New Orleans was good for us.
In my 3 original emails I wrote:
There’s a lot to say about New Orleans and I’ll have to send out at least a couple of emails on the subject…….but here’s a video that I uploaded to YouTube that will give you an idea of what the “Bourbon Street” experience is like. You are surrounded and suffused by a powerful living vibe. You’re in a constant state of sensory overload as there is so much going on all six directions and your eyes, ears, nose and skin can’t catch it all fast enough. Takes a bit to start filtering out the bland and focusing on the most interesting stuff.
This video was made later in the day…about 6 pm as there was enough light for me to shoot and the street had begun to fill for a fun Friday night. You could actually feel the anticipation and excitement in the air…..it was a bit of a rush……the crowd was all full of good humored people just looking to have some fun.
You just can’t capture the New Orleans night life in still pics……..and this video is a poor armature attempt…….but I hope it works for you.
At the end, as Pat walks past me and into the bar, look at what the guy on the right side of the scene is doing with the “creature”. People just want to have fun!
I did follow Pat into the bar………..more later.
And the Part Deux email:
Its a big city and varies widely from place to place like any other.
Early in the day we tried to drive into one of the more notable cemeteries and found we just couldn’t find a way in. Very strange…..no entry point? We’ve been using our GPS (aka Brunhillda) and she has been fabulous at getting us around….but seemed to be failing us here.
Side comment: I’m in love with Brunhillda…and so is Pat. We both agree that our GPS enhances the driving holiday experience in so many ways. She completely relieves all the stress of finding your destination………she tells you exactly what to do and you just drive. All of those moments where the driver is over-anxiously asking the co-pilot Left or right honey? Here comes the split….I gotta know RIGHT NOW……left or right?!? And the equally stressed out co-pilot is wrangling with several maps..often upside down….and can’t even decide what their own left and right is anymore. All that screaming and crying and the near death experiences of impending car crashes are gone…..replaced with the perfectly formed, calm and authoritative voice of Brunhillda saying “in 800 meters stay left”. Ahhh, what a pleasure! I’m OK with driving in challenging city conditions and the brutal highway traffic jams that surround cities……….like most men I just need a good woman telling me what to do. I’m in love with Brunhillda!
Anyway…..we couldn’t get into the cemetery, and it didn’t look that interesting from the outside anyway so we diverted into a nearby section of rich homes. Some were very impressive…..southern architecture and the fabulous landscaping that is only possible in these tropical climates. We really only had 1.5 days in New Orleans so we had to choose where we’d spend our time so we went back to our hotel and walked to the French Quarter. Its only about 10 minutes from our hotel which was well situated between the business district and the French Quarter with the Bourbon Street entertainment area.
Tons to see and so you sort of map out a route and wander it. The goddess of good weather (Pat) has been holding up her end as usual…….it’s been just about perfect for us. We got a ~30 minute deluge while walking – see pic – and it was easy to stay under a covered section of the sidewalk and wait for it to pass.
At lunch we found a place where we got an outside table on the 2nd floor balcony – pic included – where we could eat and see the world go by……..Perfect!
More wandering after lunch where we saw both Royal Street and Bourbon Street. Royal is the place for whitebread tourists with great antique shops and high end hotels and expensive restaurants……..all swimming in that New Orleans risque persona…….. so it is the Gomorah side. While Bourbon is obviously the more of the Sodom choice…….all the really interesting stuff is there. The usual rules are relaxed here and from what I saw at night the city police seem to just be trying to keep it from exploding into full fledged rioting. They show their presence and even have mounted (horse) police out to quell any “crowd control” problems if they do arise. When they ride right beside you (I mean the horse is brushing against you) in a thick crowd you instantly know how intimidating a 1,400 pound horse can be…..you just know you do NOT want that animal knocking you down or stepping on you. All the usual North American restrictions on perversion and gross activities are ignored here…….these “choices” are actually celebrated on Bourbon. In truth I think its obvious that the city wants to keep the Bourbon Street experience just what it is…….the touring draw is incredible. Its tame stuff but I included a pic of the Bad Boys bar where I think you can find anything you might want.
