oh yeah. there were free psychic’s at the witches ball, so i had my cards read. she said that when good things happen to me i feel like i don’t deserve it, and that i should know that i do deserve good things. then she said 4 months from now i’m going to have a de ja vu moment, where something is going to happen that has happened to me before, and i need to be aware of it, and do the opposite of what i did in the past. also someone from a past life is going to turn up and change my life around, in a good way. they are going to be inspiring of creativity, and be my new best friend (to which jason said, he was going to be jealous of my new best friend, and they lady said no he wouldn’t be, because it would be someone he connects with from a past life as well), and it was a non sexual connection. it will be a girl who is younger than me. and she said i need water around me, i need to drink more water, and if i’m feeling down, i can turn on animal planet and watch the whales or whatever haha.
i originally had vacation time scheduled in August, but with nothing to do and no one to go with, I rescheduled to the week before Halloween so I could go somewhere with Jason and Susan, and that place turned out to be New Orleans. Having been there 10 years ago, and not really having much desire to ever go back, I was sorta meh when we decided to go there. But I thought, maybe now, knowing more of the things I like to do, and not being a poor recently graduated from college girl, maybe it would be a better time. And that’s how it turned out.
We flew in fairly early on Wednesday, and our apartment that we rented was not quite clean and ready for us, so we dropped off our luggage and headed out for lunch at a nearby tapas place called Baru. I had found it on a quick google search a few days before departure, and the apartment owner also recommended it, so we figured it was a good bet. It was quite good, Susan and I had something called arepas, which were stuffed cornbread sandwiches sorta, and Jason had a jerk chicken burrito. After lunch we took a walk down Magazine St, sorta looking for a grocery store, but also just killing time. Not realizing at the time, even though I had it mapped, we walked by Trent’s former studio, Nothing Records, twice, and stopped at a bar called The Brothers Three, which was practically next door haha. Back to the apartment so Jason and I could take a nap, since we worked and didn’t sleep the night before, then their friend Justin came over so we could go out to dinner. We ended up walking the other way down Magazine St to a place I had mapped, and which had been on Diners Dive and Drive Ins (is that what the show is called?), called Joey-Ks. Tried some gumbo, and red beans and rice which they are famous for. Pretty good even though the gumbo had shrimp in it. From there we headed down to the French Quarter, first to a bar called the Burgundy Bar which Jason had wanted to go to, but appeared to be having a private party, so we wandered til we got to the Old Absinthe Bar for an absinthe frappe. Absinthe is just as wretched as I remember. Walked around Bourbon St more, to a place called Sing Sing’s that had a band getting ready to play, and hung out there for a while. Susan, being someone who sleeps normally unlike Jason and I, was exhausted, so Justin took her back to the condo and came back to the bar with us for the rest of the night. Justin and I did almost lose Jason when he left the bar to buy cigars. Since there are no open container laws in NOLA, we followed after him but he had gone the wrong way, so we waited at the cigar store til he found it haha.
Thursday we got a late breakfast at a near by diner called Slim Goodies, and then some yummy gelato at Sucre. We walked around the garden district, to see Trent’s old house, and attempted to go to Lafayette Cemetery No 1, but it closed at 2:30. Justin met us out again and took us to City Park, where we went to the NOLA Museum of Art. It was a nice collection, but we didn’t have time to go to the sculpture park outside. We walked back to Justin’s and went out to dinner at a bbq place called Squeal. It happened to be down the street from a bar I had mapped out as a local music venue called the Maple Leaf Bar. However being that it was only after dinner time, the band wasn’t going on until 10, we had a lot of time to kill and got tired of waiting, so we ended up going back to Magazine St to Le Bon Temps Roule, who also was having a brass band called Soul Rebels. Susan couldn’t make it that late again, so she went back to the apartment, Jason and I stopped in the Brothers Three bar again (which we dubbed grandma or grandpa’s basement, because that’s totally what it felt like), before heading back to see the band. We watched one set before heading out, there is only so much trumpet I can handle at one time LOL. They were really good though and the place was packed with people.
