I’m back home, where spring has sprung, but it’s not warm enough for me. Not after a week of mid-70s in New Orleans. Not after only needing a jacket late at night on my way home a jazz club. And speaking of weather and jazz and awesomeness, if I hadn’t made notes during the week, I wouldn’t know where to begin. Since I did, I’ll begin at the beginning.
I got to New Orleans Saturday afternoon and made it to my hotel. Pretty straightforward. Finding my room after that was not so simple. I was in Building 2 (or was it Building B?), which is up an escalator, up another escalator, across the breezeway, forward and then around to the left, past the gift shop that wasn’t open even ONCE the whole week, up an elevator, down a hall, and around another corner. The gym (which I faithfully visited every morning except for the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth days), was back the way I’d come in and then another half-mile in the opposite direction from the front desk and up four floors. It was a workout just to get there.
Everyone else (Mom, Dad, Mindy, Corey, Candy, and Gaby – we were only missing John and Mark) got there a few hours later, and after dinner, Mindy, Corey, Candy, and I headed to Bourbon Street. That was…something. I may not have been in the right mood. Crowded, loud, dirty. We wound our way through throngs of girls in short prom dresses, frat boys, and vomit. We did find a Dixieland band playing in a bar, though (Fritzel’s European Jazz Pub – beware the link if your speakers are on: music starts playing as soon as you land on the page). That was cool. Something I learned (although not that night): many musicians would rather you didn’t call it Dixieland. Traditional New Orleans Jazz is the preferred term.
The next morning (Sunday – it was a beautiful morning), we had brunch at Brennan’s. I could do that every week. You’d have to roll me home every week, but WOW. Loved the place, loved the strawberries and cream, LOVED the bananas foster and crepes fitzgerald. My entree was meh, but everyone else’s was reallyreally good, and I tried them all. From there, we hopped the streetcar to the Garden District (after changing into our UK gear – Go CATS!). Those houses are amazing.
Detour to talk about the weather. It was so warm. SO warm. And breezy, and wonderful, and WARM. All the windows (big windows) on the streetcar were open and it felt so nice. /detour
A little after 4pm (game time!), we hopped off the streetcar and Corey and Candy asked a nice stranger where we might be able to find a sports bar. You can’t run around during March Madness with your UK gear on and NOT watch the game. He sent us to one a couple of blocks away, practically empty, except for three people together at the bar and maybe another guy. Just after halftime, one of the three at the bar walked by our table on her way back to her seat. She was wearing a UK shirt, too, and Corey high-fived her. Mindy and I looked at each other. She looked really familiar to both of us, but it’s a little ridiculous of us to assume we know everyone in the world wearing a UK shirt, right? Well, right, except not in this case. I went over to ask her. “Are you from [town redacted]?” “Yes.” “Did you go to [high school redacted]?” “Zannah?” So, yeah, we went to high school together, had friends in common (loyal commenter IBCRandy, among others), remembered each other vaguely, but enough. Totally weird. She lives in the neighborhood we were in. What are the odds? The stars aligned for me this whole trip, but more on that in another post (or three). So that was cool. And UK won, which was also cool. Too bad they couldn’t keep that up.
Dad, Corey, Candy, and Gaby all left on Monday (after breakfast at the Cafe du Monde, where we watched Gaby wallow in powdered sugar), and I went to work for a few hours. I came back to find Mom and Mindy waiting in my room (it was kind of sad to come back after work the next day and have no one to meet me). Mindy made an inspired dinner decision (I think it was her choice), and we went to the Grapevine Wine Bar. No live music, but the wine made up for that. We killed three bottles and ate appetizers (scallops, beef medallions, cheese and crackers, baked brie, and something else…mussels!) and skipped dessert. Partly because who needs dessert after three bottles of wine, and partly because fudge cheese didn’t sound particularly appetizing. I’m not making that up.
On our tipsy way back to the hotel after dinner, we met a three-man a capella group on the corner somewhere along Decatur and sang with them. Met some people on the way back home (all new friends), and then Mom and Mindy left the next morning (Tuesday). Tuesday night is when my solo adventures started, and I’ll get into them tomorrow. I’m typed out.