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.