My Trip to the Big Easy

I’m embarrassed to admit I haven’t gotten around to blogging about my trip to New Orleans yet. I mean, it has been two weeks already. And this is suppose to be a travel blog? Psshh.

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Well here it finally is. I went to the Big Easy for New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival (namely, for John Mayer), and had the best time… ever. No matter where I go with my friends, we always have a fantastic vacation. I am so insanely lucky to have tremendous people around me.

We flew into Mississippi and the weather was beautiful from the start. Our drive from Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport took about an hour, but we stopped for some food at a place called, “Red Zone,” in Diamondhead. We ate Po’ Boys and pulled pork sandwiches and fried catfish strips and I was happiest I had been since that glorious pre-plane shower.

So we met up with the rest of the NOLA crew at our hotel, the Clarion Inn & Suites on Canal Street. The streetcar stopped almost right in front of it, which was a nice little way to get to Bourbon Street, we found, which was five blocks to the right of us.

Our first evening was Jazz Fest, and it was bigger than I had anticipated. The entire outside venue smelled off fresh seafood and only-in-New-Orleans-type-dishes. My best friend Chris and I headed straight to the stage where John Mayer played. We stayed the entire set, duh… and danced happily under a bright, warm sun with some fellow JM fans. He played an amazing setlist. It had been two years since the jazz/blues crooner sang along with his songs, due to a throat granuloma that put him on “indefinite” voice rest, but you would have never known. He proved to me, (like he even really had to), just why he is my all-time favorite music artist and musician. He was all around beautiful.

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Saturday afternoon we ventured on a swamp tour which lasted over an hour and gave us all the chance to see alligators and cute little turtles. It was a great way to spend the day. I even got to hold one! I swear from this day forward I will never buy a product made from alligator. Not like I have the money for that, anyway. He was so soft and adorable…. and he was being manhandled by every child and their mother on the damned boat.

In brief, Bourbon Street was one of the most spectacular things I have ever experienced. This may make me sound a little stupid, but I honestly thought Bourbon Street was a few blocks. I was so wrong. It was long, and closed off, and bouncing with excitement. We went to three gentlemen’s clubs (not all they were cracked up to be), tons of bars, drank a lot of margaritas and icy-cold mixed drinks, (there were a ton of open daiquiri bars throughout), shopped, and best of all… I experienced the Dungeon.

The best bar, in the opinions of most of my NOLA crew, the Dungeon is on Toulouse Street and was fully equipped with a stone walkway, caged-in bar seating and blaring good music. Slayer, Marilyn Manson, Rob Zombie… and loud, too. The drinks were among the cheapest on Bourbon and the bartenders and security were so down to earth, we went back our last night.

I was able to get 3 Mardi-Gras necklaces and I didn’t even have to flash anyone… take notes, ladies! The people were all outstandingly friendly and there was such a sense of wonder and awe among my group, we probably wouldn’t have known if they weren’t.

The French Quarter was a daytime thing and I’d like to think we did it proper. We must have walked miles on our Sunday afternoon. We drank, ate some more, and experienced shopping, and saw music live never before. Oh, and we saw the original Real World New Orleans House.

It’s hard to capture every moment on camera. Sometimes that moment passes by us too quickly, others don’t translate on camera as they do in our heads. I did my best to take some photos, but overall.. the landscapes, people, food and smells can only be logged into my mind as memories best kept away. Check out some photos below!