Benjamin Stahl

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Days 62 - 66: New Orleans

Posted by Benjamin Stahl on March 5, 2016 at 12:00 AM

As soon as we woke up we walked into the Louisiana Welcome Center, drawn by signs indicating that free coffee was inside. When we walked in we were greated warmly by the attendants and shown where the coffee was. While we drank our coffee we walked around and checked out the exhibits they had about the Louisiana plant and animal life. Outdoors, there were metal sculptures of the various animals found in Louisiana.We walked back to the rig with our coffees and made a big breakfast that we then ate at a picnic table nearby. Afterwards we packed up and hit the road, heading towards New Orleans. As we drove through Louisiana, we enjoyed the swampy scenery.After waiting in some brutal traffic, we made it to New Orleans and met up with our dear friend, Jazz at the house she is staying in. She introduced us to her housemates, Jeanne and Leigh who very generously offered us an extra room in their home to stay in during our visit. After settling in, Jazz took us out for a walk to the park to show us some scenery and give us our first introduciton to New Orleans food.The food was incredible. The three of us split jambalaya, gumbo, and red beans and rice, with beignets for dessert. Everything was so good, and different from what we're used to. We then walked back to the house and hung out for a while; I spent a lot of time in an epic massage chair that they had. At night we went to a place called Chickie Wah Wah's not too far from the house for some food and live music.The music and food (barbecue) was really good. We had a great time there and stopped at a little bar just around the corner from the house on the way back for a couple beers. It was a great night, and a good preview of New Orleans.

After a great night of sleep we got up and walked to a coffee shop with Jazz. We sat there for a little bit and then walked back so Jazz could make it to work. Dar and I then drove to the French Quarter to walk around and check everything out. It was awesome; not like any place I've been before, though it reminded me of an odd mix between San Francisco and France (surprise, surprise).It was amazing to sit next the Mississippi river, watching all the activity and marveling at its sheer size. As we walked back to the car, we stumbled upon a scene for NCIS: New Orleans being filmed. Apparently, film crews and actors are a common site in the French Quarter. Once back in the car, we drove to the house and relaxed for a little while until Jazz got home. The three of us then split a bottle of wine and then went out for dinner and drinks at a place called Port of Call. Dar and Jazz got burgers, while I got a pizza. All was good, including the drinks.After finishing up at the restaurant, we headed downtown to see some music. We ended up seeing the Treme Brass Band, and had a great time. It was just the kind of show we were looking for, and the musicians were all really good.After the music we went back to the house and crashed. Our second day in New Orleans was a total success.

The next day we got up and went out to breakfast with Jazz at a little place called The Ruby Slipper.The food was incredible, and we enjoyed a nice lazy breakfast with plenty of coffee to wash it all down. Once back at the house, Jazz had to run off to work so Dar and I hung out for a while and then went for a walk around the neighborhood and park, stopping by the same place we went to on the first day for some red beans and rice.After our walk we went back to the house for a little while to relax. It was very nice to have a place to lay out and relax indoors, truly a rare luxury for us. A few hours later we went back out to Chikie Wah Wah's again for some dinner and to watch music while Jazz worked. We had a great time, feeling so lucky to be able to do what we are doing, and to be in such a beautiful place.Once we got back to the house, we just layed in bed and watched some Breaking Bad before falling asleep. Another great day!

After sleeping in and then getting ready, Dar and I went out for the day. Our first stop was to an old cemetary.It was a very interesting cemetary; we learned that most cemetaries in the area tend to keep caskets in vaults above ground because no matter how deep they bury them, they will get pushed up by the ground over time. We also learned that after a casket has been in the vault for one summer, it will be opened up and the contents pushed down a chute at the back of the vault so that the remains can be with those of of their family members. It was a cool experience to walk along the vaults, each one of which belongs to a family who can use it for generations. Afterwards we walked around the downtown area for a bit before going back to the house and relaxing while we waited for Jazz to return. Once she did, we went out to an African restaurant in the French Quarter. It was incredibly unique, yet delicious and we all enjoyed our meals immensely. Next we walked down to a bar called Pat O'Briens to get our hands on their signature drink, the Hurricane!The drink is just as gnarly as it looks and sounds, but its a NO classic and we loved it. It was also nice to sit outside while enjoying our drinks that consisted of rum with a dash of fruit punch for color. Eventually we made our way back to the house, but not without a pitstop to the bar around the corner from the house for some cheap beer and pool, followed by another pitstop to the gas station near by for some fried chicken and red beans and rice which we all proceeded to eat on Jazz's bed. After that, a little Breaking Bad was all that we needed before calling it a night.

Today (March 4) was Darla's birthday! We got some breakfast and then proceeded to the main event of the day; the National World War II Museum, which we just loved. One of the highlights for both of us was what was marketed as a '4D' film experience, where we watched a film summarizing the key events of WWII in an immersive theater with live props occasionally playing a role. Our seats were also rigged to shake during explosions and what not; all of the elements came together to make it a very exciting experience. We spent most of the day at the museum, until closing time forced us to leave. Once we left, we drove back to the house to link up with Jazz. We spent a little while just hanging and relaxing before heading out for a comedy show at the Joy Theater. It was my first comedy show, and we all had a blast. There were maybe six comics who ranged in age and experience, but who put together a cohesive performance with one leading into the other. After the show we grabbed a late dinner out and then made one of the more important stops of any visit to New Orleans.Yes, its like a 7Eleven except with more flavors and a ton of booze. We walked out with our styrofoam cups full of boozy slushies, happy as could be. We then walked a little ways to a casino. I didn't gamble at all, as the table games were too crowded and the rules not loose enough. I found that the slushy I was drinking just wouldn't quit; there always seemed to be more in my cup. Eventually I finished it, and enjoyed the boozed out sugar rush it delivered. We didn't stay long at the casino, and after a very roundabout Uber ride to the bar around the corner from the house. We enjoyed a few beers before turning it in for the night. 

We woke up and spent a mellow day in town and at the house. It was nice to just take a day to rest and wind down from all the fun of New Orleans. Aside from running a few errands, Dar and I just kept things pretty mellow while Jazz worked. Truly, it was a perfect down day before leaving NO the following day.

Categories: 2016 Road Trip

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