A Trip to the Big Easy


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Published: June 22nd 2011
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Mollys at the MarketMollys at the MarketMollys at the Market

Loren in the background bartending.

ATTENTION

(If you read nothing else in this entry, please scroll down and read the part about Loren and the links I included...you won't regret it.)

HOTEL: Ambassador Hotel, Tchoupitoulas Street, New Orleans, LA
AIRLINE: Delta

THURSDAY


This trip came about when I found out that not only is my friend Megan heading down to New Orleans for a convention, I had $600 on my college refund card. All I heard was "plane ticket." And if you're not familiar with it, you should definitely check out Trip Advisor. I set up a watch for it to alert me when ticket prices dropped. Instead of paying close to $500 for my plane ticket, I got it for less than $300 roundtrip, taxes and fees included.

It's rare that we have a flight that leaves at a reasonable time. We had to hit the road around 1 for the airport. Something I did not plan for was vomiting pure stomach acid for three hours and over sleeping. All things considered, we did fly into New Orleans without any glitches. Probably the roughest flight to date, but we made it so I guess I have nothing to complain about! After getting settled in, we headed down to the river walk for dinner by the Ole Miss at the Crazy Lobster. Alex got a bucket of fresh seafood - lobster, snow crab, dungeness crab, muscles, clams, crawfish and boiled corn & potatoes. I shared his because my stomach was still upset. At dinner we learned that in New Orleans you can carry around beer and the bars don't have a regulated closing time.

After dinner we headed down to Bourbon Street to see what that was all about. I didn't expect much because you know...it's June...Thursday night...but we were immediately greeted by men showing their nipples to get beads from the people on the balcony and a crazy crowd. The roads are blocked off from traffic at night and the streets are patrolled by police on horses. We saw a young man in handcuffs walking next to a few horses; officer on his left, right, and behind. Now we know how that works. There were girls dancing in windows, people lining the balconies, and almost every establishment had someone trying to talk you into going to their bar/club. Every corner has a Lucky Dog hot dog stand and in the middle of the action was a huge cross...a good 15 feet I would guess...with folks on megaphones encouraging you to not go to Hell, brochures in hand.

We first stopped at the Cats Meow, a karaoke bar. My coworker was coincidentally in the area at the same time with his friends, but by the time we got done with dinner and made it to Cats we missed them. Karaoke isn't really our bag so we kept walking. A friend, Loren, lives in Nola and bartends a couple of places. We pulled up directions to one of them, Molly's at the Market, and found it was less than a mile away. I had dropped Loren a message on Facebook a few months back that I'd be in the area, but hadn't made contact since. Thinking we would try our luck and see if he was there, we were pretty excited to see him walking into a back room. I asked the bartender if she could grab him, "You can go back there. He's working the bar back there."

Through the doors was the most amazing, tiny, tucked away bar. The walls are covered in faces of the past from floor to ceiling. The ceiling itself opened up to the heat of the night. My mild concern that Loren wouldn't recognize these Michigan faces quickly vanished when I saw the smile stretch across his very surprised face. He greeted us in a big sweaty hug and poured us a couple glasses of PBR.

Yes...right here...read this.

Loren is a phenomenal musician. He is multi-instrumental talented and has some serious chops. You can get a little preview on his Myspace page (where I found he's using a picture I took last year as his profile picture), but you should really do yourself a favor and buy his album on iTunes or Amazon because it is nothing short of blow-your-mind incredible.

Alex and I headed back to catch some Zs before starting a first full day in the big easy.

FRIDAY


My friend Emily posted on Facebook about her trip to New Orleans around the same time that I booked a flight out. She suggested we try Surrey's Juice Bar for breakfast; about a 20 minute walk from our hotel. We weren't disappointed. I ordered a fresh apple juice and Alex got OJ with kale. It was the first time I had apple juice that wasn't translucent. It was a cinnamon brown color and tasted similar to the cider at Flavor Fruit Farms. Alex's OJ with green stuff floating on top was delicious too and I don't usually like orange juice. For breakfast, I ordered BBQ shrimp and grits. Alex got a Costa Rican breakfast of red beans, rice, sausage, corn tortillas, and pico.

