I spent my 28th birthday in New Orleans recently, and had the most amazing time! It was so nostalgic to be back in the city I spent a year in (2011 – 2012), that when I tossed my backpack down on the creaky bunk of our hostel in the Garden District my nerves were really on edge. I really miss living in New Orleans. I didn’t realize just how much until I was there and felt the vibe that the city gives off. So much history, so much culture, so much to do and great food, interesting people, an interesting place in time and space. After living overseas next year I plan to have some money set aside and I’d like to move back to New Orleans.
I went with my sister, and two friends Nataly and Stephen. My sis and I stayed at a hostel right off of St. Charles and my friends stayed elsewhere, so it was mostly my sister and I going around seeing the sights, my old stomping grounds, and partying like rock-stars. The first night, we got in after a 9 hour drive, got dressed and went straight to the French quarter. We bar hopped a bit and ended up in a strip club where my sister got a lot of attention. That first night we only stayed out until about 2 am out of exhaustion from the long drive.
The next day, Friday, we spent the whole day sightseeing and took advantage of some free tickets I got to catch a ghost/haunted walking tour. I’ve been on that tour many times and I especially like hearing about the La Laurie mansion. I carried a small backpack loaded with alcohol and we barely spent any money that night, since in NOLA you can drink in public. By the time we headed back to our beds the streetcar had stopped running and we walked for about 30 minutes instead of taking a taxi. As we neared the place on St. Charles the sun was coming up to greet us, something I don’t see often.
The following day, my birthday, we got up at about 10 am despite having went to bed about 5 hours earlier, got ready, and did it all over again. We ate at a great place in the neighborhood called Parasol’s, and I got a b-day shot of some nice whiskey. We took a walk around Audubon Park close to where I used to live and where I used to jog and read. Later on we caught the streetcar from the quarter and hit up the Bayou Boogaloo festival in Mid-City. That night, we went out and my sister and I challenged ourselves to stay out all night until mass at St. Louis Cathedral at 9 am (which we had planned on attending before our drive back to Austin). We hopped around, partying hard on Bourbon, dancing and drinking the night away to live Jazz on Frenchman and in the Marigny, and met some locals at a great dive bar on Decatur. At about 6 am we went to Café du Monde for some Beignets and OJ. We were so exhausted but we found a bench on the boardwalk on the Mississippi and watched a breathtaking sunrise. We took a nap on the bench our heads next to each other until I was awaken by the sun cooking my skin. We started towards the Cathedral but to our dismay a slow moving, very long train was separating us from our destination, so we had to muster the little energy we had and climb over it to the other side. During mass we were dead! Every time we stood to say a prayer or sing I cursed at how much energy such a simple task took. We still sang to the best of our abilities, and the songs they chose that day were particularly beautiful. Afterwards, we collected our friends and drove back to Austin, Texas. A couple days after we got back I bought a trumpet (an instrument I’ve been wanting learn for some time!), and every time I play I remember the jazz and all the good times I’ve had in The Big Easy…Laissez les bons temps rouler mes chères amis! A la prochaine…