November 05, 2009

the big easy.

What a great weekend! M, and our two friends D and A headed to New Orleans last Friday, after a quick detour to Jackson, Mississippi. It seems that Miss D was able to win 2 free passes to the Voodoo Music Fest that was happening Halloween Weekend down in New Orleans. I was extremely excited when she told M and I that we would be able to use the passes one night while we were there. YES, FREE! We planned to head to City Park Saturday evening to catch KISS. I was so excited.

While driving we hit quite a bit of rain, as well as some rush hour traffic on the way into the city. Strange usually traffic flows away from the city during this time but we used this to our advantage and looked on either side of the bridges to try to spot crocs in the waters (no luck).

Hotel Lobby Chandeler

We finally arrived at the hotel, a bit tired but ready for what the city had to offer. Our room was AMAZING! I've only stayed in one other Marriott, in Baltimore, Maryland, and this one in New Orleans did not disappoint in the least. Yes for weeks I'd been dreaming of the goose down comforter that would lay on top of our bed - thankfully they still used those. I was so pleased.

Our bed for the weekend. So comfy!

We had a room on the 19th floor, the view was amazing even if it was through rain on the first night.

Our first night in town we decided to brave the elements and hit up some where to eat and get a drink. Everyone had visions of Po' Boys dancing in their heads, I myself just wanted a Hurricane and something in my belly, but I wasn't sure what. We finally stumbled upon a place that sounded really good. Upon reading the menu and turning to walk to the front door we heard a voice calling to us from behind. The man said "The door is over here."  We quickly walked toward him and as we entered the door we realized we had been fooled into coming into a different restaurant. At first I was a bit worried but our server was amazing, friendly and attentive - and the food, well lets just say it was very, very tasty! I devoured my Ahi Tuna, steamed veggies and garlic potatoes - NOM!
Miss A, M and Me @ dinner our first night.

After we ate our fill we headed out to Bourbon Street. The evening was rather tame with the rain. Lots of people but not a huge crowd. The energy was amazing out there, and I was instantly in love with the town.

M, Me and Miss D on Bourbon Street 190 Octane & Hurricanes in hand. 

We walked all over the French Quarter - Miss D showed us so many different nooks and hide outs and bars it was awesome. I was happy to have someone that knew so much about her surroundings with us. It gave us a truer sense of the French Quarter, instead of just saying on Bourbon Street with all the other tourists we were able to dip in some dive bars and see different sights off the beaten path. We turned in a bit early the first night (around 1 AM) - I think we were all eager to be bright eyed and bushy tailed the next morning for all the activities we all wanted to do during our weekend in town.  As always the first order of business when waking is a) getting coffee and b) getting food. We didn't actually make it out of the room before 11:30 am, so instead of the breakfast I was anticipating, we ended up eating at a great little place in the French Quarter called Pierre Maspero's. If you are ever in the French Quarter, find this place (see the sign on the corner of St. Louis and Charles Street) you will not be disappointed.
Best place we ate, hands down and M's head

We all were so starving we probably would have eaten anything at that point but the night before Miss A mentioned eating a Hot Roast Beef Sandwich somewhere back home and the thought of that was fresh in my mind. I was so excited when I started to read the menu and behold, they had a hot roast beef and gravy po' boy sandwich. I knew right then and there it would be mine... complete with fries and extra gravy for dipping. This was hands down the best meal I had while in New Orleans, the gravy was perfect and the sandwich was crispy and gooey all at the same time! I left fat and happy that afternoon!

THE Roast Beef Po'Boy (this one is actually Miss A's Sandwich, not mine)

Waiting for the Trolley to City Park 
(note these are his regular sunglasses he didn't just buy them for his costume)

We spent some time walking around the French Quarter and then decided we needed to head to City Park so that Miss D could pick up her free passes to VoodooFest. We waited patiently and took a trolley ride to the park. Once at the park you could feel the vibe of good times in the air. There was music coming from the area where VooDooFest was happening and people were all dressed up in Halloween gear for the day. I wanted to reserve my costume for later that evening. Once Dana got her passes we decided to take a walk around the park to enjoy the old trees and the different areas of the park. I was amazed at how huge these trees covered in moss were. They were so pretty. I wish I could grow a tree like this. The branches that stretched down to the ground begged you to come and relax on them, and M did.