New Orleans BBQ is nothing like ours. For my birthday, my BFF Cassandra made me some amazing Nola BBQ shrimp, so I knew what to expect when I ordered. It's this buttery seasoned mess of shrimp that you can almost feel the years of your life being cut short as your arteries begin to clog, but is worth every bite. It's a meal that you're grateful you have to walk back to the hotel after because any form of activity makes you feel slightly less guilty about the indulgence.

Behind me, I saw a picture of Matthew Mcconaughey seated exactly where I was sitting. I'm not sure if he was visiting or if a movie was filmed there. It looked exactly as pictured before, but in place of the lizard on the wall is the now framed picture of Mcconaughey.

On our way back, we stopped at the National World War II Museum. It's located in New Orleans because a guy, Mr. Higgens, who is from there, invented a boat that could land equipment on shore. It took a lot of time and effort to convince them that his boat was better than what the Navy had to offer and after having a landing contest, a contract was immediately signed when his boat landed three times while the Navy was caught up in the tides. It was his boats that got us on shore to ultimately win the war overseas. The museum was great, very informative, but man, after Germany finally surrendered I was just ready to be home. We hurried through the continued conflict with Japan and finally got out of there just in time for the museum to be closing.

Mother's Restaurant was half a block from our hotel and quite famous for their Po-boys. When we walked in for dinner, we were greeted by an armed police officer who gave us a menu and directed us to the line.They were hopping, but not in comparison to earlier in the day when the line is stretched down the block. We split Mother's famous ham and roast debris (gravy) covered po-boy with a side of turnip greens and cabbage. There was no over-hype of that sandwich. We read on the way in that instead of counting the calories, you should count how many times you say, "I can't eat another bite," and then go back for more. The food is way too good here for my well being.

Being Friday night, we wanted to see what was happening on Bourbon and if things had gotten any crazier than the night before. We stopped at an Oyster bar where Alex had his first of many oysters on a half shell. From there we made our way down the strip, checking out a few different places. We ventured down to a bar that was formerly a blacksmith shop. They light it only with candles and had the coldest drinks yet.

Side Note: That's one thing about New Orleans that I did not expect, while we try to conserve hot water in the shower for the next person, that seems to be all that's available, at least in our hotel. The first 30 seconds to a minute is mildly chilly and then it warms up and keep getting warmer as your shower progresses. We had the option of scorching hot or warm. With that said, the drinks, served kind of cold, quickly warm up the heat. Sweat is dripping from your body and your glass.

After the Blacksmith, I heard Adele coming from a joint on the corner and decided that would be our next stop. Apparently I got my signals crossed because after we ordered a drink I looked around at the art on the walls and asked Alex if it was a gay bar. "I was kind of thinking the same thing," as he looked around and a guy came up to give the male bartender a friendly smooch. Not long after that a really nice guy came up and started to flirt with Alex. I'm glad Alex is so comfortable with himself. I think the guy's name was Brad...if not, I'll call him Brad for the sake of this story. After Brad and I agreed that Alex is a silver fox, he began to tell us about his travels to New York, the people around here and the haunted hotel. Apparently he was under the impression that I was just Alex's friend because he asked him where his boyfriend was and when Alex said he has a girlfriend, Brad says to him, "Well dump her!" then looked at me and says, "Right?" To which I encouraged with a huge smile and "you know it." Having put Alex through enough, we said our good-byes and ventured on.

...To be continued...


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22nd June 2011

Nice!
Those poboys, I tell ya... They have cheeseburger poboys at this one place called Sparh's in Thibodeaux, LA, where Alicia's from and oh my GOD they are so good.
22nd June 2011

.......wow....another trip!
.....your blog is so funny! Enjoy!

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