New Orleans!

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.

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