New Orleans...N'awlins.....The Big Easy

Trip Start Aug 11, 2009
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of United States  , Louisiana
Thursday, August 20, 2009

This going to be a tough instalment to write.......there's so much I want to say about New Orleans.....all of it good, but I am concerned that I will not do it justice. There are so many strange things, crazy and friendly people, superb meals, odd events and insane alcoholic concoctions that we have experienced over the last two days that I am afraid I’ll forget something. Stick with me and I will do my level best to describe every brilliant one of them. You might want to get comfortable, this is going to take some time.

Right, where do I begin.....How about with the gigantic, car sized bottle of beer (see photos- that is a real beer!) I bought on Thursday night? Or the Hand Grenades we drank before that. Swallow them and 3 seconds later your brain explodes? Perhaps I can tell you about the girls that @*&%$@*&%%%$^ with a *&^$$$% and then they %&^%(&^@ after *&^%$*%$%....New Orleans has a very sleazy side to it. Or maybe you’d like to find out about how unbelievably friendly the locals are and how welcome they make you feel. What about walking in the French Quarter and getting goosebumps listening to an old black dude sitting on a milk crate on the street corner playing Killing Me Softly beautifully on a harmonica. There’s also the food, the gumbo, the jambalaya and the Po Boys, which are sandwiches with everything on them and they’re also smothered in "debris" sauce which is the little bits of everything that didn’t make it into the sandwich first time around.

The New Orleans mounted police should also get mention...well one particular policeman and his horse. He was the rock star of lawmen and his horse liked a bit of the high-life as well. It was continuously walking into or sticking his head through windows into the various bars just to have a look around. The cop was enjoying having his picture taken pretending to handcuff various women. I also saw the horse pin a fugitive to the wall while the cops frisked him.....much to the annoyance of the cop that was doing the pinning in the first place.

Speaking of sticking heads into bars , I did just that and saw a black guy doing a very powerful rendition of The Doors’ Roadhouse Blues. To top it all off, as he sang “Save our City”, which is very topical in post-Katrina New Orleans, he pointed at me and gave me the thumbs up and I felt an un-explainable welling of emotion. Maybe it was my own post apartheid guilt rearing its misshapen head or maybe it was how much one cannot help but sympathise with the people of this city after  Katrina and because of the help they didn’t get from their own government.....anyway, I had a moment. People say that the storm washed some of The Big Easy’s soul away. We obviously don’t see that but if it used to be even better than it is now....well, I find that hard to comprehend.

 Maybe you’d like to hear about the live music’s everywhere and non-stop. Bourbon street has the loudest venues by far.....we spent one night there and I think that is more than enough. It’s full of drunk people and people trying to get the drunk people drunker by offering them cheap booze....and lots of it. One drink in particular The Hurricane, a New Orleans special is the alcoholic equivalent of the spin cycle in an industrial washing machine, bleach included....shrinking is inevitable. The level of drunkenness is second to none. I witness a father and son tag team that were so drunk that they were trying to push a palm tree made no difference that Hurricane Katrina couldn’t move it or that they were pushing in opposite directions.......I think they both fell asleep on the job anyway.

I’m not going to lie, Trace, Little Mike, Sheryl (they drove us to N’awlins....such is their generosity) and myself , managed to get fairly rat-arsed on our first night as well, mainly due to the consumption of several Hand Grenades and the large beer I mentioned earlier....and let’s not forget that in this country you get a double Coke and Jack, not vice versa. We woke up with Daiquiri’s on the bedside table yesterday morning.

You have to ask yourself, is the idea of buying a criminally alcoholic drink at one end of the Bourbon street and then  going to actual re-filling stations to top it up as you wobble from bar to bar is a stroke of genius or the work of a mad man. The jury is still out on that one, ask me in the morning.

To escape this madness Trace looked into our magical book of travels and found Frenchman street where the more discerning music lovers hang out. It’s situated away from the loudness of Bourbon Street and is definitely our favourite....maybe I am getting old. Anyway we sat and had a few cold beers and listened to an excellent Dixieland, jazz band and it was a wonderfully relaxing time. There were no scantily clad ladies trying to get you to drink ridiculously powerful cocktails all the time and believe it or not, I found that to be a relief........Trace too, for completely different reasons he he he he he .
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chrisswill on

london calling
Nothing old about prefering Frenchman Street to Bourbon. It makes perfect sense. Jealous as hell guys, wish I was there!

By the way, saw Elbow up close at V yesterday, stone cold sober, brilliant!


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