Friday we had booked a tour of the St Louis Cemetery No 1, so Justin picked us up and we headed out. This cemetery is one of the ones that had been in the DANGER area of the 2002 danger map (which I forgot to bring!!), and thus was someplace I hadn’t been 10 years ago. The tour guide was pretty good, lots of personal stories put in, and it was a pretty nice tour. It was super hot though, high 80s, lots of sun. The tour began and ended in the French Quarter, so for lunch we went to Stanley’s in Jackson Square, as recommended by our friend Jenn. After we walked around Jackson Square, grabbed a quick beer at Jax Brewery (which isn’t actually a brewery anymore, just a bar restaurant, which was kinda a bummer), and looked at the river, which I hadn’t actually seen last time I was there. Checked out a few voodoo shops before heading back to the apartment to rest. Susan was having leg issues and needed to ice them a bit, and Jason wanted to get a fleur de lis tattoo, so I went with him to a shop we had found down the street. He kept trying to get me to get a matching one, but I just couldn’t commit haha. For dinner we went down to Frenchman St, which was recommended to us as where locals go hang out, instead of Bourbon St. We ate at Three Muses, another tapas place that has bands every night, though this night was not local music, but a group from Brazil playing Brazilian music. Not quite what we were looking for, but the food was really good. We left there and went to the Spotted Cat Music Club to listen to the band there…it might have been a brass band, I can’t remember. From there, down the street to the Apple Barrel Bar, which had a blues rock band playing who I thought were pretty good. Oh somewhere on the street was the Frenchman Art Market, so we looked at what the artists and vendors had to offer, and I bought a paper machier skull, and a necklace for Jenn for Christmas. Meanwhile the temperature had dropped from 80 whatever during the day to 50 something, and super windy. I wasn’t quite prepared for that and was freezing haha. So next was Melange speakeasy (thank god for facebook check-ins, cuz I don’t even remember this place), then VASO New Orleans Ultra Bar, which is I think where Susan left us, and the bar tender ended up throwing out my bag of stuff from the art market. We left, I realized I didn’t have my bag, and went back to get it and it was already gone. It wasn’t a long time we had been gone, but they claimed they thought it was trash and threw it out. We asked them to get it, and they said the garbage had just been taken out. We offered to look for it ourselves and they said no, so I think they just stole it. Cuz even though the skull was wrapped in newspaper, the free print the same artist had given me was not, and the necklace was in a blue mesh bag, clearly not trash. Ugh. So anyway, Susan had gone back to the apartment for the night, and Jason and I wandered around, ending back at Bourbon St, for a very late night. I don’t think we got home til 6am, oops.
Saturday Jason slept all day, so Susan and I left him at the apartment and went out to the French Quarter to go to the Pharmacy Museum (which unfortunately was closed for a wedding), and the French Market for a bit of shopping and food. Saturday night was the Witches Ball. Jason had found out about it about a week before we left, and it was quite expensive, but I figured you don’t go to New Orleans at Halloween and not go to a fancy costume ball. And it’s really organized by witches. It was at a fancy mansion on St Charles, and it was unfortunate that it was so cold out, because their performances and ritual were held outside, and it was just far too cold for Susan and I to be out there in our little corsets and skirts. The party was not really what I expected, it was pretty serious and calm, but I figure the high price doesn’t lend itself to a bunch of young people just there to get trashed, which is probably a good thing. There were so many amazing costumes and dresses. The open bar was top shelf liquor, but even after all my drinks, I wasn’t buzzed or anything. Can’t say the same for Susan who was feeling pretty good, and had to go back to the apartment. Jason and I went down to Bourbon St to the after party at some Tropical theme bar, which was just kinda eh, but we talked to some other people from the Ball, and sat on the balcony and people watched all the costumed folk on Bourbon. It was a bitch to get a cab (Susan ended up walking back to the apartment, Jason and I walked forever to get a cab to the Quarter), so we had an earlier night than the one before, only cuz we knew it’d take so damn long to get a ride back to Magazine.
