03 March 2010

Honeymoon in New Orleans: Mardi Gras

So, after an exhausting 7 hours in the car, a manic rush to pack, a half assed chat with my dad who was staying at our house while we were away, and a horrible night’s sleep, we jumped on the plane to New Orleans. We managed to get into New Orleans by 2:30 PM on Tuesday, FAT Tuesday, but because it was the last day of Mardi Gras, it took us a little over an hour to get from the airport to our hotel in the French Quarter. The French Quarter was jumping. People were everywhere. Everyone was wearing beads, everyone had a cocktail (or two) in their paws, and almost everyone was in costume. It’s so hard to describe the vibe of Mardi Gras in the French Quarter. All I can say is that if doesn’t put a smile on your face at first sight, something is seriously wrong with you.

We checked into our hotel on Canal, dropped off our bags, and set off immediately. At 4 PM, it was incredibly hard to find a sober person (even behind the bar) and I set off on a mission to get us some beads. Most people I talk to about this trip always ask if I had to show my girls to get some beads. Nope, not once. How it works is that you walk along the street and on the balconies above if you see someone giving out beads you hold up your hand and say, “Hey! Beads please!” If they give them to you, you say thanks. That’s the entire effort taken to get a string of colored plastic balls. Of course, some people make it a bit harder. One balcony of people were tossing out Superballs. If you were able to bounce the Superball from the ground into their cup on the balcony, you got beads. Sure, it was a lot of work, but they had really decent beads and it was fun. The ONLY time I was asked to show my girls was to a lone guy who had a balcony of feather boas. If the guy wasn’t so creepy and if I wasn’t as sober as I was at the time, I may have done it. But at the time, it didn’t seem worth it to me.

Mardi Gras in the French Quarter

The majority of our Mardi Gras was spent like that. Walking around, seeing the costumes, listening to the music, taking pictures, getting beads, and drinking. I made sure Andy got the world’s biggest hurricane and a cute hand grenade with a smiley face on the glass. I think we were in need of a short rest when we pulled up at stool at Sneaky Pete’s by our hotel. I had to use the bathroom there but found that the Women’s room was closed. I dragged Andy over to watch the door to the Men’s as it didn’t have a lock. It also didn’t have toilet paper or a toilet seat which is really where I draw the line when it comes to peeing – or not peeing as was the case. I persuaded Andy to take me somewhere else with a toilet but not before turning around and asking this guy in costume if I could take his picture. He agreed and afterward, he and his girlfriend struck up a conversation with us. His name was TJ from Portland, hers Debra from Shreveport, Louisiana, and this was their annual outing to Mardi Gras. I don’t think we could have been any luckier running into these two as they knew exactly where to go and who to talk to once we got there. The first stop on our TJ and Debra tour was to the absinthe bar. I had never had absinthe and was curious about the Green Fairy. All I can say is that the Green Fairy tastes like Grandpa’s old jar of hard black licorice and that any affects that it might have had went down the drain as that where I poured this vial drink when no one was looking. The 2nd stop on the TJ\Debra tour was to the tequila bar. TJ found that we were on our honeymoon and told us to get the $25 shot of tequila. We gently pointed out that we couldn’t afford $25 a shot and since TJ was drunk and obviously wealthy enough to afford it, bought us the shots instead. Again, it was nasty – though I reckon if you like cognac, then this is the tequila for you. Being a little put out that we didn’t like the drinks they were suggesting so far, they dragged us on to yet another place that required that we walk through Bourbon Street.

Andy with hand grenade and an awesome hat that I wish hadn't been so expensive to buy.

TJ, Debra and myself at the tequila bar.

I really haven’t touched on Bourbon Street thus far and I think it’s about time that I did. Bourbon Street is like Fort Lauderdale on Spring Break compressed to a single street. The bars are of the open, no seat variety, with hip-hop music blaring and flashing neon lights. The street itself is packed – and is ALWAYS packed (not just on Mardi Gras, but ALWAYS) – and typically the average age is around 22 years old. Bourbon Street might as well be called Young Drunk Tourist Street for all intensive purposes. Even when it’s not Fat Tuesday, you run the risk of stepping into beer, pee, puke or worse when you walk Bourbon Street. We tended to avoid Bourbon at all costs, except to do a quick cross over to another street. Which is a smart move, really, considering when TJ and Debra took us down Bourbon, we had to all hold hands Ferris Bueller in the Chicago Art Museum style, and I managed to step in a foot deep puddle of beer. A foot! Of beer! With both feet! Ugh! Thankfully I wasn’t sober enough to realize my folly of this until the next morning.

At the next bar, and also our last of the evening, there was a man with a blue face dressed up as George Washington. We never got his real name but instead called him George the entire time. George was great. George was also really kissy. And every time George kissed he left a lovely blue kissy mark on our cheeks.

Kissy George

I don’t know what time it was when Andy and I finally decided to throw in the Mardi Gras towel. It was pretty early by New Orleans standards, which I’m a bit embarrassed about. All I know is that we grabbed some sort of food substance and went back to the hotel to sleep. The next morning I woke up and wondered what the hell happened to my pants. Seeing as the dirt and grime went up to the knees and they could practically stand on their own the leg bottoms were so stiff, I reckon that they had a pretty good time.

Next….Honeymoon in New Orleans (part three)

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like TJ and Debra were a great find. I'll be sure to avoid Bourbon St if I am ever in New Orleans.