Dear Diary: “New Awlins”

Howdy,

So… I’ve been out for the last week. Hopefully, no one noticed, as I managed to keep the post schedule roughly on time. Where was I, you ask? On a business trip to New Orleans, which my boss so graciously paid for, and also allowed my wife to go on with me. I know, pretty dope, right? 

The business side of the trip was productive and informative and only lasted for two of the four days we were there. But we all know that ain’t what you’re interested in hearing about. Our experience of the city is the real point of interest. Neither I or my wife had ever been to New Orleans, and right off the plane, we were freshly aware that we’d entered a whole new realm of reality.

Where to start…?

That smooth, drawn out southern accent, the manners, the French words flying around… and let’s not forget the food. Etoufee, gumbo, jambalaya, lobster mac, crab legs, fried gator, beignets, crawfish, blackened shrimp. I think you get the picture. One simply does not have enough time to try it all. But we gave it our best effort. And I think we managed to make a pretty damn good dent in the menu while we were there.

But food is only one aspect of the culture. There were sights galore. Palm trees, trollies, cafes, old buildings right next to the new, and the mother of all tourist attractions, Bourbon Street. The first thing that hit us was the smell of gutter and cajun spice. It’s not exactly an enticing combination, but it certainly fit the place. Bourbon Street was pocked with holes, and wet with alcohol and the dregs of the city. And the foot traffic, oh the foot traffic. It was like walking Time Square. Shoulder to shoulder, crowds of folks moving left, right, and center. Street callers stood on corners and on curbs trying their damnedest to lure us into bars, night clubs, and cabarets. Neon signs illuminated every business on both sides of the street. Surly characters stood under them, well-dressed and hardly dressed at all. It was altogether a magnificent sight. And an easy place to get into trouble.

We did Bourbon Street, Royal, Frenchmen, New Orleans, Canal. We went to Cafe Dumond for cafe au lait and beignets. (and oh… the beignets…) We saw the Mississippi. We bought souvenirs for the family. I took a picture with a bachelorette party, my wife took one with a bachelor party. We sang karaoke, perused local art, watched street shows, took in the sights… We did almost everything there was to do.

Except drink.

So, the last night we were there, we decided to try some of the local alcohol. We started with tried and true whiskey and beer (Makers and Guinness, in my case), and moved onto more exotic things like hand grenades, and eventually… the now infamous “fish bowl.” Imagine an actual fish bowl filled right to the brim with Kool-Aid, dirty water, and rufies. Or that’s what we joked was in it anyway. It was some kinda jungle juice, an amalgamation of various alcohols. Enough to send us back to the hotel with a healthy buzz two hours later. But you can’t experience New Orleans properly if you ain’t drankin’ a lil bit of the local hooch. It puts a little slant and spin on an already topsy-turvy place. Which ain’t to imply it needed it, but it certainly seemed to put the final touches on the trip.

Anyway, we survived the trip and made it back in town just in time for Easter Sunday. While things may not be completely back to normal, my writing schedule should be. In theory. Jet lag is still kicking my arse.

It’s another Monday, but we’ll make it through together.

So, until next time…

Go forth and conquer,

J. D.

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