What do you think? 

Monday, September 26, 2011

Burlap Walls

My brother, Bryan, and sister-in-law, Laura, moved into Laura’s Pawpaw’s house last weekend.  We got to go see it last night.  It’s a lovely home that Laura’s Pawpaw built himself.  While taking the tour we walked into a room that will be used as an office.  This room has many built-in shelves and has burlap on the walls.  My guess is that the burlap has been there for years.  I immediately said, “oh, I love the burlap wall treatment.”  Neither Bryan or Laura seemed too enthused about it.   I thought I would put this post together so that maybe they might be able to see a vision for the room that consists of keeping the burlap.  Either way, I’m sure they will make the room look great.  I just thought it might be fun to throw some inspiration photos together.  Congrats on your new abode, Bryan and Laura.

Burlap seems to be so, dare I say, trendy at the moment.  I hate to even  say that because burlap has been used for a  long time for many purposes.  Below are some images I found in a quick Google search of burlap and/or grass cloth used on walls.

What do y’all think?  Can you picture a space in your own home with burlap on the wall?  I think, given the right space, burlap on walls can be very attractive.

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Source: Sage Going On Green

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Source: Velvet and Linen, photo taken at Boxwoods in Atlanta, GA

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Source: (Flickr) Design Services of Charlotte

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Source: Odie Et Amo, design by Waterleaf Interiors

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Source: Whitehaven

Friday, September 9, 2011

Pinecones, Dissertations, Parties, and Football

What do the things listed in the title of this post have in common?  Well, nothing.  This post is an attempt at a final recap of our summer.   It will be in mostly pictures.

We had a big storm one afternoon that knocked down several tree limbs in our neighborhood.  With the limbs came these beautiful green pinecones and sweet gum balls.  I once again walked up and down our street collecting them.  At this point, I know our neighbors think I am crazy.  But y’all, they were so pretty in vases and hurricane glasses with candles.  I placed them all around our house.  They lasted for a few weeks but eventually turned brown.  Aren’t they pretty?

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Also, this summer, we helped decorate Judd’s studio for a 90th birthday party for Judd’s business partner’s mother.  Did you get that?  :)  The party was actually across the street from the studio.  It was held in a meeting room adjacent to the historic Alabama Theatre.  The studio was used for a pre-party cocktail hour for closest friends and relatives. 

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And,  speaking of relatives, guess who just happens to be married to Bob’s nephew.

Yep, Melissa Joan Hart.

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Also this summer we had a get together lunch with some of the Fab and Fab husbands.  While we were there we got to play with this cute little fella.

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We also celebrated my 27th birthday.  Judd bought me a yummy cake from Publix and some beautiful spider mums.  They really went great with the green pinecones.  :)

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No, we do not have a paw print rug in our living room.  That is Cole’s blanket.  He drools and sheds too much to let him lay down without something underneath him.

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Speaking of dogs, Cole also had surgery over the summer.  He is doing fine.  Thanks for asking.  :)  We are terrible parents because we found his cone to be SO funny and photographed it at his expense.  I’ll admit, I cried the first night he had it on because he was so pitiful and was running into everything.  Eventually, he got used to it and we got a kick out of it.

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Additionally, over the summer, 3 of my friends from my doctoral cohort and I decided to be accountability partners for each other to ensure we are on track with our dissertations.  Our professor (middle) referred to us as her dissertation divas.  Hence the title in the photo.  We started calling her Dr. Diva.  I know it seems silly but we are all so constantly stressed.  It is nice to have something to laugh about together.

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Last but not least, it is now time for SEC college football.  Woo Woo.  I sure do love this time of year.  I have noticed several folks stumbling onto our blog looking for Auburn’s 2011 schedule.  So, here it is.  I thought this was so great.  It was a magnet that came in the mail with our season tickets.  They used jersey numbers to indicate the dates.  What a clever idea.

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Well, that’s a rap on our summer.  We are wishing a happy fall to all of y’all. 

War Eagle!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

New Orleans, Louisiana - The Secret Trip

You might have guessed from my last post that I would write about this next.

As a part of our 6th anniversary celebration, Judd planned a vacation as a surprise for me.  I knew he had something up his sleeve because my anniversary card from him indicated that there would be travel in our immediate future.  He didn’t tell me where we were going.  In fact, he wasn’t going to tell me when we were going either. 

Except this happened……

Two weeks prior to Independence Day, while walking our dog one evening,  Judd mentioned to me that he wanted to go to Brewton, AL (his hometown) two weekends in a row.  As you all now know, I was consumed by school at that point.  When he mentioned the plan to go home I questioned my ability to travel two consecutive weekends.  You see, we already had plans to visit Brewton for Independence Day.  When I said that, I noticed Judd hesitate.  I could tell he was thinking about something.  We continued the rest of our evening as normal.

The next morning, Judd asked me if I really would be unable to travel due to my course load.  I said that if there was something important he needed to do in Brewton or if it was really important to him to go that weekend, that I would go, but he needed to let me know in advance so that I could get all of my readings, papers, homework assignments, etc. finished ahead of time.