Sunday Jason slept all day again, so Susan and I left him again, and went shopping up and down Magazine Street. There are lots of fancy stores and antique shops, but we didn’t buy much (they were spendy shops). Managed to get Jason out of bed for dinner, which was down Magazine again, at Juan’s Flying Burrito, which was super yummy. That night we cashed in the groupon I had bought to see the Hot 8 Brass Band at a place called the Howling Wolf Den with Justin before having an early night. The intent was to get up early on Monday to check out of the apartment, and head down to the Quarter for the last of acting touristy. Again, it was a bitch to get a cab on Monday, so we ended up walking through the garden district toward St Charles, which allowed us to stop by Lafayette Cemetery after all. Finally found a cab on St Charles and headed to Cafe du Monde for beignets, stopped into St Louis Cathedral in Jackson Square (which is nice, but by the standards set by all the other churches I’ve been to on travels, it’s not really fancy or special), visited the Ursuline Convent, and just walked around to more voodoo shops, and to find the absinthe decanter I had seen in a shop window (which we did find, and I did buy, it’s being shipped this week!!). Lunch was at a place called Fiorella’s Cafe which was recommended by a lady in the Voodoo museum (which we didn’t go in). By then it was time to head back to the apartment to get our bags, and wait for our ride to the airport….which never came. I had bought a groupon for roundtrip limo service, which ended up not being a limo, and ended up having a ton of issues with. I called to find out where he was, he was in traffic and didn’t know how long it would take to get us, so we were advised to call a cab. It was a little nerve wracking, there was a lot of traffic, but we made it in time and got to Atlanta. We knew we had a good chance of not getting home because of hurricane Sandy, and indeed our flight from Atl to Buffalo was canceled. We were rebooked on a Tues morning flight, but given the uncertainty of the hurricane, we didn’t know if that would end up getting canceled as well, and we needed to get home. So we asked to get on a flight that night to Detroit, where we rented a car, stayed the night with Uncle Ed and Aunt Laurice, and then we drove home on Tuesday. Unfortunately, we had to go the long way around Lake Erie, since there was no reason for me to have my passport on this trip, and thus we couldn’t go through Canada. We finally got home around 4, a nice 7 hour drive. Thankfully even though we were still driving through the “hurricane”, the wind and rain weren’t all that bad.
Had great fun, ate lots of good food, drank a whole lot, good music and good company. I enjoyed the city much more this time than last time, it didn’t smell as bad, and it wasn’t as hot haha. Though I do wish the temperature hadn’t dropped SO much.
ok back from new orleans. day 1 = bad first impression. but it got better.
Carolyn and I went to the airport at 8 in the morning and sat around for 2 hours before our flight to Detroit. Then had an hour layover in Detroit even tho we were late arriving because of storms. We got to New Orleans (NO) around 2pm, and wandered around to get our luggage and find the shuttle to the Days Inn on Canal Street. We realized we had to pay for the normal airport shuttle, which takes you wherever you have to go (but I was under the impression that the hotel provided a free one, hense the wandering around part). So we got to the Days Inn and my immediate reaction was…this doesn’t seem too great. Oh and it was like, super hot out. So we checked in and got our room….and it was interesting. It looked like a prison/dorm room…dirty, small, uncomfortable. Sara and her friend Brooke didn’t arrive until 4 ish. We had gone to get food at the Radison a block away, and they were in the room when we got back. Their first impression “Great room, huh?”. So they were hungry, and the 4 of us took the bus down to the French Quarter.
Ok so while we had been waiting for Sara and Brooke to show up, we had talked to the tourism lady in the hotel lobby. She gave us a paper map which became known as “The Danger Map”. She immediately X-ed off all the area’s across the street from our hotel and said, DO NOT for any reason go over there. Across the street was the ghetto housing projects. Lovely. And let me tell you how much false advertising the Days Inn did…they said 5 minute from the French Quarter… maybe if you had a Star Trek beaming machine. We were WAAAAAAAY down the street from it. So that’s why we took a bus. We got off and headed down Bourbon Street to find someplace to eat.
