Tag Archives: New Orleans

I’ll take my beer to go.

The Superdome was right in front of us as we got off the highway. It was cool in a “I’ll never go in there and have no desire to ever go in there” kind of way.

The first thing I noticed about New Orleans was that every other street name is in French. Which makes sense if you know anything the history of New Orleans. Well, that’s what I would guess. I know nothing about the history of New Orleans. The first street we turned on to was Tchoupitoulas Street. My guess is CHOO-PA-TOO-LAS but who really cares.

Stepping out of the car was the most disgusting thing I’d done all trip. The air was so thick you could have sucked the water out of it with a straw. It was the complete opposite of what I’d been living in for the past two months and the past five days in particular. One thing I sure did not miss was humidity. And mosquitoes with their diseases.

Our first stop was for dinner at a restaurant whose name is escaping me. We chose it because it served pretty authentic (or at least authentic to the tourists) Creole food. Needless to say I was excited. Betz and I took a seat near the back that gave us a view into the kitchen. We ordered our food and watched the cooks prepare it. I accidentally made eye contact with one of them. He asked me “how’s it going” and instead of responding “good” I averted my eyes looked straight down and grabbed my glass of water. I made a promise as a child not to talk to strangers and I don’t break promises damn it.

Our food came out. Betz ordered alligator and gumbo. I got rabbit (herein referred to as bunny) with dumplings and boudin. Boudin (or boudain, depending where you get it), from what I remember, varies in ingredients but generally includes a type of sausage, rice, and mixture of spices. Mine was fried. It was like hearing Susan Boyle sing for the first time in my mouth.

But here’s the big guy:

BunnyBunny. And to be entirely cliche, it tastes like chicken. I could tell it wasn’t chicken, but probably only because I knew it was Bugs’s cousin. It too was great. Betz’s food was good too, although I wasn’t crazy about the gumbo.

Off we went. The sun had already gone down, but there was no way we were going to the campsite before strolling down Bourbon Street. For those who are unaware, Bourbon Street is in New Orleans’s famous French Quarter. It’s beautiful area of the city that has elaborate French architecture. We walked through a bit of it before getting to our destination.

Although it was Wednesday, Rue Bourbon still gave off the stench of sin. Bourbon street has no open container laws, so we got a beer from a “to-go” bar that was really just a window facing the street.

Walking up and down that street forced me to reconsider my definition of eccentric. Every bar had people yelling at you to pressure you to come in. Strip clubs linked the bars together and the strippers were in the street yelling at you to come in. Street performers weren’t your typical singing act or magician. They were this:

Crazy monsterI think that picture speaks for itself. Mostly because I can’t say a damn thing about it.

The best part of the night was the end. Just as we were nearing the end of the street, we heard a band playing. As we got closer, we saw a huge group of men playing everything from the trumpet and saxophone to the bass drum and snares in southern big band style. Two women were dancing around to the music in front of the band (they were either with the band or on drugs, or both). We watched until they stopped playing. It was the most authentic New Orleans I could have seen in my short time there. It’s a memory I will never forget.

We headed to the campsite. As I laid the tent out to set it up I looked over to see the biggest rabbit in the wild. This thing was huge. I scared it away by letting it smell its nephew on my breath.

Remember the humidity? Well if anything, it had gotten worse. As we laid in the tent, sweat was pouring down my face. I didn’t move an inch and yet the sweat didn’t stop. I don’t know how people in the Deep South do it, but I give them props.

And I give them deodorant. Lots of deodorant.

 

BONUS: here’s a middle aged woman acting exactly as you’d expect a middle aged woman to act.

Crazy monster and guy in weird costume

 

Don’t hold your breath.

Now that we separated ourselves from the situation in the living room, we got ready and hit downtown Austin. If you’ve never been to Austin, go there. It’s awesome. We headed to 6th street which is packed with bars and, on the weekends, is closed to vehicles. Also no open container laws exist. Which is heavenly for the drunk on the go.

We bar hopped a bit until finding our way to Pete’s. Pete’s is a dueling piano bar. We stayed there for a while, listening to the best live piano I’ve ever heard and having a few beers. We decided to check out a few other bars, but alas, we ended up going back to Pete’s and (poorly) singing the night away.

Pete'sAt one point Betz rode a mechanical bull. Those pictures (and the video) mysteriously disappeared from my camera roll. I have my suspicions as to where they went.

Anyway, the next day we got up and headed out for our longest drive of the trip – a nearly 9 hour trek to New Orleans. We woke up at 10, so needless to say we got a much later start than intended. And, as always, we had to suffer through the desolate landscape. Only this time my old friend Mr. Hangover poked his ass into the car. Dick.

When we were nearly out of Texas, we realized that we hadn’t gotten any true Texas food. We stopped in Beaumont to pick up some brisket. It was one of the best choices we made on the entire trip. It melted in my mouth and was the perfect hangover food. I ate it so quickly that I may or may not have eaten a few pieces of the paper wrapper and my fingers.

Although I crossed the Mississippi in Iowa on the way out to LA, I was excited to see it down south where it’s the behemoth that I’ve always heard it to be. I checked the map every so often to make sure I didn’t miss it.

Then I zoned out and missed it. We passed through Baton Rouge and I kept staring at the buildings instead of checking out the river or snapping any pictures. I’m not sure if I have some type of mental disability or am just really, really stupid.

Finally, for the first time since we left Los Angeles, we saw grass. Grass! Turns out, Louisiana has a ton of it. And it’s always soggy. That state is really low. Like super low. Below sea level low.

A cool thing about the change in scenery is that we got to see a lot of bayous – something neither of us have seen before. They’re basically lakes with trees growing out of them. Cool for 5 minutes, just there for the next 3 hours. And it was pretty irritating that I didn’t see any racist Disney characters floating along in a canoe playing a banjo.

The BayouSee – lake with trees sans Disney characters. I assume there is an alligator or two in there.

After what felt like an eternity, we finally saw the New Orleans skyline. You can see it from miles and miles away as you cross a huge bayou on a raised highway. When you’re in southern Louisiana, it’s like you’re always driving over a bridge.

I can’t imagine how many little kids have passed out trying to hold their breath.