New Orleans is beautiful. Mardi Gras beads hang from picturesque trees like spanish moss. Everything is old and dirty and perfect. I think I can safely speak for both of us when I say that we had the time of our life here.
Getting to New Orleans was a bit of an adventure. Lots of driving down grassy (often dull) stretches of road in Alabama. We found a couple really awesome abandoned buildings (pictures to come, don’t worry), and I found out that I was running in the local election for a judge’s position. We were tired and maybe even a little cranky until Mobile, AL which was a pretty neat town and had some of the charm we would find through Louisiana. We cruised down 90, by the ocean, facing a beautiful sunset. We pulled over and ate dinner under a full rainbow over a pier. Yes, we’re just THAT good. By the time we rolled in to town, it was 9:30 and we were wind-blown, exhausted, and looking forward to bed. But that is not what you do in New Orleans on a Saturday night. no. oh no.
We went to Bourbon street.
We got wine and daiquiris TO GO. and drank them while WALKING DOWN THE STREET. IN PUBLIC. It’s LEGAL.
That was the biggest cluster of people and jazz and drinking and strippers and men dangling beads over balconies and drag queens and brides to be and business men and homeless men and drunk men and women dressing in full glitter costumes and masks and voodoo and hipsters and hippies and tourists and poets and every last one of them were partying. The jazz electrified the air. the alcohol poured freely into the street. everyone was dancing and singing. I was shamelessly blinding all of them with my flash and collecting several rolls full of wild ecstasy.
The day after is a blur of shooting and exploring. The highlight being a bar Mary barged into for a cold beer. Our feet hurt, we were tired from walking everywhere, we needed a rest and we were hungry. Unfortunately they didn’t have any food I could eat at the bar, so Mary had a beer, I had a water, my feet had a break, and we planned to jet out as soon as we finished; but these unexpected times are the times when shit happens you won’t forget. Mary left for the bathroom and Mary, our bartender, came out from the kitchen and she and I started chatting and venting about bar patrons who give you an ungodly amount of unwarranted, personal information and we were neck deep in a conversation about suicides and parties when Mary returned and the conversation only got brighter and more tangled as Paul, the other bartender (BT Mary’s brother from another mother, and he declared her his sister from another mister) came out and joined in with us. We found ourselves accepting 100 proof minty shots, the four of us shooting and coughing and crying, and we bonded with New Orleans right then and there. I gave BT Mary our bumper sticker and she let Mary put it on the bar mirror and we took pictures, and I tell you that we all must have been friends in a former life. They felt like family. It was wonderful.
Last night we partied pretty solidly. A lot of wine. One shot that tasted like swill. Lively conversation with our hostess, Coleen and her friend Justin. Bar hopping. A blur of loud opinions and debates and stories. A blur. This morning found us crawling out of the French Quarter, “like iguanas,” doing the walk of shame that can only come, I believe, from New Orleans. Here, it’s accepted, expected and widely done. Here, you live your life and that is your life and you will not be judged or scorned or bothered. I fucking love this jazzy, spicy, dirty city.
Holy Hallelujah. I love New Orleans.
I had no idea what to expect. Truthfully, I wasn’t expecting anything. I mean, I thought it was cool we were going to drive through, and even better when I found out that we had a place to stay for free. But I’ve been so focused on getting to Arizona (and definitely getting out of Alabama) that I didn’t really give New Orleans much thought.
We drove through Alabama all day and as Valerie said above, we found some cool abandoned sites like this one
Abandoned post office off of Route 5 in Alabama. Taken using 35mm Kodak Gold 400 speed film. M.Miller
But by the end of Alabama we were cranky. Mobile was much prettier than I thought it would be, and we stopped for coffee. While we stopped and consulted the map, we realized that we both suck at U.S geography. Both of us thought that Louisiana was the next state.
“Okay, after we leave here we’ll drive for an hour and then totally be in New Orleans.”
EXCEPT THAT THERE IS A STATE BETWEEN LOUISIANA AND ALABAMA. And it’s called Mississippi.
Apparently I’m not smarter than a 5th grader. I apologize Mississippi. I didn’t mean to overlook you.
So we arrive in New Orleans around 9:30pm and immediately headed out to Bourbon street with Coleen (who graciously put up with us, our luggage, and our antics for 2 days). It was AWESOME. I know that if you’re a native here you’re probably thinking “Oh God, another tourist on Bourbon street. How original”
Yeah, well you can suck it. I LOVED it. The people, the atmosphere, and energy, the COCKTAILS TO GO. As Valerie stated above, we were both stoked. We took many photos, had many drinks, and stumbled back to the apartment.
Sunday was just as wonderful, exciting and unexpected. We walked around as much as we could and discovered that New Orleans is just as cool during the day when you’re sober, as it is when you’re shit faced at night. I wont re-tell the bar story above, but needless to say we were thrilled. Now our sticker resides at Mike’s Place off of Canal St. Go check it out.
Sunday night was just going to be relaxing with wine at a courtyard. Except that one glass turned into a bottle and then another bottle, and then Colleen’s friend Justin came and more drinks were had. Then we headed over to another bar where more drinks were had (can you see a pattern here?). This bar was great because as you’re drinking your beer (or shots of unknown liquor like Val did) you could watch the B slasher movie on the screen behind you.
New Orleans has the coolest bars.
If you’re still reading this, thank you. We didn’t mean to write a novel, and even more happened than we wrote. Swamp rats, transvestites, showers with wrenches, 24 hour bars, serenading bicyclists, strangers beds, cats with extremely small legs are just parts of the many experiences we had that made up our stop in New Orleans. If you haven’t been, I highly recommend it.
I felt like Jack Kerouac this weekend