Nothing makes me feel more Hashtag Blessed than my ability to travel. 2016 was a pretty amazing travel year for this girl. I was lucky enough to have had the opportunity to spend my 27th birthday in one of my all time favorite cities, New Orleans, with one of my oldest friends, Liz. Talk about the cherry on top of an entire year’s worth of metaphorical exploration cake!
When it comes to exploring The Big Easy, this was not our first rodeo (it was actually my 5th time in NOLA and Liz’s second!). Because my dad spent a chunk of his youth in this city and it’s an easy 8 hour drive from my hometown of San Antonio, we went four years in a row from the time I was 20. I have thoroughly enjoyed wandering around and eating our way through New Orleans with my dad and sisters, but I had never really witnessed or experienced the whole “drink-hand-grenades-and-let-your-freak-flag-fly-on-Bourbon-Street” to its full potential. Now that I’ve been there, done that, I have to say I’m a big fan…
To say we front loaded our trip would be an understatement. Liz and I met at the airport, took a 25 minute Uber to our hotel in the French Quarter, checked in, freshened up, then headed out. Our first stop after a full day of traveling and fasting, was to get Po’Boys. The sweetheart concierge, Will, recommended NOLA Po’Boys, which was a quick walk from us. Since this particular place didn’t serve alcohol, we crossed the street to a bar and got our hurricanes to-go. Open Container Laws, schmopen Smoshainer Laws; THIS IS NEW ORLEANS, YO! After lining our stomachs with onion rings and bacon grease, it was time to brave the infamous Bourbon Street Bars.
As we walked down the street trying to be picky about where to go first, we were beckoned into a bar almost immediately. “Come here and we’ll let you ride the bull for free!!!” Crazy Joe, long time patron and mc of The Swamp, yelled at us from inside. We sat down and chatted with our bartender, Megan, while enjoying the 3 for 1 beer special and getting up the guts to actually ride the mechanical bull. Steve, the bassist for the cover band hitting the stage that night, bought us birthday shots and 5 minutes later, invited me onstage to play tambourine with the band. I wasn’t even shy about it, but that’s probably because Liz and Crazy Joe were the only people in the audience (it was 7 p.m. on a Wednesday after all). We may be from Texas, but neither Liz or myself have ever been on a bull, mechanical or otherwise. It was definitely a bucket list item for me, but I made Liz go first (I’m v bossy on my birthday). I just about died laughing watching her teeny tiny body flip over the bull with little to no effort from the bull operator! During my turn, my insanely powerful thigh muscles finally showed their worth as it was a cinch for me to grip the bull using just my legs. True story, I had to make an effort to fall off!
Even though this place was such a blast, we didn’t want to put all of our Bourbon Street eggs in one basket and skedaddle’d out of there. The progression of the rest of the night was as follows: bar with Wall Street looking douchebags who will probably buy us drinks, being ignored by Wall Street looking douchebags and buying our own gosh darn drinks, meeting some nice fellow Texans who want to buy us drinks, flashing my wedding ring but letting everyone know Liz is single, me becoming bff with fellow married person wearing a Stetson and the two of us attempting to wingman Liz and a Turtle From Entourage lookalike, Titos and Tonic, Titos and Soda, Fireball shots, sneakily pouring Fireball shot onto the ground while everyone else took theirs, leaving bar with Texans to go to The Cat’s Meow Karaoke Bar, Liz falls in the street, Liz uses Sean Paul’s hoodie to clean her wet butt, beer, drop iPhone from balcony without cracking it, snapchats, beers, my Stetson wearing BFF sings Dave Mathews Band karaoke and I question our friendship, bead throwing, balloon stealing, balloon popping, shots, dancing, goodbyes to our new friends, convenience store for gatorade and ibuprofen, oh shit they have egg rolls here, let’s get some egg rolls, we get egg rolls and fries, make our way back to our hotel, wolf down egg rolls while watching HGTV and pass out. It may not sound like much, but it was a very fun way to start my 27th year of life.
The cloudy, cold weather the next day really reflected our moods. We were hungover AF, but in desperate need of Cafe Du Monde’s famous beignets and chicory coffee. We spent our day walking around and eating and napping. Come nighttime, we slapped on some false lashes and went to a fancy birthday dinner at Cochon/Butcher in the Arts District then back to Frenchman Street for cheaper drinks and jazz music. The night ended at Dat Dog on Frenchman with a stranger coming up to tell us how pretty he thinks we are. Ego = fluffed.
On our last full day in town, we walked around and I took most of the pictures in this post. We went to Hotel Monteleone to pay tribute to their beautiful carousel bar and to see if we could sneak up to their rooftop pool like my dad did in the 60s (we got so close, but were thwarted by the locked doors). We spent most of the day in the beautiful Garden District, eating (duh) and window shopping at the amazing boutiques, furniture shops, and vintage stores.
My love for this city knows no bounds. The citizens of New Orleans have been through hell and back, but are still the nicest people I’ve ever met. If you ever get the chance to go to this marvelous city, take me with you… or at least tag me in all of your photos so I can live vicariously through you.
p.s. It’s been a week and I’m JUST NOW regaining feeling in my legs after riding that damn bull.