Drove my Chevy to the Levy
Trip Start Apr 30, 2010
52Trip End Sep 05, 2010
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We smiled as we were welcomed into Louisiana in both French and English, and about an hour after crossing the state line we cruised into The Big Easy, around ten o'clock on Tuesday night.
Bonjour Bourbon Street - The First Night
After settling into the hotel room and having a cold beer to refresh after the trip, we decided to head out to Bourbon Street and see what New Orlean’s infamous stretch had to offer. Stepping onto Bourbon is a crossing into a sensory overload: booze-soaked revellers, glaring neon pizza/daiquiri joints, shady "gentlemen’s clubs" with glittering strippers leering from doorways, and a cacophony of live music cranking out of the jazz clubs that line the street. The air is bursting with music, laughter, shrieks, catcalls as well as a pungent blend of sticky liquor, spicy food and, occasionally, vomit or pee.
We were hot, hungry and overwhelmed. After just moments of strolling aimlessly, we were accosted by an unusual trio – Lary (with one R) a tiny black girl with lots of facial piercings and a quick, bright smile; Ian, a tall, ungainly dark haired guy who towered over his sidekick; and a slight, wiry dude with a bit of squeegee punk style whose name we couldn’t catch through his drunken – but enthusiastic – rambling.
Vukaray - You Should Go There
Ian, delighted that we were Canadian so he could crack out some of his Louisiana high school French, insisted that we follow them a couple of blocks so we could try the best pizza in town – Vukaray. “You won’t regret it, Vukaray’s the best!” he repeated. We tried to clarify exactly where the location was, but he was having a hard time articulating it to us. “Vukaray, Vukaray – you can’t miss it! It’s a block away, and it’s spelled, like, V – I – um....there’s a U and an X in there somewhere. But you gotta try it!”
Oh! Vieux Carré. Got it.
In the end, we didn’t make it to Vukaray, but wished our new friends well and parted ways to try one of the many pizza daiquiri places. Lary placed some sparkling Mardi Gras beads around my neck, gave my shoulders and squeeze and told us to have the best time ever while we were here.
We popped into one of the pizza daiquiri places – I think it was called Mango Mango – and marvelled at the selection of slushy, boozy drinks that lined the wall. Machine after machine with delightful concoction like the Voo Doo and of course the Hurricane. As if the brightly coloured potions weren’t strong enough, each drink came with a free shot served in a plastic test tube. We grabbed some slices of pizza, tossed down our shots and took our daiquiris (in Styrofoam cups, naturally) to go.
We wandered the street for a little while, nursing our king-sized drinks and dodging the partying tourists and local vagrants. There were plenty of sights and sounds just in the few blocks of Bourbon to give us a taste of what was to come, so after a little walk around we headed back to the hotel to crash and get ready for our next few days.