First, let me say this: I mean no disrespect to anyone who lives in or loves New Orleans. :-)
Today's post is about the trip my Mom and I planned as a quick overnighter to New Orleans since none of us had really been there. Tony was there when he was 18 (with his high school sweetheart, no less).
We got into New Orleans late morning/early afternoon on a Thursday. The Thursday of Jazz Festival, which we had no prior knowledge of. So, if you are conjuring an image in your mind as to how this little overnighter is going to go....you are probably right.
The hotel, on the outside, was quaint and looked the part of a New Orleans Super 8 if I ever saw one. The lobby was friendly and cheerful and welcoming. The staff was great to work with. Very accommodating and quick with our check-in, even though we were several hours early for the check-in time. He even gave us a map and marked off all the best places to go and all the best routes to take to get there. That is where the calm ends for about the next 5 hours.
We got our cookies hauled up to the third floor, still very enamored with the hotel. We get to our rooms (thanking God they are in the air conditioned hallway) and we open the door. Let the scary begin. Burn marks, stains, and chunks missing in the carpeting. The bathroom is so old and dirty looking that you swear it hasn't been cleaned in ten years...although you are pretty sure it has been because it doesn't smell how it looks. I was almost afraid to use the beds, but the sheets were crisp.
We leave the hotel saying to ourselves "this is only for one night". We headed to the French Quarter! Yeeha! We're gonna go see New Orleans. We get off on the Canal St exit, which is 240B in case you were wondering. We start heading down Canal St and realize....hey, we have to go left and A) there are no normal streets and B) they all say 'no left turn'! How is this going to work?! Another thing we realized is that following the little pedestrian 'danger /red hand-don't cross here' is optional and you better keep your eyes peeled so you don't inadvertently end up with a new hood ornament.
Somehow we finally made it onto Basin St and got down to the Visitors Center. Beautiful facility. If only we could have just stayed there....
We left the Visitors Center and promptly got lost. After our little detour, we got ourselves down to Decatur and turned into the madness. We drove down past Jackson's Square and Cafe Dumonde and The Market..... And turned right around to try and find somewhere to park. We entered city parking which turned out to be $6 to park in an alley on the Riverfront. We quickly found out that New Orleans is NOT wheelchair friendly. We crossed streets, we walked blocks, we looked at artwork, caught a couple street performer acts, ran into people actually practicing witchcraft...which I'll admit freaked the poo right out of me for a second or two...and I took very few pictures, much to my chagrine. There was only one store we were able and willing to drive my mom's wheelchair into. Very cute store. Picked up a few souvenir items and ventured back out into the madness.
We made it back to our vehicle and swore we weren't doing that again. Figured we would come back the next morning for that beignet experience at Cafe Dumonde...because it just couldn't be that crazy in the morning! Everyone would still be sleeping off the night before! Right?! We navigated our way to Mazant and 'dined' at The Joint. It's a BBQ place that was featured on Diners, Drive Ins and Dives. Guy declared it was BBQ done right! He said he took a train to flavor town! He was not being 100% truthful. While it was good, it was not amazing and I would not go there again. Although, food is a highly subjective thing. Everyone likes something different.
We went back to our hotel. My mother stating on the way "If we hadn't already paid for the rooms online, I would pack my bags right now and never look back!" Instead, we all collapsed in our rooms for the night (around 7pm) and called it good.
We arose the next morning with great intentions of eating a tasty beignet at Cafe Dumonde. We ended up driving down Bourbon St to get back down to Decatur (not realizing you could just drive down to N Peter and avoid all of that). What an assault on the senses. I hear my 17 year old daughter, from the back seat, telling my 15 year old son, "Close your eyes Teo!! Don't look! Oh my poor, innocent eyes!! I'm going to have to scrub my brain with bleach now!!" That girl cracks me up!
We pulled up to Cafe Dumonde right behind 3 tour busses pouring people onto the sidewalk. You've got to be kidding!! That was the straw that broke the camels back.Needless to say, we skipped the Cafe Dumonde experience and turned our car towards home.
My daughter was none too pleased and behaved as though she had somehow been cheated. We may go back to New Orleans. This time we know what we definitely DON'T want to do. I will also pay much greater attention to the festivities happening in the city so I can avoid the crazies.
Don't get me wrong, people don't bother me. Heck my parents were dope smokin hippies back in the day, but I can only handle so much crazy.