My favorite image of M from the weekend.

I took a million pictures of the trees but this was by far my favorite shot of the afternoon at City Park. After walking around we all figured we should head back to the room to relax for a bit, but halfway back on the trolley we decided instead we should try to hit up the small Mall in town to find the Fat Tuesday's there. After a quick pit stop at the room, and M taking time to put on his costume we headed over to the mall.

Close up of his Eye Make-Up and awesome hair.

Walking through the mall was more entertaining than I had imagined. Everyone who saw M, didn't quite know what to make of him. Was he serious? Was he for real? Who dresses like that? Why is his eye so black? Literally I yelped laughing a few times after seeing people's reactions to him and his best Hangover impersonation. Seriously, he does a great Zack Galifianakis impersonation. The guy at the Fat Tuesday's booth fixing our mixed drinks even thought M had a black eye and had gotten into a fight the night before. That speaks volumes for Miss D's make-up skills!

Getting our 190 Octane Fix at Fat Tuesdays and
Enjoying the view of the Mississippi River

Finally it was Halloween Eve. After scarfing down some dinner from the Food Court (not so great Chinese food that only cost $7.00 so it was a score of sorts). We all started to get ready for our night out on the town. (Funny Side Note: M has such fabulous hair, really fabulous hair, that when we tried to mess it up to get him in character - it wouldn't lay flat, no matter how much we got it wet or messed with it, it returned into a perfect faux hawk... so we gave up, hence why his hair is not flat like it should have been for his character).

Halloween 2009 - New Orleans, LA

Once ready we had a Senior Girl from Dazed and Confused, a guy from the Hangover, a Victorian Vampire (Miss D) and "The Girl that Didn't Get Cast as Jan Brady" (Miss A - or so she said her costume was).  We armed ourselves with our cameras and our wallets and headed out for a night on the town. I was disappointed that I only heard one person recognize my costume, but when they did I let out a very loud "AIR RAIIIIIDDDDDDDD!" Walking down to the French Quarter we had people stopping Miss D left and right for pictures because her costume was awesome - and quite a few people stopped M to ask if he was from the Hangover. The more we walked, the more people recognized him which made him beam from ear to ear. We only saw two other guys dressed like M - they of course had babies strapped to their chest, but what they didn't have was M's great REAL beard, they all had fakes). The highlight of M's night I think was when a girl stopped him so she could take his picture - I was so happy for him. I have to say that Miss D's costume was awesome - she put a lot of work and effort into her outfit. She had dressed as a pirate the night before and braved the rain so she gets mad props for being that together to have not only one great costume, but two!

 Miss D Bites - ACK!

I'm sure you're wondering by now what happened to M and I heading to the concert for FREE to see KISS. Well, after a long day enjoying the city, I started realizing that I had never been to New Orleans and that if I went to the concert I'd be spending the majority of my Halloween Night at the show and NOT partying downtown. Granted I LOVE KISS, but I didn't want to miss out on the real reason I came down to New Orleans in the first place and that was to experience Bourbon Street and all the fun to be had in the French Quarter. KISS will  hopefully come back around again with this tour to promote their new album. Halloween in New Orleans wasn't going to wait for me if I missed it.  And I'm so glad I didn't miss it. I saw so many amazing costumes (including a bare naked Santa wearing only his boots, hat and an apron - CREEPY!!!). I was so impressed that so many people poured over their costumes. I am disappointed I missed out on taking a picture of three drag queens dressed up as stewardesses in neon gear. They. were. fierce!  I got to catch beads (without showing the girls), I drank my hurricanes and all the while didn't get a single hangover. (WOOO HOO!) The weekend was a blast. We ended our late night with some absolutely awesome pizza. Can you tell I ate my way through New Orleans? I'm paying for it right now, trust me. But this pizza is one of the biggest things I'll miss about New Orleans... that and our bed!

