Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Big Easy

First of all, let me just say, I'm exhausted. After work, most days, I head to the new casa and paint or clean until around midnight.I usually don't make it to bed until around two in the morning. The weekends, I'm there till three am. This has been going on for weeks now, and honestly, I really need a nap...and I'm not talking about a couple of hours. No, I mean, something of Rip Van Winkle proportions. However, I want to catch up on this stupid blog for my own satisfaction, so, instead of falling asleep on my desk and drooling like a sugar-crashed toddler, I'm going to write about New Orleans...because I went there.

(OH! That bit I wrote in my last post about wanting a little extra money to appear in my life, when I checked my mail, I found a bonus, two rebates, and a check for six hundred bucks. However, the six hundred bucks, as it turns out, is an insurance snafu and has to be let me be a bit more specific: "I really wish a large sum of money that I don't have to return to or share with anyone or give away in any form or fashion would fall into my lap today!")

Anyway, on with the show.

Right, so, at last blogging, I'd left Texas, headed home, and spent a day at the office. I came home after work, repacked my suitcase, and printed out my boarding passes for New Orleans.  I was heading down to NOLA to meet up with Capt. Keith, his wife Florence, and his Marketing Manager at the time. I was going to do a little work, take some pics at the meet and greet, sell shirts, merch, chat it up with fans, but really, for me, it was mostly a pleasure trip to the Big Easy. Can't hate that.

The flight was probably uneventful as, like always, I slept most of the way. After landing, I grabbed my bags, jumped on the shuttle and made my way to my hotel. 

The Pelham Hotel. My room.
Basically, the reason I chose this place was because it was close to the casino, and it was within the required budgeting. Still, it had a certain old N'awlins charm. The ceiling was super tall, the staff was great, and I had an excellent view of the alley dumpster.

Speaking of the casino, that's where the first event was being held, so I headed that way. It was a little early yet and nothing was really happening so I moseyed on over to "A Miracle on Fulton Street."

First it's blue...
Then, it's pink! ...It's a miracle!
Every year, apparently, Fulton Street is decked out in white Christmas trees, sparkling, color-changing lights, shining Fleurs-De-Lis, and a mess of fake snow. I like it. It reminds me of being a child and attending the local 'Festival of Trees,' an event I really wish the city would reinstate. However, I'm not talking about my dysfunctional town right now. Besides, there's still more to Fulton Street...

I'd say this tree is at least thirty feet tall...and each of those ornaments is larger than a basketball.

Be good or Santa will EAT YOU!
Which is the perfect size for GIGANTIC METAL SANTA! Color me crazy, but I bet this is why kids start screaming and crying when Mom puts them on Santa's knee in the mall. Perspective is everything.

Time to head back to Harrah's.

You win again, 'need to blink just as the pic is taken' win again.
Everything was set up in the Casino right between the slots and the buffet. Here's Keith with a couple of people that I don't know. There was a pretty big crowd and many autograph cards were signed, shirts sold, and pictures snapped.

Can I be a deckhand?
If I recall, these folks didn't even know anything was happening but the dude was a big fan of the show so he was pretty pumped to meet Keith and get an autograph. That's pretty much what this first event consisted of, meeting...and greeting. After that, there was business to be done with Cat Marine...which didn't concern me. So, I found a place that served up a good alligator po'boy and called it a night.

I spent the next day wandering around the city while Keith and the gang were off on more business calls.

Went down to the Riverwalk...saw this guy...

and his girlfriend.

Sweet Jambalaya! My retinas! 
I went down to the Steamboat Natchez and thought about taking the river cruise, but really that's something I'd rather do when I'm with someone. I did however try to take a pic of myself with it in the background. However, the eye killing brightness of the searing December sun created the above squinty expression.

The steam on top of the boat is coming from the Calliope...which is really cool, but ear-splittingly loud when it hits a really sharp note. I took a few vids of the guy playing, and planned to upload them, but apparently my camera had a different idea, as they are nowhere to be found.

Cafe du Monde? Cafe de MORTE!
Anyway, I was getting hungry so I ambled on down to the Cafe Du Monde for a plate of beignets. I took one bite and nearly choked to death on the powdered sugar. It's quite hard to act as if you're not strangling to death when you' death. After assuring a wide-eyed server and various staring patrons that I was fine, and leaving my plate and my dignity at the table, I headed off to do some more sightseeing.

So here are some sights I saw:

St. Louis Cathedral.
The ceiling.
A stained glass window.
An obligatory artsy shot of candles.
Some of the statuary on the Riverwalk. 
These guys are immigrants. They look really happy to be here in the US. Really...happy. 
On a more somber note, the park also has a sculpture dedicated to the six million Jews who lost their lives under the terror of the Third Reich. The image changes depending upon the direction which you approach, a technique in 'Kenetic Art.' I believe there are ten images in all. Yaacov Agam is the artist.  
I had lunch at the Court of Two Sisters, a very famous Nola establishment. It was still early, so I think it was actually brunch, but I don't know. A Mimosa in the hand, good food, and a quiet courtyard never hurt anyone.  Then, I did some more wandering...

 The carousel bar at the Hotel Monteleone. The bar itself actually rotates, so if you say, go to the bathroom and come a friend of mine did, you might find that you're sitting in a completely different part of the room. I figure it really messes with the drunks. 
 I ended up at the aquarium, where there are lots of fish...and fish type this eel.

And even a few non fish these Macaws.

"I'm a big, fat, white alligator and I'm awesome!"
And of course, this guy...the albino alligator. He looks extremely content and not just a little smug.  I took a lot of pictures at the aquarium, but I'm not going to post them'd be like finding Nemo without the humor or heartwarming storyline.

At some point that night, after a taxi ride with a cab driver who thought it'd be fun to 'get lost' and charge me extra (how wrong he turned out to be,) I ended up at the function for the night. The Louisiana Shrimpers Association Fundraiser in Belle Chasse. These were just hard working fishermen and women who had been through some tough times thanks to Katrina...and this was before the oil spill that tried to eat the Gulf. Having Capt. Keith there was really encouraging to them, letting them know that their fellow fishermen supported them. There was camaraderie, beer, shrimp, and some money raised for a struggling all in all, a good time for those in attendance. 

By the end of the night, we found ourselves on Bourbon Street.  Karaoke was preformed, Hurricanes were consumed, and Mike Fourtner was there. After a round of shenanigans, I said my goodbyes to the gang, hit the hotel, and attempted to catch a little sleep. Come some unholy hour of the morning, I dragged myself out of bed, stumbled onto a plane, and made for home. Thus ended my first trip to the grand old city of New Orleans. 

This blog is too long and poorly written. I apologize to all none of you who actually read this. I promise to sleep more...eventually.

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