Thursday, February 21, 2013

NOLA

I'm back. I'm alive.

I spent part of last week in silence because I was in desperate need of some quiet time.


The jist: I went to NOLA during Mardi Gras with a group of 12 woman to celebrate my future sister-in-law's bachelorette party. Forgive me for leaving out the specific party details - what happens at Mardi Gras gets stuck under all the garbage and never makes it out of Mardi Gras.


 Overall thoughts:
  • Excuse my French but the city is fucking FILTHY during Mardi Gras
  • But... the city does a seriously awesome job cleaning up every night and then the city is temporarily clean for about one hour between 8am and 9am. Clean up involves tractors and spray trucks and street cleaners. It's very intense. 
  • Yes I saw boobs but very few. No, I didn't participate. 
  • The quantity of beads handed out is incomprehensible. At the end of the parade we probably had close to 600 strands in our group of 12. 
  • The number people is even more incomprehensible. 
  • I didn't know this beforehand - you can drink in the streets!
  • Every one is drunk. All day, every day (during Mardi Gras).
How people watch parades. Many of these ladders have little seats on top for kids. 

How I traveled/accommodations
  • I flew out of Kitchener and took 3 flights to NOLA (through Chicago and Dallas)
  • I flew direct home - THANK GOD. 
  • We stayed at the Sheraton New Orleans on Canal Street and it was excellent! Friendly staff, very clean, conveniently located, loved it. 
  • We walked everywhere with the exception of the streetcar that took us to the cemetery tour and the various taxi's we took to/from airport and to/from bars when it was too late/we were too tired. One driver played pretend Cash-Cab with us, he was crazy smart!
  • All the service people we encountered were extremely friendly and welcoming and didn't seem too depressed that their city was overrun. 
Rob's wet dream

What we saw:
  • We spent the first night walking Bourbon Street which is basically a giant street party. There are balconies everywhere, so much bead throwing happens from above. Watch your head!
  • We did a cemetery tour with a group called 'Save Our Cemeteries' of the Layayette Cemetery No. 1. It was very cool and an interesting insight into different cultural treatments of the dead. Our tour guide was a woman named Candy and she was SO awesome. Ask for her if you can! We got locked in the cemetery at the end of the tour, no joke. Thankfully it was a bright sunny day and only lasted about 10 minutes. 
  • We walked down Decateur Street, which is right along the river and full of shops, restaurants, and street-vendors/performers. Very nice way to spend the afternoon.
  • We had tickets to the Endymion Parade and it was by far the most ridiculous experience of the whole trip. We purchased bleacher seats so we'd have somewhere to sit/guaranteed seats. The marching bands, the floats, and the BEADS. The beads HURT and you have to be careful not to get hit in the face. The histories of the different parades are very interesting - some have all male float riders - all float riders need to wear masks, etc. This year's parade Marshall was Kelly Clarkson - we saw her but she was facing the other way. 

What we ate:
  • In short: everything. This is not a city to visit while on a diet. Also - everything has a kick to it. 
  • K-Paul's Louisiana Kitchen - it was great! Excellent service
  • Stanley's - omgsogood. We went for brunch, I had the Korean BBQ po' boy and it was TDF - to die for. 
  • Domenica - an Italian restaurant just off Canal Street... I shared a charcuterie board that came with beignets instead of crackers. Be still my heart (and not due to the clogged arteries!)
My Korean po'boy that refused to rotate for this post. 

Pros:
  • The people of this city are SO. FRIENDLY. 
  • The history is very interesting and I think there is so much more to see than the small corner we experienced
  • Drinks were cheap!
  • Very walk-able city
Some of the street performers were crazy good! Like this group - Yes Ma'am

Cons:
  • Did I mention how dirty everything was? Perhaps returning after Mardi Gras is the answer.
  • It was very difficult to get on the street car... though again I think this is likely only during Mardi Gras.
Great group of girls to travel with!

1 comment:

  1. Sounds so exciting. NOLA is definitely on my list of places to visit soon.

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