Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Big Easy, 24 hours in

After my last post, we sat around the living room of the apartment for a while trying to get six people to decide what to do.  Not that we were arguing or anything, just none of us had done a ton of research before coming here, and we'd pretty much seen the French Quarter during the morning.  But we got out of the house around four, and drove to the lower 9th ward, the area hardest hit by Katrina.  My brother had seen it a couple of years after, and was curious to see how much had changed.  It seemed voyeuristic to drive around an area that had seen such tragedy, but it was sobering to see all the houses that had been left abandoned, occasionally after having been gutted down to the framework, but usually just left as they stood after the hurricane.  Some had been preserved or had new houses rebuilt, including some really modern modular-type houses, but they were interspersed with the abandoned houses, and empty lots both mowed and completely overtaken by nature.  A few of the houses even had the notations on them from when crews came through in the immediate aftermath to assess the damage and lives taken.

We drove past the site of Pit Bulls and Parolees, a show my sister watches and since she's really into both Pit Bulls and Parolees dog rescues, she wants to visit them while we're in town.  However, it was after their hours of being open to the public were over, so we only drove by--we'll visit tomorrow.  We did see camera crews, and a guy we can assume is a parolee out walking a couple dogs.

We took a bit of a circuitous route back to the French Quarter, driving past a cool above-ground cemetery I also want to check out tomorrow, and Louis Armstrong park, which also looks cool, and again, want to check out tomorrow.

We parked in the French Quarter to eat "lunch" (it was now 5:00 p.m. or so, but we'd had breakfast at nearly noon), found a little courtyard and had some appetizers.  I even tried a tiny nibble of both alligator cake (like a crab cake, sort of) and alligator sausage.  I figure it's just WRONG to be entirely vegetarian in New Orleans, though I do have my limits--I'm not actually ordering any of things things for myself, but I'll try a nibble of what others are ordering.

At some point, Eric took the car back to the apartment and walked back, while the rest of us wandered around town.  We ended up at Pat O'Brian's, where they have a piano bar with two pianos.  There was a woman on one piano and a man on the other, and while we were disappointed they didn't "duel" more (or rather, sing/play in duet), they both were good.  But they'd each play a couple songs, and while one person was the main singer/player, the other was looking up the next couple songs on their laptop/iPad, and just kind of tapping the keys with one hand or humming along a bit, but not actively participating.  Anyway, like I said, they were both really good.  My sister went a little crazy with trying to see the most ridiculous songs she could request and have them still play it.

Then those two took a break, and two women came out.  They both appeared to be of a certain age, as they say, so we were wondering what they would think of the ridiculous songs my sister had been requesting.  Sure enough, they read her name and the blurb about how it was my brother and SIL's anniversary, then played a completely unrelated song, not at all what she had requested.  So we weren't too impressed.  Then the other lady started her set.  Wow.  She sang in a shrill falsetto, and changed keys every couple of measures, and not just a little bit.  And I'm tone deaf.  She sang Friends in Low Places, which my sister had requested, about five octaves above middle C, then started another song an octave or two BELOW middle C, so it's not like she could ONLY sing shrilly.  She also sang at really low volume, so between the volume and the pitch, none of us could tell what song she was singing until we got to the chorus, even if it was a song we knew all the words to.

The original two people came back out, and we stayed until we'd been there a total of two hours or so, then wandered around the French Quarter again some more.  Wow.  It's crazy.  I'd read a website about things NOT to do in New Orleans (like, areas to visit instead of the super-touristy areas), and it included the tidbit that beads are not "done" except at Mardi Gras and maybe the couple of weeks leading up to it.  Apparently that's not entirely accurate.  Guys were on the balconies throwing beads at hot women like a mini Mardi Gras on a random Thursday in November.  Loud music in nearly every bar, crowds in the closed-down street (not permanently closed like Fremont Street in Vegas or Times Square in NYC, but just blockaded after a certain hour), establishments showing off their hot and "barely legal" entertainment options...  Yeah.

No photos on this post.  I kind of forgot to keep taking photos on the phone, so they're all on my real camera.

1 comment:

  1. New Orleans is one of my favorite places! I liked it so much I went to school for a semester at UNO just as a good way to stay a little longer lol. I did lots of touristy things and lots of non-touristy things. Food was amazing, night life was amazing, photo opportunities were amazing! I hope someday I can go back with my husband to show him the sights. Go Saints! :)