Friday, March 10, 2017

New Orleans - Impressions and Temptations

OK I think I am finally recovered from my visit to New Orleans, and then again maybe not.  Parts of it so reminded me of Nashville.  People everywhere, all ages, couples, groups, singles.  If you had anything to celebrate these 2 cities seem to be the place to go.  Now if I had my way, my children and my husband would never go to New Orleans without me.  I would need to be there to keep an eye on them.  :)

Our hotel, the Astro Crown Plaza, was on the corner of Canal St (a lovely street with lots of big hotels) and Bourbon St.  Day or night you could sit on a corner of Bourbon St and be entertained for hours.  I am surprised you don't need to show ID to be on it.  Right behind our hotel was the Acme Oyster Bar, from 11 am in the morning until closing there was a line-up to get in.  I was trying to figure out why everyone was lined up on this grungy street beside the garbage cans, but I guess Oysters are very popular in New Orleans.

Bourbon Street has balconies all the way up and down the street and by nighttime, you couldn't get a spot on them.  I gather you stand there with your beads and when a young man or girl comes down you offer to throw them your beads for a little peek or a full tops-up experience if you are lucky.  Jim was lucky and he didn't have any beads, he was just walking down the street.  When you hear the roar it's impossible not to stop to watch.

Nothing like some great cajun and creole spices to bring home to thank the kids for taking care of the cats :)

Yes that is Darth Vadar above, there were entertainers every 100 feet.  Most of them had permits and that was their spot for a couple of hours, then they would pack up their equipment and move off to the next corner.

There seemed to be a number of Irish men wandering around.  Seems like NOLA goes from Mardi Gras to St. Patrick Celebrations.  I presume these Irish gentlemen didn't give up alcohol for Lent.

If you had a talent, you could work the streets.  Musicians, Mimes, Magicians, Poets, whatever your expertise was there was someone willing to pay you.  Very important to remember that Nashville and NOLA are still cash societies.  The acts both indoors and outdoors live off their tips.  The restaurants and bars are good with debit and credit.

I would have to say someone is very happy to be in New Orleans.
These young men were on Bourbon St on Friday and then down by Decatur on Saturday.  It was like a gigantic jam session, both days new musicians showed up to join the original 4.  They were amazing.  Nashville had a lot of fiddlers and NOLA had a lot of brass instruments.
I was looking for a Mother of the Groom dress, too bad this was so short :)

We passed 2 of these young men.  They typed, on an old manual typewriter, your very own poem.  A new twist on street entertainers for Jim and I.

After an amazing dinner at K-Paul's, we headed down to Frenchman Street.  Thinking this might be more our speed over Bourbon Street.  It was a little tamer on the road, but the bars were hopping.  We stopped in at Bamboula's and stayed for 2 acts, both amazing, before we headed back up to Bourbon St and our hotel.


I am not sure why, normally I am pretty good at directions (unless I am in the Toronto underground) and Jim is amazing, but somehow we got turned around and ended up in this beautiful residential area.  

 Rather than look at our phones, we just kept walking, like eventually we will find Bourbon St, it is so noisy and busy, right.  NOPE.  Thankfully we met this charming man who stopped us and asked us what we were doing and did we have any idea where we were going.  Of course we do we are going to Bourbon St, he looked at us like we were from another planet and said we probably wouldn't survive the next block and to follow him.  We had met him earlier when he was trying his hand at getting people to give him money.  His schtick was "I know where you got your shoes".  $20 bucks and I'll tell you.  Jim talked him down to $5.  And he said "look man they are on your feet and a good job with how far we got to walk".  Jim handed over the $5 and another $15 when he got us to Bourbon Street.  The best $20 we spent all week, he was very entertaining.  I became, "Mama", as I stopped to take pictures he would yell back "keep up Mama, I am going to get you home safe".  And he did.

 There seems to be no rules for alcohol, Fritzels where we stopped for a beer on the way home, had a "To Go Bar".  There was nothing unusual in seeing people walking down the streets with bottles of beer or large margaritas.

We didn't hear any country music in NOLA, but we did hear alot of the old favourites that my parents used to listen and dance too, a fair bit of rock and a lot of originals.

Time to head back, it took a while as Fritzel's is at the top end of Bourbon St, so we got to see Bourbon St at midnight just as things were heating up.

 The beads were flying.  You would hear this roar up and down the street and sure enough someone was giving into temptation.  I can't believe the balconies could hold so many people.  I also can't imagine what Mardi Gras was like, they said they had 750,000 people in for the weekend and you couldn't even cross the streets.  

14,000 steps - definitely time to say Good Night, see you in the morning New Orleans.

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