When my sister shared she would be in New Orleans for a conference, I immediately asked if I could join. I only visited New Orleans once, the week before Katrina and my first year of college during our annual family vacation. Although I did get my first tattoo during that vacation and almost got free Prince concert tickets, I didn’t have the full New Orleans experience, if you know what I mean.
While my sister attended sessions, I decided to explore the city through its restaurants and tours. I had fantastic gumbo, jambalaya, and even tried alligator sausage (tasted like regular sausage).
Also, the week we were there New Orleans was experiencing a heatwave. New Orleans is already how and muggy during the summer but it was damn near 100 degrees every day, ALL DAY! I was sweating sooo much.
The first night in town, I reunited with my college mom, Shenequa, who is also my sister’s college friend. I used to babysit her children while I was at Rutgers and spent many holidays with her family. It was great catching up with her, but also, I realized it was the first time I ever truly hung out with her outside family get-togethers. It was a fun night roaming through the streets of the big easy and seeing all the funny characters the city has to offer.
Ever since I watched the Princess & The Frog, I’ve wanted to drown myself with beignets whenever I returned to New Orleans. Recommendations from the locals to check out Café Beignet instead of Café Du Monde, and it was deeeelllliocous and so pretty inside. I’m terrible at trying to capture the aesthetics through my iPhone (One day I will master that).
Decided to take a 2 hour day tour of the city. We explored the majority of the town and learned of its history, even strolled through its above-ground grave. But the only thing that kept my excitement was being able to pass the Real World: New Orleans house. Only one of the best seasons of the early years of Real World that gave us the feisty yet HILARIOUS Melissa Beck and of course the iconic “Come and Be My Baby Tonight” song. Moment fulfilled!
The city of Jazz and fantastic food is also known for its rich history in voodoo and spirits. I went on an evening ghost tour, that took us to some of the most haunted areas in the city. One was Charity Hospital which supposedly has no electricity since it shut down after Katrina but there were several rooms with lights on and just overall spooky. A lot of the patients from Charity Hospital throughout the decades were buried in Charity Cemetery which is now haunted, and we walked through it. Let me rephrase that, the people I was on tour with went and explored, I went as far as the tour guide said we should go. I looked at the pictures that showed ghosts that popped up in their photos. My arm hairs were standing, and I felt something brush against me while I was walking, but I paid it no mind. But I wasn't going to face demons or any ghosts if the tour guide won't even go too far. Towards the end, we met with a holistic doctor who had all these different organic supplies create rituals, very cool to meet him. I also went and saw a psychic...she didn't really tell me anything I didn't already know of myself but it was just fun in general.
We can’t be in New Orleans without experiencing Bourbon Street! I had jello shots as if I were back at Rutgers pregaming for Thirsty Thursday. My only complaint about Bourbon St/New Orleans was there are too many sugary drinks. I don’t know how many can drink grenades all night longs without getting a headache, but I can’t get behind it. I finally crossed off my bucket list to ride a mechanical bull, which I must say, I did very well.
(you can watch here, I don't know how to embed it to the page https://www.facebook.com/pierreintomylife/videos/200041160691847/)
Then my sister dragged me to a gentlemen’s club…and I can’t get into the idea of buff dudes with baby oil gyrating the ground and twirling on poles. I left 15 minutes into and went to bed.
Finally went to the swamps to check out the alligators. I had no clue alligators go cray cray for marshmallows. I, of course, was the first to volunteer to feed the alligators and to hold a baby alligator. The small ones are adorable the big ones are intimidating. And just like me, when they’ve overeaten, they become lazy and can’t do much. I’m the same way!
Overall, I had such a great time in New Orleans. And the feels of being black and proud seeps through the streets. It was a nice change than what I’m used to.