BRINGING NEW ORLEANS BACK HOME
Play the sound track from The Big Easy (the movie is too much for kids). Love those Neville Brothers.
Deep-fry beignets, using a make-your-own mix from Café du Monde ($2.20 at the café, $6.25 to ship; 504/581-2914).
Rent Sounder, a 1972 family film about Louisiana sharecroppers in the 1930's, with music by Taj Mahal.
Order in authentic seafood gumbo, crawfish cakes, and miraculous shrimp-stuffed boneless chicken from Carnival Brands (800/925-2774).
RESTAURANTS & CAFÉS
Café du Monde 800 Decatur St.; 504/525-4544.
Jacques-Imo's Café 8324 Oak St.; 504/861-0886; dinner for a family of four $68.
Red Fish Grill 115 Bourbon St.; 504/598-1200; dinner for four $56.
Praline Connection Gospel & Blues Hall 907 S. Peters St.; 504/523-3973; Sunday gospel brunch $24 per adult, $16 for children 12 and under.
Sid-Mar's of Bucktown 1824 Orpheum Ave., Bucktown; 504/831-9541; dinner for four $40.
Ralph & Kacoo's 519 Toulouse St.; 504/522-5226; dinner for four $48.
Each of these has a pool (to my kids, a necessity).
Claiborne Mansion 2111 Dauphine St.; 504/949-7327; suites $210-$250, including breakfast. A charming, spacious, seven-room B&B in the up-and-coming Faubourg Marigny district.
Bienville House Hotel 320 Decatur St.; 800/535-7836 or 504/529-2345, fax 504/525-6079; doubles from $130. A comfortable 83-room hotel in the French Quarter, with balconies on the second and third floors.
Le Richelieu in the French Quarter 1234 Chartres St.; 800/535-9653 or 504/529-2492, fax 504/524-8179; doubles from $95. A Greek Revival 86-room hotel that dates to 1845. Adjoining rooms available.
New Orleans Historic Voodoo Museum 724 Rue Dumaine; 504/523-7685.
Blaine Kern's Mardi Gras World 233 Newton St.; 504/361-7821.
Louisiana Children's Museum 420 Julia St.; 504/523-1357.
Aquarium of the Americas 1 Canal St.; 800/774-7394.
Audubon Zoological Gardens 6500 Magazine St.; 800/774-7394.