Bourbon Street is interesting. It smells bad, a tour guide later told us to avoid the puddles because it’s usually not water. It’s just all bars, some souvenier shops, and more bars. And neon, but not as cool as Vegas neon lol. And it’s not really my thing. But we ended up going to Pat O’Brians, which is pretty famous because they invented the Hurricane or something. I saw it on the travel channel, and everyone says when you go to NO you have to eat there. We all ordered drinks, they came, and Carolyn was like…there’s something alive in your drink. Brooke’s hurricane had a nice big cockroach under all the ice in the glass. So of course that put a bit of a damper on the dinner. I only ordered pie, as did Carolyn, and Sara and Brooke shared a meal, which they didn’t really want to eat after the cockroach thing. Carolyn and I drank our dark purple drinks anyway hehe. But from then on we had cockroach check in all restaurants.
After dinner we walked back down Bourbon, and we were going to get the bus back to the hotel cuz we were all tired. So we were waiting at the bus stop and the hospitality police came by and asked us how we were doing. The hospitality police are people who are paid to walk around helping tourists. They offered to walk us back to Days Inn, since it is dangerous, and they told us about free stuff we could do, and that we could have been at a hotel on St Charles for the same price as Days Inn. So the rest of the night was dedicated to changing hotels. We made reservations for thursday-monday at a Best Western on St Charles, for 5$ more a night. We had called back the hospitality police before we made the reservations to see if it was ok to stay there, and they said “eh”….they were retarded lol. We didn’t leave our room the rest of the night because we were scared of the ghetto party going on in the room on the other side of us, and we wondered if we should sleep on the floor incase shots started flying. But we managed to sleep, and get up to check out the next morning.
Next morning we had to cancel Beth’s Days Inn reservations for the next 4 days, and try to get it so that she wouldn’t get charged the fee Sara got charged when we had to switch credit cards and crap. Then we got a cab to Parc St Charles so we could leave our luggage there if they wouldn’t check us in at 9am. The cab driver was HILARIOUS! It was this big fat black man, and he was so funny. He told us about the Coke Machine – the building with the helicopter pad on top that recieves all the drug shipments from south america, and how he is always taking guys to see their “lawyers” on the top floor, where they go up with a black breifcase and come down with a brown one. And he told us about the “call girls”, and going to Montreal. I can’t really describe how funny he was. But it was a signal that day 2 would be so much better.
He dropped us off, and they let us check into the hotel. When we got there the AC was broken, so it was all hot inside, but it was ok. We got our room and just about died because it was 400 times better than the Days Inn, and we couldn’t figure out why the hospitality police had said it was “eh” lol. It was so nice. We grabbed some of the complimentary breakfast (Days Inn restaurant had been shut down completely haha), and then walked 15 blocks down St Charles instead of taking the street car, to the hotel where the Garden District tour started, because the chef at breakfast said it wasn’t that far. Walking to a walking tour in 90 degrees with 95% humidity, not that good of an idea. lol.
The Garden District = sooooooo nice!!!!! The tour was 2 hours long, and the guide talked about the houses, and history of NO etc. We went to the Lafayette Cemetery, where movies that involve NO cemeteries are filmed (like Interview with a Vampire, Double Jeopardy). We stopped and took a break at a little deli thing, and finished the tour. We stopped on a corner, and I was looking at the house and I was like…yeah that looks like Trent’s house sorta, at least from what I remembered. The tour guide proceeds to tell us how when the neighborhood found out who was moving in, they were very upset. I promptly dropped all my stuff in the middle of the street and ran over LOL. Trent’s house. Took a bunch of pictures. There’s alot more trees lining his property than were in the picture I had seen before, which was why I wasn’t sure at first glance if it was his house. But yeah…his house is SO nice. The tour guide was kinda funny…I mean I have no idea what she was really saying, because I had run away from the group, but I did hear her talking about “closer” and how when she first heard it her eyes popped out of her head, and I was like “there are better songs!” and she laughed and said it was one of her favourite songs of all time. hahaha. So we pretty much ended the tour by going by Anne Rice’s house, which is around the block from Trent’s. We were on another corner, and there was this super nice house. We were like, yeah that’s a reaaaaaaally nice house, and then she tells us it was Anne Rice’s hahah.
