Our visit home to south Louisiana was full to overflowing with all the good things that family vacations have to offer--new memories and priceless time together. Surprisingly, my kids were nearly as rapt over stories of the past as their History/English major mom as we explored Spanish moss draped cemeteries and toured stately plantation homes. They clamored for throws at a parade in the French Quarter and were rewarded with pounds of Mardi Gras beads. They swam like porpoises in the warm-as-bathwater Gulf of Mexico. They even embraced the cuisine and have declared fried shrimp "way, way better" than chicken nuggets. Family vacations are rarely "vacations" in the true sense of the world. The responsibilities of motherhood continue, only in tighter quarters, in unfamiliar surroundings and on extended schedules. But the memories are well worth the trouble, especially when the good times center around dear old friends and family.