Archive for November 13th, 2010

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Since I skipped Vegas this time around, I figured the saying could certainly apply just as well here. I love New Orleans. Always have, ever since my Dad and Maggie took Steven and I on a road trip before Steven went into the Navy. I was 16 and New Orleans was one of the stops. A magical place that combined drama, music and history – all things I love. I’ve always wanted to go back but didn’t have the chance until now.

It hasn’t lost any of its charm. Of course, I didn’t really notice the ‘adult playland’ aspect back then as we mainly walked around in the day, but it’s certainly hard to miss! It reminded me a bit of Amsterdam, though, in how things that might stand out and shock elsewhere, just seem to blend in and seem normal here.

Within the first hour of entering the city, we’d explored Cemetery #1, where people go to pay tribute to famous Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau and others who are buried in tombs there. Scenes from a few films have been made there, including Easy Rider, and Nicolas Cage already has a resting place in the cemetery – the giant pyramid you’ll see in the pictures above. It’s a fascinating place to explore – I had to hold Shannon back, as she discovered an open tomb and could see a bag and bones. “I want to reach down and snatch a bone to bring home as a souvenir. Do you think that would be rude?” she asked. Uh, yeah. I think it’s time to go….

We didn’t get far before we stopped at Priestess Miriam’s Voodoo Spiritual Temple and Store. We had a great talk with Priestess Miriam and a local woman, but then as we were getting in the car, a clearly evil woman looked at our car and seemed to be casting a spell on us. Shannon said she’s seen her before and is a local witch. Not good. We got out of there as fast as we could.

The rest of the day was comparably tame, spent exploring the French Quarter and shopping before our evening tour. There are a zillion to choose from but we went with the one that’s supposed to be the most historically accurate, not just a sensational ghost tour. Don’t get me wrong – there are plenty of ghost stories, but they’re all based on research rather than made up to please an audience. Being New Orleans, of course there was an intermission at a local pub to refill our drinks.

Before tackling Bourbon Street, Shannon and I treated ourselves to beignets (similar to fried dough – my favorite) at the famous 24-hour Cafe Du Monde. Mmmmmmm – a definite must stop for anyone visiting the area! But probably not the best thing to eat just before riding a mechanical bull. Yup, I did it. We ended up spending most of the evening in Bourbon Cowboy with some new friends and after a few drinks, the bull looked pretty easy to ride. It’s not. And I’m still feeling it in my muscles. That’s all I’ll say about the evening as ‘what happens in New Orleans, stays in New Orleans…”

Shannon and I had all sorts of plans for Day 65 but those all disappeared when we woke up hurting. It was all we could do to check out, get back to her house and get me on the road. I can’t be late – I have to pick my cousin up at the Atlanta airport (eight hours away) at noon on Day 66. So following the recommendation of several friends, we drank lots of water, took ibuprofen and vitamin B, had some carbs and I was functioning enough to leave Louisiana. Time for some Gone With the Wind adventures in Atlanta…

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