After the tour we went back to the hotel on the street car. We all had to take showers again, and then we went on another 15 or so block walk to find Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville for lunch. It was a cool place, decorated all fun. Headed back to the hotel again to wait for Beth. Beth went to the Days Inn instead, because apparently Dr Schneider didn’t tell her we switched hotels, even tho she knew we were. They came to the new hotel, and Beth and Sara went for dinner. Then Carolyn and I went on a walking ghost tour of the French Quarter with Beth. That was pretty cool. We got to see things down there we wouldn’t have otherwise, because it was too dangerous to walk around there alone. (The Hospitality police had told us not to go to the really famous St Louis cemeteries, which were in the ghetto, alone…and even with a tour group to be really careful, but that it was ok to walk anywhere in the Garden District alone). The tour guide took us all over, telling us about ghost sightings, and history behind them along the way. After we were going to go back to the hotel to get Sara and Brooke, and then go to Preservation Hall for some jazz, but were dead tired. We probably walked 10 miles that day LOL.
Friday was the conference. Sara and Brooke went to do the zoo and aquarium thing since Sara wasn’t going to the conference anymore. Carolyn waited for Beth and I to get back from the conference to go to the aquarium. The conference was the same as last time, but very cramped and crowded. I had to get breakfast from Starbucks in the Sheraton, cuz free breakfast was over. I got a plain bagel and a bottled water and it was almost 8 dollars!!!! Amanda had to pay for half of it since I only had 3 dollars. Amanda had gotten in Thursday as well, and her and her boyfriend ended up staying at the Days Inn the entire time. Anyway, the conference. It ended, and just as Beth and I were leaving to go back to the hotel it started to pour. Figures. Changed clothes back at the hotel, still pouring. We were starving, and wanted lunch and the rain wasn’t stopping so we just left, and got soaked….completely…as we walked to Bubba Gump’s Shrimp Company (10 blocks or more away). As soon as we got there, the sun came out. We were drenched. I stuck paper towels down my pants in the restaurant to stop it from soaking into my underwear LOL. Bubba Gumps was cool. It’s all decorated with memorabilia from the movie, and there are quotes and stuff. The food was good too. After lunch, we took our soaking wet selves to the aquarium. It was super nice. Don’t have much to say about it except it was really nice. It was an aquarium lol.
That night was dinner with the professors. Fourteen of us ended up going to a restaurant that was another 15 blocks away, called Cafe Sbisa (or something). It was me, Carolyn, Sara, Brooke, Amanda, her boyfriend, Beth…Dr Schneider and her husband, Dr Kirsh, Dr Kallio and his wife, and this other girl from Geneseo, Emily, and her mom. It was so fantastic and fun. It was insane really. I was sitting next to Dr Kirsh who I swear is my soulmate, if he wasn’t my professor and married and all that. We talked about how great the Osbournes are, and when I said I found Trent’s house he actually knew who I was talking about LOL. It was just so great. And everyone was drinking, and going nuts. Professors drunk, too funny. Our bill was 760$!!!!!!!!! It was fun. Then we all went in a big group to Bourbon Street, but then split up after that. We went to some club, and oh yeah, I had no money cuz I only had 30$ and that went to dinner. I managed to drink anyway, cuz Amanda and Sara bought me shots haha. Across the street from the club was a male strip club, so someone got the idea to go over there, so we did. It was so lame. I’m a bit…um…jaded I guess, since I’ve had the Canadian strip club experience. There was a 1 drink minimum, and a 2 dollar non-cover (non-cover because there was no cover, but they made you pay 2$ before you went in, which went to the price of your drink, which was then just properly inflated so that they were still 5/6$…i had tap water for 5$ (beth paid for it) so yeah…no cover my ass). It was funny, cuz it was so lame, and we were sorta buzzed. There was this crazy lady in the bathroom who was cleaning herself, but then proceeded to start splashing water onto the floor and washing the floor. We found out later that she splashed bleach on Sara’s jeans so now they’re all covered in blotchy pink spots. We pretty much headed back to the hotel after that.
