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Published: February 16th 2018
On the Street Car
also known as a red rattler
So Monday started in a fairly relaxed fashion. There were only two parades tody, Opheus and Proteus, and they didn’t start until 5.15 (according to the schedule) So we had a day to explore the city. We decided to get a streetcar, AKA a tram, and just see where the road went. Five minutes on the tram and I suggested we find Lafayette cemetery. I really need a destination. We got off at St Charles avenue thinking we could catch the tram down to Lafayette. Now St Charles Avenue is one of the streets the parades come down. Soo the trams weren’t running, 6 hours before the parade and they had already been cancelled. It wasn’t just us that got caught. There was a local man who was quite upset that he couldn’t catch the streetcar to work.
We walked back to Canal St and caught another tram down to the waterfront. However, the furthest we got was the shopping centre we were at the day before. So we decided to cab it to the cemetery. The cemetery itself was very interesting. Almost all of the graves have mausoleums above them. Jo thought it might be a wealth and status
On the hunt for Lestat
thing, I thought it might be a flood issue thing. Which summoned up images of a flooded New Orleans hosting a coffin regatta. The graves are all shared. I counted 15 people on one grave. I’m sure there were others that had more. They really do pack em in. Some were quite sad. Once we saw from the 1800’s had a family of about 7 children, only two survived to adulthood. Another had an entire fire brigade in it. (that was a big one) We wondered if it was a special spot for the servicemen or if there was a big fire in which they all perished. There are probably thousands of stories here, we really should have booked a walking tour, but that doesn’t tie in with our random day. Either way I didn’t find Lestat or Nicclaus. Bit of a disappointment.
After the cemetery we walked a couple of blocks to where the cabbie told us we could get a bus back into town. There were a few shops and restaurants around so we tried to get some lunch. But everything had a 15 minute wait time so we settled for a coffee. It was the first
decent coffee I’ve had since landing in NOLA. God damn it was good, I’d even say Melbourne standard.
We made our way back into the French Quarter, and then did a little bit of shopping. I got a scarf and leggings in Mardi Gras colours and Jo go socks. Did I mention it was cold? It was bloody freezing. There was a bitter wind that would have made Melbourne jealous. We had brought clothes for Cuba not expecting any cold weather. The warmest I had was my ¾ Denim jeans and fleece hoodie. Jo did not have much more. We were freezing so a few layers were in order. After making our extremely beautiful purchases we found ourselves an Irish bar to keep warm in until it was time for the parade. Yes there’s an Irish bar, there’s always an Irish bar.
Ait would be at least an hour before the parade got to us. We should have taken more time. The parade was delayed and it was two hours before we saw the first float. By this time we had worked out where the nearest bar selling takeaways was and we were well and truly warmed up.
We finally met our first fellow Aussies. One guy from Perth in the Irish bar and then at the parade we had a family from Melbourne behind us. We also made friends with the folks around us. Maybe its because we are in a party town at party time, but almost everyone we’ve met so far has been very friendly and happy to chat.
After the parade, warmed up with whisky, we decided to return to the Irish bar. They had a really cool band playing so we kept drinking and dancing. Jo sensibly made her way home at 1am. Me, however, had found several friends who were keen to head to Bourbon street. I know we visited a bar called the Boon Dock saints where I met some of New Orleans finest. We then went onto a karoke bar called the Cats Meow. I did not sing, no-one needs to hear that. However I didn’t think that bar was really the cats meow so we went next door to another bar. I stumbled home some time around four.
Then came Mardi Gras day, on ash Wednesday. On this day everyone gets dressed up in all manner of
costumes and heads into the centre of town for a big party. Jo made it down to Bourbon st and take some interesting photos. I made it to the balcony to watch people in costumes walking home. I am not 21 anymore.
And that was the end of my Mardi Gras experience. We ordered in pizza for dinner. The ordered a large from a one place that didn’t deliver. Two hours later and starving we cancelled the order and placed a second order from a place recommended by the hotel. We ordered an extra large because the price was similar to the large from the first place so Jo figured it would be around the same size. You should have seen this thing. It was massive. Yummy, but it was enough to feed a family of 10. We managed to stuff down a couple of slices each and then donated the rest of it to the hotel staff.
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