I’ve lived in Southeast Texas on and off for almost 20 years. Only once in that that time span have I been to New Orleans, and that was probably around 13 or 14 years ago. I have such vague memories of the actual city, of just a few places that we went to see or the things we did. So, New Orleans was just a distant memory somewhere in the back of my mind. This weekend updated whatever little memory I had.
With Dwayne and his family, I finally went back again. I always thought driving from Houston would have taken just a little longer than driving to Dallas, but the trip to New Orleans took no less than six hours following the posted speed limit. If I had been driving, it would have probably been much closer to five or four and a half since I’d rather follow the speed of traffic than the posted speed limits for safety reasons.
Rather than typing all my stories, I think I’d rather spot a few areas in list form. So, enjoy!
- the city – It’s not much of a city until you get just outside of downtown. It also doesn’t really remind me of other cities, mainly of different areas that I’ve seen of Houston, Beaumont, and other coastal cities on the Gulf.
- Bourbon St. – My first walk again down Bourbon was Saturday evening before everyone was there. The first smells I remember were that of vomit and urine. The first sights were of the typical houses that you see where people are looking down at the crowds on the streets. The first taste was that of a Hand Grenadeâ„¢. This seems to be the popular choice of the masses. It’s very strong like Long Island Iced Tea. And finally, as you would imagine, the same rituals which make Mardi Gras famous also continue their ways all year round. Everyone wants beads, boobs are flashed all the time, and beer is found all over the streets in people’s hands or in the street. It wasn’t as dumpy as it probably is during Mardi Gras, but it was still pretty trashy. So be warned, if you’re looking to New Orleans for a vacation, don’t expect it to be a clean, rosy smelling destination on Bourbon. If you’re not into the debauchery and boozing that constantly plagues this famous street, this is your notice. The main thing that bothered me was the smell of human wastes. Otherwise, I’m sure I could handle everything else.
- Ghosts and vampires – Vampires, ghosts, all the fun things you read in Ann Rice novels, they seem to be huge in this city. We decided to take a ghostly two-hour tour of the French Quarter after hours where a tour guide pointed out different points of interest about ghosts and vampires. To actually give tours of ghostly sightings and locations, you must be licensed by the city, including an extensive background check; otherwise if you’re caught you go to jail on the spot. What an interesting living. It seems that the spirits are haunting just about every building in the French Quarter, and vampires continue to roam the streets. Even if you don’t believe in these sorts of things, I was glad to have taken a short tour. I think it’s fun to believe there are spirits out there who haunt people and places, but I’m skeptical of their existence. It was all in fun.
- History – Believe it or not, this city has always been an outsider city. Lots of drinking, sex and partying ever since the French and Spanish in the 18th century. I’m sure everyone remembers that 1803 was the year the Louisiana Purchase was made, giving the US their biggest amount of land at that time including the whole Mississippi valley. In 1804, the US decided that Louisiana must be giving a sort of probationary period to adjust to being a state. Why?? Well, as I stated, the loose morals and conflict in living standards played a part in this decision, as well as the French giving the territory over to the US. It took the next 8 years for Louisiana to finally become a state, and then the War of 1812 broke out because the British were wankers who didn’t wanna just let it go that we weren’t under their control anymore. Funny thing is that the Battle of New Orleans took place two weeks after the treaty to end the war was signed in 1815. So thousands of people lost their lives for no reason..
- Cajuns and Creoles – I didn’t know this, but the facts are that Cajuns describe people of decent from the Nova Scotia area, mostly dwelling in the swampy areas of Louisiana. They didn’t much care for the city life. Creoles describe the city folk of Spanish and French dissent. They typically flocked to areas like New Orleans. Thus, I have educated you.
- French Quarter – This is the area surrounding Bourbon Street and Jackson Square. Almost all of these houses were rebuilt after a couple of fires in the 1700s by the Spanish people who moved in after the French. This is sorta where a beautiful history of New Orleans can be found and someday, I can see many of these houses being redone like what has been done in San Francisco.
- Celebrity Sightings – I had two brief celebrity sightings. The first one was a slightly happy go lucky little Frankie Muniz, aka Malcolm in the Middle. He was sorta humming to himself, walking rather briskly with a group of people at this side. I almost didn’t believe it was him because this guy looked a little assertively strange. I don’t really know how else to describe it. Later that day, I might be mistaken but I think I saw Sam Jones III, aka Pete from Smallville, walking with a girl. This one, however, probably was wrong. Still, looked just like him.
- Future – Las Vegas is in a huge boom for many reasons. I might be really wrong in saying this one, but New Orleans has a huge potential for the same growth. It’s really dirty and gross in a lot of places, but with a little national spotlight (tv shows, big gambling winners), this city might very well be another version of a southern Las Vegas.