New Orleans

My trip down to New Orleans was a fairly quick affair.  I was in the city for only somewhere near thirty hours.  I boarded a plane in Philadelphia and arrived in New Orleans around noon.  I took a cab from the airport to the French Quarter where I was staying.  Instead of being dropped off at my hotel, I asked the driver to let me out at the corner of Canal Street and Bourbon Street.  I walked the length of Bourbon and made my way to my hotel.  On my journey down this famous road I immediately knew the weekend would be interesting, but I admit I may have underestimated that slightly.

One of the first things I noticed was the fact that there is alcohol everywhere and it is perfectly acceptable, perhaps even encouraged, to take it out on the street.  Never have I been anywhere that outwardly encouraged drinking to this degree in such a publicly acceptable manner.

I made my way to my hotel, checked in, and dropped my bag off before venturing out again to explore in more detail what I had just quickly walked through.

I walked from my hotel to Jackson Square and then back up to Bourbon Street.  At Jackson Square I took some time to appreciate some of the street artists and the brass band that was playing.  Once I made my way up to Bourbon Street, one of the first people I encounter is a lady giving out copies of the Bhagavad Gita.  These people pop up everywhere.  I first met one randomly as I was walking around the lot at Bonnaroo a few years ago and just recently ran into one on the streets of Philadelphia.  Anyway, she told me I was not having enough fun.  I guess I took her advice.

I wandered down Bourbon Street and decided that I was hungry. ¬†I wasn’t really in the mood for crawfish so I decided to stop at one of the pizza places for a slice. ¬†A slice and a beer. ¬†I told myself that that was all I was going to do. ¬†I was going to take it easy in the Big Easy. ¬†See, I was there for a wedding that was going on later that night, so I couldn’t get too crazy beforehand.

I then met this girl from Michigan.

I don’t recall how we got talking, but we did and then we got drinking. ¬†At some point we decided to check out the strip club that was across the street from the pizza place. ¬†I think it was her idea. ¬†So, we ended up going and then our drinking turned into taking shots. And I kept thinking things were not going according to how I planned it. ¬†Always in my mind was the fact that I had a wedding to attend in a few hours. ¬†I told myself that it would be ok. ¬†I had plenty of time. ¬†I was enjoying hanging out with this Michigan girl. ¬†Besides, what else was I going to do? ¬†Wander around aimlessly until I had to get ready for the wedding?

As I continued to enjoy the company of the girl from Michigan and the topless girls at the bar, the clock continued to tick away. ¬†In the end I didn’t end up leaving myself¬†as much time to get ready as I should have. ¬†I had to say farewell to Michigan girl and then drunkenly run back to my hotel. ¬†And yes, I did actually run. ¬†I got to my room and quickly put on my tux. ¬†Then I found a cab and got myself to the wedding. ¬†I made it, almost no time to spare.

I met some friends who were also in attendance after the ceremony and they were on to the fact that I may have been drinking that afternoon.

After a cocktail hour, we all boarded trolley cars that would take us to the reception back in the French Quarter.  The reception was lovely.  And of course I was certainly enjoying things.

After the reception a brass band came in to lead the happy couple through the French Quarter in what is known as a second line. ¬†A second line is a tradition in New Orleans that is basically a parade through the streets. ¬† I may have enjoyed that part of the night a bit too much. ¬†I think I tried to bond with the tenor sax player who really wasn’t going for it. ¬†Oh well.

After we paraded through the streets we ended up at some bar.  I have no idea where it was other than it was in the French Quarter, probably on Bourbon Street.  After a while just hanging out here I decided it was time to call it a night.  And so in my infinite wisdom, I stepped outside and began to walk back to my hotel.   Normally this works out just fine, but I really did have no idea where I was.   I wandered around the French Quarter in my tux for a good while.  At one point I ended up by Louis Armstrong Park, which was the opposite direction of where I wanted to be.  Somehow I did manage to make it back, but only after I had done a fair bit of wandering.  Things could have been worse.

The next day I woke up feeling remarkably fine.  It was a New Orleans miracle!

I took a shower, got dressed, and then checked out of the hotel.  For the rest of the day I wandered around the French Quarter and hung out by the river for a bit until I eventually made my way back to the airport.

Upon my return to Philly I said I would never go back to New Orleans again. Nothing but trouble in that city. ¬†But of course that’s silly talk. ¬†I would actually like to go again, just next time avoid that crazy Bourbon Street.

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