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New Orleans

OCTOBER 3, 2010
The time I spent in New Orleans was heavy with a sense of falsitude. Perhaps it was because we spent most of our time in the touristy area and the city was quick to fix that part up. It is harder to find authenticity in a city that caters to visitors. I wanted to find the same sense of sincerity we had found in other cities but it was harder for me to navigate. I was running after jazz and kept bumping in to frozen daiquiris. Does this make sense? My general experience in New Orleans, I regret to admit, was one of missed opportunity. However, that does not mean we did not attempt to tackle the city.

Upon arriving in the city we went straight down to the French Quarter. We grabbed a table at Café Du Mont and ordered coffee and beignets. They were great, I mean, you can hardly go wrong with fried dough. This is not actually an opinion of mine, I don’t have much of a sweet tooth. But I’ve heard it said before. We were surprised by the couple at the neighboring table paying for out breakfast though.

People had already begun drinking out on the streets at one in the afternoon. We perused some shops and listened to some street performers. Then decided we should start thinking about where we were going to sleep tonight. Not wanting to resort to a parking lot, especially in New Orleans.

We found a hostel on Felicity street near Magazine street which we were told was a neat area. The hostel was great, clean and friendly and full of all kinds of travelers. I’d highly recommend it to anyone. It was called AAE Bourbon Hostel. If anyone is ever traveling though, check it out.

That night we took the trolley car down to the Quarter. Out of imagined obligation we bought daiquiris. Mine was much too sweet and gave me more of a headache than a buzz so I abandoned it for a beer at Flannigan’s Pub. Which came recommended to us by our friend David in Birmingham. But to our disappointment our attempts at conversation with the bartender and the customers were not fruitful. We poured our drinks in to plastic cups and kept on trucking. We walked to Frenchmen street hoping to see some music but most of the bars had a cover charge. Ah sigh… our night wasn’t working out how we had planned. We decided to go back to the hostel neighborhood for one last drink and maybe a late night po boy. Then clambered in to our bunk beds for the night.
Our second day in New Orleans was much more successful than the first. We started with a splurge on brunch at a place called Dante’s Kitchen. We both tried alligator sausage, Annie’s excuse being that alligators live in water so they were kind of like fish. Hmm… It wasn’t very good though. Similar to a fatty chicken. We weren’t impressed. But the rest of the meal was fantastic. Crab Cake Benedict and stone ground grits. Primo.

Now everytime I eat chicken or a hamburger I'm not hardpressed to go out and look at a bird or a cow but for some reason after trying the gator sausage we were itching to see some gators. So off to the bayou we went. Swamp tours cost money so we attempted to lead our own which resulted in a lot of mosquito bites and almost walking on to part of the swamp that looked like grass. Plus, no gators. We kind of gave up on this point, plus, Annie had to pee. And for those of you who know Annie, you will know this is a frequent and urgent occurance that must be taken care of quickly. So I pulled the car over at what I thought was an abandonded barn like structure called "Bayou Barn." Annie ran off to pee while I stepped out to take some pictures. Then... a man appears. An old toothless man in a rhinestone studded cowboy hat and rubber boots. He asks what we are doing there and I tell him we are looking to see some alligators. And as fate would have it... this man, his name I discover is Wilbur,has some gators. I'm not sure what he means by "I've got some" but I follow him anyways. He's got some swamp behind the barn and he walks up to the water and starts making this bizarre noise, I can only describe it as a mixture of a cluck and a honk but low and behold... out of the water come about five alligators. I kid you not. I was like you have GOT to be kidding me!

 

Wilbur explained he'd been looking after these gators for ten years and that they always come when he calls them. He's got a real quiet and garbled way of talking, I could only try and guess what he was saying but from what I gathered he had a special relationship with these alligators and he comes down to the water every day just to... hang out with them? But he warned us, as fond as he was of them, he would never allow himself to trust them completely. After all.. they were alligators.

 

i know i've been so bad about keeping up with the blog. i appologize to all of you and plan on cranking some out very soon. our travels have been amazing and i have this fantastic feeling they have only just begun.

 

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