With Alberto the subtropical almost hurricane storm threatening, I went to New Orleans recently. The following notes on New Orleans will be like the city itself: unorganized and haphazard but with some color and fun. And parts will make no sense.
I went to New Orleans about 20 years ago and had a similar taxi situation this time. 20 years ago I arrived and got into a taxi with a taxi driver who would not speak except for one word replies.
We excitedly about the weather.
“Rain,” he said.
“What sites do you recommend we see?” we asked in our cutest touristy voices.
“Don’t know,” he answered in his most non caring hating customers cabbie voice.
The return taxi that year was vociferous and friendly. He told us all about the parades, best places to eat, etc.
This year (May 2018, New Orlean’s 300 year anniversary) the cab at the airport asked for our phone GPS for directions to our Airbnb. The owner assured us that all cab drivers would be able to find it easily. Not ours. He did not understand us nor us him. Then when we returned we had a friendly, welcoming driver who not only asked about us but also told us his personal history with New Orleans.
But I have his card and next time I go to New Orleans I am going to call him to pick me up at the airport. Maybe we will stop for some po boys or Big Ass Beers.
The Airbnb was a diamond in a non sparkling area. Yet it was within a short walking distance to the French Quarter and Bourbon Street and Café De Monde and and and and and…
Based on the tour guides, both those on foot and in mule pulled carriages (they do not use horses to pull the horse carriages there. It is too hot for horses) and the bike tours, the two most famous people associated with New Orleans are: the voodoo Queen Marie Laveau and Nicholas Cage. Nicholas Cage bought and then lost due to non payment of taxes 4 houses. His yet to be used burial tomb is a favorite tourist stop. Maria Laveau’s picture is everywhere on menus, walls, etc. She was a powerful voodoo follower with many followers.
We went on a cemetery tour with a rascal of a tour guide who took us there on a horse carriage. He was not politically correct. He said he had seen more breasts on Bourbon Street than in a woman’s locker room. Except he did not us the word breasts. The word he used, several times, began with the letter ‘T.’
We visited a cemetery in the Garden District on our own. Both cemetery tours were nice but a little bit dead.
There was music everywhere in New Orleans. Musicians share their craft in cafes, bars, and middle of the street. On a sidewalk you could see and hear a violinist virtuoso ready for Carnige Hall. But a block away you could hear someone playing a guitar they received for Christmas many years ago and never bothered to play it until now.
Bourbon Street at night was so crowded it was difficult to walk through it without bumping into people. At one point we were all so shoved together one man put his hand in my coat pocket by mistake. A good thing I had reached down to check on my cell phone. Geez, he might have taken it by accident.
Two young women were so poor they did not have enough money for shirts. They had to cover themselves up with gold glitter.
Then there is the need for beads. Women get beads thrown at them if they lift up their shirts.
The swamp tour was very nice. They fed the alligators marshmellows to bait them to come and show themselves. There are no crocodiles in New Orleans.
The final night was filled with walking tours. I mean many walking tours. I mean every block had one and some blocks had two or three. Some were ghost tours and some were city tours. We stayed to listen to one very young tour guide (even younger than me) tell a potentially risqué story about someone breaking into a room via the roof and took a picture of a couple who had no clothes on. The kid said the moral of the story was to never sleep with no clothes on. I said, silently, the moral of the story was I was damned glad I did not pay money to hear his lameass story.
The trolley’s are fun if you can get one. They often times do not stop. This makes the people waiting angry and they yell some obscenities.
There was more to the trip but I think this is enough for now, and all I can recall.