I suspect that a bunch of people come to New Orleans to satisfy their “appetites” because like Vegas…..What happens on Bourbon Street stays on Bourbon Street.
We went back to our hotel shortly after lunch for our Senior Living after lunch nap….to recharge our batteries for the evening’s action…….holy cow we might be out till 10 pm!
Love Don and Pat
PS…..we’re in our condo in Gulf Shores, Alabama and we have a great internet connection here which makes this a lot easier. More later……
And finally the Street Music email:
We got back into touring the Royal and Bourbon street areas later in the afternoon. The sun was going down at about 4:30 which lends that golden sort of colored light to everything.
We found a bunch of street music was going on. I filmed a bit of a 5 piece group playing “Everyone wants to be a cat”. I apologize for the shaky camera work. I haven’t done much video before and I’m just learning.
Take note of the footwear and socks on the players…….casual and fun? The Rasta guy is holding a yellow-green drink that is called a “grenade” and is sold in a couple of places here. It rained hard for 30 minutes earlier in the day….a good thing …. I think that helped clean the streets…..the explosive result of too many grenades had been splashed out here and there and the place needed to be hosed down.
Folks were putting money into the Tip Pail with amazing speed. I can’t guess how much they were making but it seemed considerable…..the pail was 1/3 full when I looked in.
Two girls, Tanya and Dorise, were playing in another street and they were also quite talented. I searched and quickly found this video of them and it’s interesting to see they have their own website and a ton of people have posted videos of them…….one link provided here because I didn’t really get any good video of them myself.
It was fun and some of the street music is really quite good.
Don and Pat
Another email about the evening “party” experience:
As the sun went down the street action rose. It was Friday night, 80 F and we’re in the middle of March break…..a perfect time to be in Nawlins.
Its hard to describe, but at about 7 pm the streets suddenly were closed to cars and sort of magically, in what seemed like about 15 minutes, they were flooded with hoards of people all looking to have some good natured fun. It was like some sort of spontaneous event they way these people just appeared out of nowhere. One moment there were small groups of people watching the street music……and then suddenly the streets were completely full from side to side. And everyone was drinking.
The street people were outrageous. I know this sounds bad but it was sort of like being at a zoo where you see weird animals that you don’t want to get too close to …… but you want to see them live. The “horny” girl in the pic with the pasties was one of the tamer semi-nude performers. One girl who was about 25 years old was wandering the streets with a hand made sign that said “Tips 4 Pics”. She was wearing only a pair of women’s underwear. Nothing else. The underwear was not really clean and it was light colored and pretty revealing. She had painted out her nipples into black stars – it looked like she had done it with a Sharpie? She was a bit on the flat side and not really an attractive girl ………and most damning, her sign indicated that she had poor cursive skills. Just another Nawlins street person trying to make a few bucks.
We wandered the streets – in and out of bars (pic included). We avoided the “Hand Grenade” drinks….I’d seen the potential of an explosive voiding event…..it was splashed on the street in a bunch of places. The bar music was great. The beer may have been helping ……… but Pat and I really enjoyed it. We saw a bunch of different performers and styles…..most were definitely affecting a southern jazzy touch to their core style.
Finally we found a restaurant where we wanted to eat…..and we snagged the best table in the house. We were literally on the edge of the street. We had great food and we could see the tourists and the freakazoids rolling right past and close enough to touch. Yeah, a couple of kids leaned across the planter right over our table space and tried to hit me up for money but it just added to the fun of having dinner right in the street flow. Its worth noting that some of the other tourists were really freaky looking. I know there is a wide range to human body shapes and sizes but OMG!
By the time we got home we felt like we’d had a real Nawlins experience.
We drove out of town the early the next morning to get to the swamp tour in time for the 11:30 boat…….more on that later.
Don and Pat