I've been to New Oreans as a visitor/tourist several times and also spent four years there as a university student at Tulane. So this is not the wide-eyed account of a first time vistor. Rather, it's a journal/recollection of one of my trips which will hopefully jog my memory in years to come.
I had really just arrived in the states from Scotland before I picked up and flew to New Orleans. When I suffer from jet lag, it usually hits about two or three days after I travel. Which was exactly when I boarded my Delta flight from Atlanta to NOLA. So it really seemed a bit like one continuous flight from Edinburgh to New Orleans.
Caroline and Stephanie met me at the airport, along with Kristen (CD's sister) and Kristen's boyfriend, Dave. For reference, here's a photo of the three lasses (with a fourth friend on your left). Kristen's a bit of a wild child, but she just kept going and going and going for the entire trip back to the airport. At least she hadn't changed much.
I was staying with Debbie in New Orleans. We had last seen each other a "just" a few weeks ago when she came up to Edinburgh, so it was great to get to spend time with her again. And we actually just did a lot of that. We went out a few times with her roommates, Donna and Ciaran, but they went away for Mardi Gras weekend to Houston and weren't around that much. So Deb and I had the chance to hit some parades and I got to meet some of her friends.
A lot of people I knew from my years at Tulane were back in town for the holiday (of course, a good number still haven't left!). Brad Beattie, with whom I spent an entire semester making up song lyrics during a EE course and who is still a good friend, threw a Mardi Gras party where I saw lots of familiar faces. A group of us can be seen here. After the party things got a bit hectic. But when all was said and done, I think I was in bed by midnight. Of course, we started at about 2PM.
In four years at Tulane I never managed to see a Cowboy Mouth concert. They're a New Orleans band that have received some national airplay and are pretty good. Well, I enjoy them. Deb had seen them several times, as had most of my friends. While I was in town they were doing what they claimed would be their last NOLA concert until 2000, or something like that. Anyway, a group of us got tickets. Actually, Debbie and I wound up with two each, so some of her friends came along as well. I guess they did more than come along, because we used their house as a meeting point and they drove us to the concert.
Before heading off for the show, a group of us went to Nola's, an Italian restaurant. I mention it only because I have this picture. Anyway, we're at the concert, having a pretty good time, but still listening to the opening band. Most of us have also had a bit to drink. One of us, who shall remain nameless or else her lawyer-to-be self might chase me down, had much too much to drink. To edit the story down a bit (and because my memory is a bit hazy as well), she ended up getting home thanks to the ever-sober and generous Scott Schull, but managed to get both of us fairly bruised in the process. When I went to some job interviews the next week I don't think they believed me when I told them I recieved the marks from helping a friend. But they offered me a job anyway.
Lest you think my entire week in New Orleans was all fun and games, let me inform you that I did go running around Audobon park a few times. The weather was usually pretty nice and it was wonderful to run in the sun. I was also rudely awakened several morning by jackhammering in the car park across from Deb's apartment. Something compelled them to start at 8 or 9 in the morning and the apartment was perfectly positioned to capture the full range and volume of the acoustic horror they were creating.
The day I left NOLA was Debbie's birthday. To be honest, I had forgotten that when I booked the tickets, but we made plans to celebrate the night before. After much fussing around, we made reservations at Brennann's, famous for its Bannannas Foster. That's a marvelous concoction of the fruit, some icecream, some brandy, and oodles of other great stuff. The dinner was a lot of fun, and our waiter was pretty friendly -- he brought out some complimentary champagne for Deb's birthday and presented her with an all natural Mr. Potato Head as we were leaving. We posed with the tuber for a parting photo.
Once again, I left New Orleans. And although I always leave behind a lot of people that I care a lot about, I'm always kind of glad to be out of the city. It's not that I don't like, because I do, and I have a wonderful time when I'm there, but there's something alien about it. Even during four years there I knew that it would never be home, and my visits just reinforce that. But the Crescent City is definitely a great place to spend a holiday!