Basically I ruined a major part of my surprise--The fact that he was going to take me on an amazing, and much needed, surprise vacation.  He proceeded to tell me that he had a surprise trip planned for us that weekend and that Brewton was not our destination.  He also told me that he had already called my office and asked for me to have a day off in order to make it a three day weekend.  What a sweetheart.  I, of course, said that I would do everything in my power to make sure I would be available.  He still wouldn’t tell me where we were going though.

He tried to trick me all week.  He would “accidently” drop clues like boat, or plane, or beach, etc.  Eventually, I had a feeling it was a car trip because I knew he wouldn’t really slip up and tell me.  He is too good at keeping fun surprises a secret

In turn, I wanted to do something special for him since he went well out of his way to plan something for me.  So, I packed us a travel basket filled with his favorite goodies (and a few of mine too).  Since he usually gets home from work before me, I left it on our kitchen counter for him to find with a note that said “open me”.

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We grabbed the basket and our luggage and hit the road.  Oh, we grabbed the dog too.  At this point, I was pretty sure we were headed south in order for Judd’s parents to doggysit for us while we were away.  Sure enough, I was right about the first leg of our trip.  We drove to Brewton to spend the night.

The next morning we got an early start.  At this point, I thought we were headed to the beach.  But then our car turned for Mobile, AL.  Naturally, at that point, I thought that Mobile was our destination.  Judd, in an attempt to throw me off of his trail, even faked a call to our friend Tripp (a local Mobilian) to see if he wanted to have lunch.  You can imagine my surprise when instead of taking the Mobile exit off the interstate we headed for Mississippi.

Around lunch time, we stopped in the beautiful town of Ocean Springs, Mississippi.  It reminded me so much of Fairhope, AL.  Both cities are lovely, up-scale, artsy retirement communities.  We had a tasty seafood lunch at McElroy’s on the Bayou.

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At this point I figured we were either going to Biloxi or New Orleans.  NOLA it was.  We arrived at our hotel and immediately headed for the French Quarter.  We stopped in at Harrah’s Casino first.  We lost a total of $20 and called it quits. 

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Then, we walked down to Jackson Square.  Gosh, that place is so beautiful.  Don’t let the overcast sky fool you, even with the breeze of the mighty Mississippi it was hotter than you know where in New Orleans in June.

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Afterward’s we cooled off with a few Abita’s (Louisiana’s premier craft beer) at one of Judd’s favorite NOLA bars, Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Bar.

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We decided to walk with our drinks and take a tour on foot to see the beauty and details of New Orleans.  We soaked up as much as we could.  Everything in that city has such charm.  The weathered and aged patina everywhere we looked combined with the sounds and smells of a port city caused true sensory overload.  I LOVED it.

Judd wanted to make sure I didn’t miss out on my first hurricane.  After our walk, he took me Pat O’Brien’s to cool off yet again.

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We then walked back to our hotel to get dressed for dinner.  Judd took me to Antoine’s.  Gosh, it was delicious.

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We spent the rest of the evening walking in the French Quarter and on Bourbon Street. Bourbon Street, as expected, was a little crazy.  We quickly moved on to other parts of the French Quarter.

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The next morning, Judd took me to Commander’s Palace for Sunday Jazz Brunch.  To say that this was the best atmosphere, food, and service I have ever experienced at a restaurant would be an understatement.  IT WAS INCREDIBLE!!!!!

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We captured a video of the fantastic Jazz musicians who played tableside during brunch.  They found out were from Birmingham and played Tuxedo Junction just for us.

 

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The chefs made our already amazing dining experience even better by writing a special note on our dessert plates.  Also, catch a glimpse of Judd’s to-die-for bread pudding.

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To burn off some calories after brunch, we took a pleasant trolley ride to Audubon Park where we walked and enjoyed the splendor and serenity of the park.  I was amazed when we stepped off the car to see that Loyola University and Tulane University were literally next door to one another.  Both were just across from the entrance to the park.New-Orleans-June-2011 089New-Orleans-June-2011 060

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While walking through the park (and pretty much during our entire trip) we photographed more of the New Orleans vernacular and style including lanterns, landscaping, and homes.  I even found a little DIY project while I was there.  Isn’t this sign with house numbers amazing?  I think part of an old door or old cabinet front would work well when making this on my own.  I wanted to share it so that you could make one too.

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I still can’t get over these lanterns.

Seriously, look at these homes.  They are all so beautiful.  Also, Fab look at the largest image below.  Do you see what I see?  I’m thinking Fab compound for sure.  (Faithful readers, if you don’t know what I just referred to you can catch up with this post.)

Check out this stunning landscaping.

Here are some other fun things we did while we were in The Big Easy.  We peaked through the gates at a historic above-ground cemetery, shopped on Magazine Street, ate macaroons and gelato at Sucre, drove around the Superdome (the home of Judd’s favorite NFL team), and played a few rounds of Bananagrams in our hotel room.  Judd won.

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On Monday morning, before heading back to Brewton to pick up our furbaby, we stopped in at Cafe Du Monde for some delicious beignets and French roast coffee.

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After devouring our beignets in what seemed like seconds, we took one final look at the Mississippi, jumped in the car, and headed down the road.

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We had a blast.  I highly recommend each restaurant and attraction mentioned in this post.  Have you ever been to any of the places mentioned?  What do you recommend?

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