Sunday morning was a slow one. We all woke up rather late and M and I made our way downtown for some time alone while Miss A and D got ready. We shopped a bit and had coffee and once we were all together we went to check out a place Miss D wanted to eat at. A local high school band was marching and playing around the French Market and they sounded so great! It was a nice slow Sunday. Later that day Miss D and Miss A took advantage of the free tickets to VooDooFest and M and I decided to have a date night.

M and I walked down to the French Market place and decided to have dinner at a place we couldn't help but drool over every time we walked by and smelled the fresh seafood. Oddly enough the place was called the French Market. We had some tasty food (crawfish tails, grilled oysters, grilled shrimp and crab au gratin) - the bill was pretty high but we never treat ourselves like that so it was a nice way to end the weekend. We topped off our night with some frozen beverages for dessert and walked back to the hotel hand in hand. Soon after Miss D and Miss A arrived back to the hotel and were hungry so we decided to head over to that same pizza place (yes again - trust me its' THAT good) and even though I was stuffed - I couldn't resist one last slice!

By now the weekend had clearly taken a toll on us. We were all ready for bed and in a way secretly wishing we were home already. None of us wanted to wake up for that 7 hour drive ahead of us.

Our final morning, after making coffee and checking out of our room - we made one last stop before heading out of town. We headed over to the St. Louis Cemetery No. 1. This is one of the older cemeteries in New Orleans and it's become rather run down. I don't know how much damage was from Katrina, and how much was simply the act of neglect or vandalism but some of the tombs were not in the best shape. It was interesting to me to see how they have to make the tombs above ground and it felt strange to be that close (even if separated by concrete) to the bodies of the dead. I enjoyed getting a bit of background from Miss D and getting a chance to see Marie Laveau's tomb (a notorious voodoo queen). Her grave was adorn by many visitors with gifts of offering to her. I wasn't sure if I needed to leave her something, but just in case, I did. I don't need any bad mojo on me. I left her a bit of change, Miss A and Miss D lit her candles and left her a few blossoms from a near by tree. Various other voodoo queens had been buried here over the years as well. The XXX marks graves of voodoo queens and followers. There were a ton of beautiful statues still intact and they made for great pictures. I enjoyed the peace we got from being there at the cemetery. It was a nice calm way to end the weekend and to decompress before our long ride.

Marie Laveau's Tomb

My favorite statue in the cemetary

Many hours later we finally arrived back home. I was happy to see Angus and excited about picking up June from the kennel the next afternoon. It was a long, strange and fun trip the whole way and I'm so glad M and I got to share it together with the company of great friends. I'm ready to do it all over again next year, only this time I want to make it to the Garden District to see all the great plantation homes.

Note to self: Next time you stay at a Marriott find a way to snag the bed and bring it home. Our current bed is now KILLING my back. Thanks for spoiling me New Orleans!

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Blair said...

WOW! Looks like y'all had a great time!

Kelly @ Dare to be Domestic said...

We did! :)

Melody said...

Oh my gosh, that looks like the best trip! One of these days I want to get down to New Orleans! I said it before, your costumes were sooooo awesome! I love movie based costumes, they're always my fave.

Kelly @ Dare to be Domestic said...

Thank you Melody! Yes you need to get to New Orleans just like I need to get to NYC. I never thought I'd travel to NOLA - it always appealed to me, but I didn't want to do the Mardi Gras thing. I think M and I might take a trip there together and have a relaxing weekend sometime next year :)

Nina Patricia @ The Adventures of Nina Patricia said...

New Orleans is my favorite city in the whole wide world :)

Bumpkin on a Swing said...

Should this event ever take place again, it requires immediate notification to The Bumpkin, so that we might show you our city the way we see it, and take you where everyone knows our name!

Kelly @ Dare to be Domestic said...

Sounds like a plan to me!!! :)

Anonymous said...

good read, post more!

Mike said...

"Thank you Melody! Yes you need to get to New Orleans just like I need to get to NYC. I never thought I'd travel to NOLA - it always appealed to me, but I didn't want to do the Mardi Gras thing. I think M and I might take a trip there together and have a relaxing weekend sometime next year :)"
Where's the Price is Right fail song when you need it.

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