Thank you Captain Ted of the swamp tour for today’s cheesy title but I’ll give the guy credit cuz New Orleans makes my heart flutter!
New Orleans. Nawlins. The Crescent City. The Big Easy.
I could write about our visit there for days and still be unsatisfied. To save you all the pain of reading my overly detailed tirade I’m going to outline our week there as well as I can, without chewing your ear off.
Day One: My 22nd Birthday, October 26th
Dakota’s flight got in a little late but it all worked out perfect since we hit more than a little traffic (gave me time to do my nails). Even so we had a few minutes to wait at the airport…
Diet Cokes at the ready we checked into the hostel, donned our birthday attire and hit the town! At the hostel they told us about a New Orleans birthday tradition, you pin a dollar on the birthday girl/boy (Dakota made mine into a rosette!) and then people keep adding to your connection throughout the night! It paid the car ride home and someone gave me a $5 Harrah’s chip when they didn’t have a dollar, too fun! We managed to make it down Burbon Street, try grenades, go the the Absinthe bar, and try a Hurricane. Successful birthday accomplished.
Day Two: My 22nd Birthday Hangover, October 27th
First priority: FOOD! Rach rocked it on Yelp and found this delicious cafe/juice bar with my fav, biscuits and gravy, yum yum yum.
We explored the French Quarter in the day time, it was beautiful out! Everywhere we went music could be heard, becoming louder as we drew closer to the right cross street. I saw more than one little miss with a brand new hatbox! It was enough to make a big girl jealous. As we gradually got to know the jumble of french, spanish, and religious street names we met up with some other travelers from the hostel for giant po boys.
Again the issue arose of being able to stay awake long enough to even glimpse the night life. Unfortunately this time Diet Coke got the boot and an irish pub swung in to save the day. We had Irish coffees all around and played some of the worst pool I’ve ever witnessed! Haha well except for Oscar and Izzie, two out of six isn’t very good odds though.
After heading back to the hostel, taking a break, and dressing up we went in search of music on Frenchman Street and we were not disappointed! Such fun with our hostel group! Ironically there were quite a few Californias there, go figure.
Day Three: “Staying In”, October 28th
On Friday we had to change hostels for a couple of nights. As always all of our stuff had somehow escaped from our bags all over our dorm room! We packed it up once more and shuttled over to the Marquette House Hostel. We got checked in, dump our things once more and scoped out the new digs. Marquette was a very different layout from India House and it was quite a journey back and forth between the car, we had a lot of costumes to bring in after all!
Once we were set up in our new digs we resumed exploring. Rach headed back towards the French Quarter with a buddy and Dakota and I met up with our amigo Cahill who was conveniently semi-lost near our hostel. We walked up to Magazine Street, the walk was BEAUTIFUL right in the heart of the Garden District with tons of picturesque houses.
Magazine itself had lots of cool shops and restaurants, a we felt right at home there. It took us quite a while to even decide on where to eat our dinner. We did find a happy compromise between craving and cajun: A crawfish and shrimp pizza with grilled onions and a white sauce! Scrumptious!
We attempted to tone down the revelry by staying in at the Marquette house, but go figure we picked up a box of Franzia, met too many Aussies, and taught quite a few people how to play Kings Cup. We sat in the courtyard for hours, even as it got unusually chilly, and laughed and gabbed and laughed some more. Its not every day you get Americans, Australians, Brits, a Scot, a Dane, and a Korean all hanging out! It was well worth a little less sleep 🙂
Day Four: Saturday Night of Halloween Weekend, October 29th
Hello the Weekend! Boy were we in need of it 😉 Saturday morning I was on Yelp duty and found a local sounding breakfast place within walking distance of the art fair we wanted to go to. The place was great! The walk lovely! And the art super cool! Boy were stoked on New Orleans!
We had read about this funky expo art space created after Katrina, aka “The Storm”, and wanted to try and find it although we couldn’t find any current exhibition listed. We did make our way there and although most of the previous art was gone and nothing new up we saw a whole different side of town there.
From the highway we got a great view of the cemeteries which are all mausoleums because they can’t dig graves. They were hardly eerie in the day time and went surprisingly well with the concrete of the overpass. Once we got off the freeway there was a lot to take in. In this neighborhood the streets had cool names like Arts Street, Music Street, and Painter Street. There were a lot more homes here that were clearly abandoned after the storm. On a lot of the other ones you could see repairs and crawl spaces. It showed a delicate balance between the stark reality of what the Storm left behind, as well as the perseverance and rebuilding that came after. Hard not to be cheery though when you see a building painted like this!
At this point we were getting pretty good at navigating our way around! We made it back to Magazine Street for some last minute costume shopping, dinner, and the ever important stop at the store. See, New Orleans is all about the cash, lots of places won’t take cards and of course, the nearest Wells Fargo is 30+ miles away (every bank should have an ATM in the French Quarter!!). So our solution was that if we gotta pay a $2-3 fee might as well get a pack of gum instead and get cash back. But with the minimums on cash back! Boy, did we have a lot of gum!
Saturday night was our first costume night! So, a disco ball, a mermaid, Shirley Temple, a guy wearing a dress and skateboarding, and Robert Deniro’s character from Taxi Driver all hopped into (go figure) a cab and headed downtown. IT WAS NUTS! Almost too crowded for my taste, there wasn’t hardly any point going into a bar or club. The people watching was just the best, all the costumes, people had drums everywhere, a real party in the streets.
One of the silliest stories of the night had to be when I was trying to meet up with my friend, she told me she was outside the Spotted Cat but I couldn’t see her. So I tried shouting her name, “KATRINA!” not even thinking about it. One of the guys near me, turned and said, “You are gonna start something yelling that in this town.” Absolutely shocked (it probably helped I was a wide-eyed Shirley Temple) I exclaimed, “But that’s her name!!” Everyone around me laughed and I made a mental note not to repeat that one. Maybe you should go by K or Kat in New Orleans, Katrina haha.
Don’t worry more to come!
With love from the road,