Usually when I visit NOLA I hit up my old haunts, the same places I’ve been to time and time again. This time was different. This time my sister and I went for Halloween weekend and almost all the things we did were novel to me.
Friday: We drove all day. Traffic made the trip 11 hours, a stretch from the usual 8 1/2. Once in our hostel off Canal street, we decided to head to Frenchman street. We brought bikes to transport our fleshy exteriors, which made getting around a breeze. No need to call for an Uber driver (a hip service I have never used). We rode to Frenchman and parked where we pleased. We found some good music at our spot Vaso. We meanderd some more, and ran into a group playing on the street. There was a keyboardist, a guy on an effects machine, and an extremely skilled violinist. The genre seemed to be hip hop/trance style beats with wicked gypsy violin. My sister also plays violin, and we were amazed at how dexterous this guy was with the thing. He danced around wildly whilst sawing out electric clear notes all jambled together to produce his hypnotic tunes. In the middle of a lick he would throw the bow to the ground in one blurry motion and play the thing staccato horizontally. We danced at the front of the crowd alternating faces of enthusiasm and disbelief with sips of high-quality spirits. After a while, we decided to retire and started the thigh-strengthening ride back to the hostel.
Saturday: Oak Alley Plantation, a place straight outta Interview with a Vampire. Our frugal energy manifested itself once again. Adult tickets were $22 and for minors it was $8. I told my sister we’d try to get her in as a minor to save some fundage for drinks and food later. Luckily for us, the lad at the ticket booth gave her a toddler ticket. Free entry for her! The ticket checker ripped them up, and we were elated to have gotten two people in for the price of one. The house was gorgeous. But, none of the info signs described the horror of the institution of slavery for what it was. We joined a tour around 2:00 pm. One tidbit of info that stood out to me: Back in the day: “it took a rich cotton plantation owner to make a poor sugar plantation owner.” Later that night we hit Frenchman again. Not quite the same scene as the previous. We dressed up as a pirate and mime. Enter a slew of drunken political and social justice conversations, subjects on which my little sister is highly keen.
Sunday: We rode around the Bywater on our bikes. We rumaged through some old thrift stores. We ate at the delicious Willie Mae’s, the best fried chicken and catfish this side of the Mississippi. We took a nap at Audubon park. Mosquitos seem to like my sister more, nay, way more than they do me. That night we didn’t go out. We drank wine and played music at front part of the hostel. Some people seemed to really enjoy our practice which was uplifting.
Monday: One last walk around French Quarter and one last fried chicken and catfish lunch at Willie Mae’s. The trip back took the expected 9 hours with stops for food and gas. It was Halloween day, and to set the mood we found a Spotify station that had a man reading ghost stories that people sent in to the show. That seemed to pass the time I and enjoyed listening to people’s accounts of encounters with the paranormal. Finally, we made it to Austin. Another NOLA trip down, extra love for la Nouvelle Orleans, and some nice sibling quality-time.