Prior to leaving for New Orleans, my buddy Chris promised me it would be the best weekend of my life.
He hit the nail on the head. It WAS the best weekend of my life in a very very long time.
I first met Chris when he was a Staff Coordinator for the Jim Stork Campaign in Fort Lauderdale, FL. I was a volunteer willing to do anything and Chris was the totally sweet guy that listened to me incessantly babble about blogs.(Not much has changed, right??)
Soon I became the official Stork Blogger and hooked the campaign up to the wonders of Daily Kos . Even tho Stork eventually pulled out of the race due to medical problems and the outcome of the elections of 2004 did not produce the winners we had hoped for, the saving grace of that whole period was the good friends I made by volunteering for Stork.
So as I arrived in NOLA, Chris in his infinite wisdom and fully understanding my nature of being an anal-retentive-control-freak, presented me with a 2 page single-spaced itinerary of events he had scheduled for us during my stay. Can you say TOTALLY FREAK OUT? Yep, that was me. Nice.
After dropping off my luggage at The W- New Orleans French Quarter, we started on our mission to drink as much as humanely possible and have fun while doing it. First stop, The Columns. What a gorgeous hotel! It's where I had originally wanted to stay but they were booked. We sat on the patio and caught up over Bloody Mary's. Originally we had wanted mojitos, but it seemed that everywhere we went that weekend had a huge shortage of mint.
Then on to The Boot, the unofficial bar of the Tulane crowd. Had my first Jager Bomb...then another, then another, then one more...and then we took this picture...
More drinks, dancing, laughing, more drinks, more pix.
Here's Chris and Adam.
Night turned into morning turned into thinking I could stay out long enough to close the boot at 6 am. Almost but not quite. Maybe next time.
After strolling thru shops, galleries, and yeah, we had to hit at least one bar, it was off to the Ferett Street JazzFest. When I originally saw this on my itinerary, I was super jazzed thinking there was a whole festival dedicated to cute little fuzzy ferrets parading up and down the street. No, not so much. Pronounced 'Fu-RETTE'. Not ferret, Kath. Still, it was fun and we got to hear Charmaine Neville as well as sample Crawfish and Shrimp Pasta and Red Beans and Rice...all homemade and 100% Nawlins authentic.
Got the personalized tour, starting with his dorm room then followed by the rest of the campus. Some interesting facts :
* When the library was designed and built, they forgot to factor in the weight of the books. So the library is slowing sinking and will eventually have to be replaced.
* One of the buildings (I can see it in my mind but can't remember the name) was designed so the windows resemble a punch-card spelling out Tulane beats LSU...Engineer humor...go figure!
It's a gorgeous close-knit campus and one that Chris is extremely proud to call home for one more year and maybe for longer than that, depending on where he attends Law School.
In the quest for an authentic New Orleans dining experience, it had to be Jacques-Imo's . Chris' favorite and it was fantastic. How can you go wrong with a meal that starts with Alligator Cheesecake? Fried Corn Muffins? Spinach Salad? Food was to die for and no way was there room for dessert. We both agreed the dinner was comfortably fullfilling.
See for yourself! Is this a happy guy or what?
After leaving and agreeing we felt perfectly content on the food front, what else was there to do but hit Bruno's for a game of pool. And beer. Gotta have the beer. Played a couple games, had a couple beers, met a couple of Chris' friends and called it an early night around 3:30 in the morning.
The next day we visited the Lower 9th Ward where the levee broke. No pictures were taken for several reasons. #1, I felt like it we were at a sacred burial ground and it would have been disrespectful to the lives that were lost at that site. #2, pictures just couldn't have conveyed the horrible devastation. It wouldn't have done it justice. We spent about an hour in the area...walking and driving and talking and sometimes just being silent. Very moving.
Then it was time for lunch so Fresco's fit the bill, and in the spirit of 'I'll try anything once this weekend', I had my first ever iced coffee drink. I don't like coffee, coffee drinks or anything resembling mocha, coffee, etc. But what the hell, we visited a cute little independant coffee shop and I walked out with an iced mocha that was damn tasty. The whipped cream helped too.
After coffee, it was off the the airport a little early so Chris could hit his LSAT class.
The weekend flew by much too quickly, was beyond fun and succeeded in making me an "I HEART NOLA' convert.
It's an awesome city with strength, beauty, fortitude and so much potential. I hope it stays safe from hurricanes and harm for many years to come.
Thanks Chris...you outdid yourself at giving me an absolutely wonderful weekend. Can't wait to show you Denver before the end of the summer. We're waiting for you.