New Orleans, Louisiana. It’s an interesting place, even when you are there as a young twenty-something and you end up consuming a lot of alcohol…
There is so much more to the city, but being who I was then, I didn’t have a huge urge to explore outside of the French Quarter. Though I did party a lot there, that also wasn’t my usual MO. Maybe that is why I have such fond memories of my time there, because I lived so differently during my short visit. I had such joie de vivre!
French quarter, my main squeeze in New Orleans
Besides drinking and dancing in the French Quarter, I took part in a few tourist activities. Above all else, I wanted to do a walking ghost tour. We were told deliciously spooky stories by a deliciously spooky guide. The story of the Lalaurie house has stuck with me and still haunts my thoughts in the middle of the night on occasion. In a nutshell, Madame Lalaurie was a very rich and very twisted woman who conducted extremely cruel experiments/tortures on her slaves. It still makes me sick to my stomach to think about.
I loved the French Quarter. It was just my style way back then. We ate at the famous Cafe du Monde. I had so many muffulettas, embracing the new-to-me food (and I didn’t even like olives back then). We had a bar that as “our” bar during our time there. There was a house band there that let me come onstage and dance. And we shopped for souvenirs. So many souvenirs! Because New Orleans had things I hadn’t seen in my (then) 22 years of life and the prices appealed to my inner cheapskate.
Masquerade, where the world will never find you
So what was so alluring? Masquerade masks of all varieties and porcelain theatre masks 🎭. They appealed to my inner theatre geek and desire to be a famous actress. Which I still thought I desperately wanted back then. Plus, the masquerade masks in particular, were stunning.
That’s a heckuva bad trip… and not the road kind
At one point, I came out of a shop and a guy was standing just outside the shop, saying that someone was getting beaten down the way. There were more shops in the direction and clearly no crowd gathering around. There also weren’t screams from that direction and it was early afternoon. We freaked out a little and went in the other direction. We eventually realized the guy had been on one heck of a bad trip (the drug induced kind).
Part of an epic road trip
My time spent in New Orleans was part of an epic, three week road trip that included driving through Alligator Alley (route 75) on our way to Key West, Florida. We visited Disney World (for the first time!) and Universal Studios. I was so exhausted by the time I arrived in Key West, that I just wanted to go home. It didn’t have the same kind of allure it had approximately 2 years before, when I’d previously visited. It wasn’t as glitzy as New Orleans. Even so, Key West remains of my favorite and most visited destinations. It’s also where a boat tried to kill me
New Orleans was the highlight of the trip for me. I’d suggested it to my traveling companion when I realized it was within driving distance (it’s 10 hours closer than Key West) and I was so excited while planning the trip. It felt so amazing to get to visit a place I wondered if I’d ever see and I got to while I was still pretty young. Such trips seemed out of reach and here I was taking them!
Have you been to New Orleans? Have you had a trip that changed you in ways you didn’t expect?