When I think of March I think of March Madness. Living in basketball country all of my life I have always associated the beginning of spring as also the conclusion of basketball season.
My mom and grandparents have attended the SEC tournament for as long as I can remember. When I was a little girl they would bring us home tshirts and memorabilia from the Fan Fare events. I never got to go to the tournament because of school but I always said when I was older and out of college that I wanted to make the trip.
So Marcus and I decided to go to the 2012 SEC tournament in New Orleans! Neither of us had ever been to an SEC tournament or New Orleans so it sounded like the perfect one to attend.
We stayed at the Hampton Inn & Suites-Carondelet Street. It was super nice and in walking distance to the arena and tourist hot spots.
A great view of the downtown area
The tournament was held in the New Orleans Arena where the New Orleans Pelicans (Read: Anthony Davis' team) plays. And fun fact-I just read that it is now the "Smoothie King Center" as of last month. That is...different!?
The Superdome was right beside the arena so a photo-op could not be passed up. The Final Four and Superbowl were all held at the Superdome in 2012 so New Orleans was the place to be in the sporting world.
If you are familiar with UK basketball you know they have the best fan base in the nation and they travel all over the country to watch them play. It was a sea of blue everywhere we went.
I would guess 80% of the fans were UK and the other 20% made up the rest of the SEC!
A beautiful hotel in the French Quarter that caught my eye every time we passed
Such a tourist photo :)
I care too much about my money to gamble but I had to take a picture of the famous Harrah's Casino.
Riverwalk on the banks of the Mississippi
Taking a trolley to save some steps and wearing some bunny ears :)
We met some of our friends from back home at Drago's Restaurant one night for dinner. There are usually 20-30 people that we know that attend the tournament so it feels like home away from home.
My UK basketball lovin' family. I'll always cherish this picture of us with my Papaw from his last SEC tournament trip.
The famous Jackson Square, a historic park in the French Quarter. There was actually a wedding taking place the day we walked to it.
This picture just represents New Orleans to me.
Bourbon Street-I will keep it PG rated per Bourbon Street standards. I'm glad I can say I've experienced Bourbon Street but I was definitely out of my comfort zone!
It's not a trip to Nola without an authentic mask.
Cafe Du Monde was on the must-do list. Absolutely delicious. That's my kind of comfort food!
We also attended a few ballgames while we were there ha! It was a full week because when we weren't watching games we were out exploring.
UK ready to take on Florida in the semi-finals
My husband Mr. SEC
Our Cats made it to the championship game and lost to Vanderbilt :( We were bummed at the time but they went on to win the NCAA Championship a few weeks later so we got over it. We were just thankful they made it to the final game and we were able to watch them play the whole way through (since we bought books of tickets).
And another reason that this trip is extra special is because this was when we told my Mom, Stan, and grandparents that we were expecting! We put a pair of UK baby booties on our bed so that my mom would see them when she came in our room. We totally caught her off guard which is what we were hoping to do! I was 7 weeks pregnant so I was very tired by the end of each day (and dressed slouchier and had horrible roots ha!) but I didn't let it slow me down.
Another crazy thing that happened while we were there is we ran into my Ob-Gyn on the streets of New Orleans! I had met him because I work with him but Marcus never had so it was neat that their first meeting took place 600 miles from home :) It was an instant connection.
New Orleans was a great trip and a unique place to visit. I'm glad I can say I've experienced The Big Easy. We were able to see the side of town that has not been rebuilt since Hurricane Katrina. It was unbelievable. We were able to see the Mississippi River and experience the true deep south. It's a vacation I will never forget!