(Note: My hubby just read this and said it sounded like I didn’t like New Orleans. I liked it a lot! It was one of my favorites. That’s all.)
New Orleans was another favorite stop for both Jordan and I. I’ll be honest it took me a day to get used to New Orleans and here’s why I think that is. We’d been to all the familiar places first; Oregon, and California. The places that weren’t very familiar with such as Texas and Arizona we stayed with friends or family. New Orleans was my very first experience with the deep south and it was the first time we were back in a “big city” with tons of people all there for the sole purpose of partying. We also arrived in the city around 6:30 or 7pm right when everyone starts coming out. Jordan also drove us through a few busy streets so I was a little intimidated. There were people everywhere and they were all loud. We were also arriving one day early in New Orleans and were hoping our hotel had a room open for the night.So I think that is why I was so anxious that first night in New Orleans.
The hotel did have a room open. It was a smoking room on a smoking floor. I was less than excited about that, but at least it was a bed. The room smelled better than the elevator or the hallway. But it was still pretty bad. Jordan did manage to get me out of the hotel and to a restaurant for dinner. After dinner Jordan of course wanted to walk around, perhaps go to Harrah’s casino, which we’d walked by. Alas I was still uber paranoid. I’d been reading our guide book all day saying how dangerous New Orleans was at night, how even the cemeteries were dangerous in the day unless you were with a tour group. My hubby lovingly gave in and we walked back to the hotel to go to bed.
Luckily the next morning we got to check out of our stinky smoking room and into our non-smoking room. I was also feeling much better, now that the sun was up and it seemed a more subdued group of people were out and about.
We began our day at Cafe Du Monde for beignets and chicory coffee. This cafe is open 24 hours a day, is open air and very popular. We arrived around 8:30am and it was packed already. We had a tour to catch so instead of sticking around we got our order to go and ate in Jackson Square; a gorgeous park of sorts that sits in front of the St. Louis Cathedral. It’s a peaceful little place full of green and makes a stunning place to take photos; especially with the Cathedral spires as a backdrop. When we were thoroughly covered with powered sugar we explored the French Quarter a bit on our way to the meeting place for our tour.
We were going on the Cemetary & Voodoo Tour. It got very high ratings in our guide book and was supposed to be creepy. Even though our tour was during the day I was excited for some creepy stories. Alas that is not what we got. We got a history buff tour guide. So even going through the cemetery we got no stories of scary sightings or any Anne Rice references at all. We got all history, which was interesting to be sure, but not what I was looking for.
Our guide left us at an authentic active voodoo temple. And that my friends was the lamest part. The temple was tucked next to this new agey voodoo shop and priestess, I’m pretty sure, was just a bit senile. She went on and on about what? I have not a clue. I think she just strung words together and hoped they came out sounding alright, because she really made no sense. And I’m not talking about ‘Wow that’s so deep’ it doesn’t make sense. It was more along the lines of ‘Sorry was that just a sentence?’
So after her “introductions” out in the courtyard we went to her temple which was really a small room crammed with stuff. This stuff had lots of other stuff tucked into it. By stuff I mean cigarettes, rolled up dollar bills, Mardi Gras Beads, seriously just crap. There must have been $400 in ones tucked all around the room. There were statues everywhere, and tapestries on the wall, but none of it made sense because she wouldn’t describe what it meant. She asked for questions but when she was asked one she wouldn’t answer it, but go into another long spiel that was utterly incoherent. Perhaps all the herbs and things have gone to her head or maybe she was high, but I couldn’t wait to get out of there, because I was so damn bored.
After leaving the “temple” we went off to have some lunch on Bourbon Street. Yes, the legendary Bourbon Street! Where the people are all drunk and girls take their tops off for cheap beads you could get at any costume store! I wasn’t that excited really. I’d always wanted to go to New Orleans but never around Mardi Gras time. I think that would be too insane for me. After seeing Bourbon Street in the daylight I don’t think I ever want to see it at night. First I think it was trash day because everyone had their garbage cans and bags lining the street. It was a pretty warm day so they were sitting there waiting and reeking to high heaven. Not only that, but this street just has a glaze of disgusting that I think permeates it all the time. Every shop we saw was a club, a tiny souvenir shop or selling sex. It was really an awful little street that I hope to not patronize too often in the future. However the cafe we found there was alright and the weather was warm so it was difficult to complain.
Since I seem to have a lot to say about New Orleans perhaps I’ll stop here and continue our adventure next week.