Down on Bourbon Street
I can’t believe I am finally in New Orleans. I have been dreaming about this day for so long, and it has finally come.
We flew in with no more mishaps, besides an overpriced, not so good lunch at the Dallas/Ft. Worth airport. Marshall in the gold van picked us up and we were on our way. In the van we met up with our final group member, Sarah, and then there were nine. Marshall drove us to the Bywater Church of Christ, where we will be staying. It is in the 9th ward, but not the lower 9th. On the way we saw houses with the tagging from the searches post-Katrina, and it was powerful. I don’t really know how to process that right now.
Our accommodations are good. We aren’t where we expected to be, where others that have volunteered with Katrina Corp have stayed before. But this place is nice and the room where our bunks are is cool. As in cold. It is a nice retreat from the heat of New Orleans. In here, it feels a little like we are at summer camp.
After getting settled in we left to go get some essentials at Walgreen’s before getting food and drinks out on the town. We debated where to go and ultimately decided Frenchmen Street. Our walk to Walgreen’s felt never-ending. As we walked a couple on their porch threw some beads at us. While I’m not into the whole bead thing of New Orleans, this felt different and more special and I gladly wore my beads. When we finally arrived at Walgreen’s we all loaded up on bug spray, sunscreen and water. Then it was on to find food and drinks.
We finally hit Frenchmen Street and I felt like I finally arrived. The buildings, the music, the culture… this is what I have loved about New Orleans for as long as I can remember. If I hadn’t been so hot I would have had goose bumps!
We found a place to eat and Rian ordered a round of waters and hurricanes. It almost sounds like a bad joke in a place that was so battered by those two things. We got right into the southern, Louisiana spirit and ordered hush puppies, gumbo and jambalaya. I had Cajun jambalaya, yummy! From there we hit a bar that had happy hour from 5-9… there should be more places like that! While there wasn’t any music, it had the New Orleans feel and I was content to be there!
Next it was time for Bourbon Street. The end we started at was mellower and there was more jazz. We stopped in a little place where there was a jazz band playing. I was in heaven! My favorite was a hauntingly beautiful version of “I’ll Be Seeing You.”
While I was in my element and could have stayed forever, Rebecca mentioned karaoke… so of course we moved on! On a quest to find the karaoke bar on Bourbon Street… The farther we walked on Bourbon Street, the less I liked it. Ok, that may be an overstatement, but it wasn’t my scene. It was fun for a night, but I’m just not a dance club kinda girl. To me the DJs, hip hop and rap are not New Orleans. The jazz, zydeco, Creole, and Cajun… Now that’s New Orleans! Anyway, I experienced it once, and that may be enough. Although, there are talks of going back to the karaoke place because of course it becomes a dance club on Saturday nights.
By the time I was ready to leave the dance club it was nearly 2am. I’m not sure when the bars in New Orleans stay open until, but for this girl who got about 2 hours sleep on Friday night, it was my bed time. Lee and Stephanie were ready to leave as well, so we walked to catch a cab. I called a cab and we were waiting when Rebecca and Rian joined us to head home as well. We waited a while, but no cab. A local told us we should walk to another street to catch a cab. He walked us right across from Café Du Monde and tried to hail us a cab. Then Lee called a cab. We waited and waited. Finally we got one, but we didn’t have Rian. Lee and I got out to get him, and Rebecca and Stephanie went home (we thought). Lee and I couldn’t find Rian, and then Rebecca called to say they were picking up Rian then coming for us. Apparently, Rian was busy pitching the joys of voting and Obama to some young kids. I love democracy (and the Democratic Party and Obama) as much as the next person, but it is almost 3am, and I want to go to sleep. Finally, we were all in the cab headed back to our home base. (only an hour after we first left the club…)
All in all, it was an adventurous first night in NOLA. I’m so thrilled to be here and I can’t wait to see what else is in store!