Saturday Sara and Brooke went to the aquarium since they hadn’t gone the day before, and Carolyn, Beth and I went on a swamp tour to see alligators. It was pretty cool, even tho it was friggen hotter than hell, especially when they’d stop the boat to watch the alligators. The gators are totally trained, and come swimming up to the boat cuz the boat driver throws them big marshmellows hahah. It started to rain right after we got done with the tour and back to the hotel. Managed to get to Wendy’s for lunch before it poured, and it stopped before we left again. After lunch we took Beth to the Garden District, and did the street car thing. We just happened to come upon Trent’s house again. Ok shut up! hehe Beth hadn’t seen it, so we had to go show her!! We got onto his street, and there was a fire truck in front of his house, which did produce a slight moment of panic. So we walked over, and casually looked around, and didn’t act nutso. Still didn’t know why the fire truck was there until we were going to go around the corner and the fireman said we had to cross the street. 2 power lines were down in front of the house. So we loitered there a bit, and as we were leaving the fireman asked us if we took enough pictures of Trent’s house (which was validation as far as how truthful the tour was, cuz they could lie and we’d never know), so I was like “haha we were here the other day, we had to come back to show her” hahaha. and i was grinning like a crazy person. lol.
So we wandered around more trying to find the cemetery again, which we did. It was closed, they close them at noon on saturdays, so Beth couldn’t see it. And we found the Anne Rice store which was in the little mall thing we had passed on the tour. So we went in there, looked around at the dolls and stuff, and went by Trent’s house again on the way to show Beth Anne Rice’s house. Got back on the street car, and went around the entire street car route before going back to the hotel. Saturday night Sara, Brooke and Beth went out again. We didn’t go because we had no money.
Sunday we didn’t do much of anything either. Beth left in the morning, Sara and Brooke slept in, and then stayed in most of the day. Carolyn and I went on a mission to find Nothing Records even tho we had no idea where it was. We went to Tower Records after lunch to see if they knew, and the kid misunderstood and sent us down back into the ghetto area near the Days Inn. So after walking all that way and back, we ran into the guy from the Hospitality Police who had walked us back on the first night. We asked him and he and the hospitality police force tried to find out for us, but couldn’t. We tried an internet cafe, but the address is no longer on the nothing website (i’m pretty positive it used to be). So we never found it. We walked around the French Quarter a bit, down Royal Street where all the antique shops and art galleries are, to find the Louis and Lestat house. The Garden District tour guide had mentioned that there was a house, that was now a museum dedicated to the most popular architect in NO, that Anne Rice based Louis and Lestat’s house on. But since it was so hot out, we couldn’t remember much of anything that she had told us so we didn’t know where it was. On the Ghost tour we ended up passing a house that was a museum to the architect guy, but the house didn’t look like anything I remember being described in the books. But we went back to find it anyway and take pictures. And now I’m pretty sure it is the right house (because as I was reading Queen of the Damned in the airport, it mentioned Lestat’s Royal Street house). Sunday night, spent back at the hotel. No one had any money, and Sara was still hungover haha. We did got out for a bit and rode the free ferry across the river and back to view the city at night. But that was about it.
So today, Monday, we had enough time to check out, get lunch, and go back to the antique stores and art galleries on Royal before getting the shuttle to the airport. Got home around 10:30. I plan on getting my pictures tomorrow, possibly scanned and up tomorrow night. It was a good time despite the horrendous oppressive heat. That whole Vegas dry heat, South humidity thing that I always thought was bullshit…totally not bullshit!!! lol. Vegas was so much more tolerable than NO. I’m not too sure how anyone lives in NO, even tho I had a good time. If I was rich I would buy a house in the Garden District, but it’d be a winter home. I’d probably never go to the French Quarter. It was cool to see and experience but….I’d much rather stay uptown.
I think I got pretty much everything. Carolyn will probably remind me of some stuff tomorrow so expect changes and updates. Hope everyone had a nice week.