I was sorta in the same situation that you are in now and I got into a very good nursing program which is very competitive to get in.
When I first went to school, I didn't go to any of my classes - I failed every single class with a WU which stays on your permanent college record.
After failing all my classes, I went into the army, came back, got a BA in English and almost completed a MS in Education. And then I applied to my Nursing program. Even though I failed one of the classes the first time (English), they either made an exception for me (because I had an English degree and even took Master-level English courses) or my GPA along with my NLN grade was high enough for the English failure to make as much of a big indent as it would have (they counted 4 courses and with counting the English failure my GPA was 2.8, with the second grade I got for taking it a second time, it was a 3.7).
Either way, what I'm trying to get at is that as much as people like to talk about so and so Nursing program is hard to get in to or that your chances are slim due to your past - it never hurts to talk to someone in the Nursing Department to see where your chances lie and tell them your story.
Time changes people.
As much as I would love to give you advice on whether to go the LPN or RN route - I'm not because I don't think that you can find an adequate answer on this forum for your choice, not from or from anyone else. What advice I will give you is call up a RN or LPN program that you are interested in and ask them what it would be like, what time constraints would there be, how much it costs, how many people graduate from a starting class, what is the nclex first time pass rate, etc. Only you can decide what's best for you and you are only really going to be able to get that information from talking to possible schools
Either way, good luck. =D