On the way to free coffee in the hotel lobby I got distracted by the tabby cat and stopped to pet him. He turned on his side for more pets. Brent was walking towards me and I was going to meet him, but I got distracted by the orange cat who also warranted petting. While Brent was checking out, I finally went for my coffee but all I found was an empty carafe. If I had not stopped to pet those cats would i have had a coffee for the road?
Brent pointed out a gas station for coffee. I turned my nose up at it. Surely, we would pass something better on the way. Cut to 35 minutes later when I gave up and had gas station coffee. It was surprisingly good, I had butter pecan coffee with some Coldstone sweet cream flavoured creamer. I had been tempted by the Reese’s creamer but i thought my coffee would be overly nutty. I got a Reese’s Crispy Crunchy to fill my craving. It reminded me of a Crispy Crunch, it was so good! The almond butter maple Snickers was good but it kind of had a bit too much going on.
And just like that, 45 minutes into the drive, we were back in Louisiana! It felt so sudden. We stopped at a gas station to fill up the car before returning it. The bathroom was 1) outside of the building by the parking lot and 2) was lacking a doorknob and instead had a big gaping hole were the knob should’ve been. Brent insisted it was fine. I would wait the few minutes until we were back at the car rental place. No thank you.
It was a long slow walk to our hotel, my now-heavier baggage weighing me down. We stopped at Deannie’s Seafood as it was on the way- didn’t make sense to go to the hotel and then backtrack. Deannie’s was known for their crawfish so of course we ordered the crawfish quartet. Crawfish done four different ways: etouffee (first place), gumbo (third place), fried (second place) and balls (as in fish balls, not the balls of the fish- regardless they came dead last, not that good). To start we had the crab nachos, except it was more like a hot cheese dip with a scarce amount of crab. Instead of bread we were served complimentary boiled (in the seafood water) potatoes. I had ordered a voodoo juice cocktail. I did not expect it to be served in a giant plastic lobster complete with lanyard (lest I drop the hideous thing). The only reason I ordered it was because the menu said it was their most popular item. The only other options were a hurricane (which I was saving for later) and something with tomato juice- nope. I went with the lesser of three evils, hoping the banana rum would get drowned out by the pineapple and coconut rums. Three types of rum in a giant 24oz lobster, yet somehow, I survived the walk back to the hotel with nary a buzz. I saved half the cocktail for the walk, partly for novelty’s sake but mostly it was a practical measure: we had food to eat!
It was unbelievably hot out on the walk to the hotel. I was so sweaty and tired. At least my drink was refreshing. Our hotel was nice from the outside. As soon as the door swung open and that a/c blast hit us I was thrilled. Until we got to our room. It was like a shitty bachelor apartment, complete with a mini kitchen in a closet. There was a heater on the bathroom ceiling. There was no a/c, just a surprisingly effective fan on the ceiling. After that heavy lunch, cocktail and boiling hot walk with luggage, I was in need of a nap. I immediately conked out while Brent read his book.
We went out for a short walk after to see Bourbon and Royal Sts and see what the fuss is about. There was a group of protesters outside of a gay bar and we overheard a dad telling his family that it was “too flamboyant” for his family. But public drunkenness was just fine for his kids? It was a sad little protest, people were having fun dancing at them and flaunting how little they cared. Walking along Bourbon St. we saw a larger gentleman who was just plastered, it was only 3:15pm and he was leaning heavily on his friends and we wondered how early he had started/ how much he had imbibed. It was actually quite impressive. We also wondered if there was a turnover between the day drunks and the night drunks, is there a quiet lull period? Despite the crowds and everyone being drunk, there was a certain peacefulness to it, a lot of nice and happy drunks.
Brent had directed us to a corner market but as we were about to go in it dawned on me: we should go to Central Market to grab some drinks! They had completely succumbed to the touristy gimmick of selling the muffuletta sandwich and there was no alcohol in sight. Had things changed since Anthony Bourdain ordered from there all those years ago? There was a liquor store next door and I grabbed two rose ciders. It was nice to have a cold drink in the heat, sipping and people watching. I just wish the cider had been better. I also wish it had been a bottle so I could add to my bottle cap collection.
A bachelorette party approached us and asked if we were a couple. Then they asked if we could make out in the background so they could take a picture of the bride-to-be, Brent scoffed and said no that’s weird. They looked surprised and confused like WE were the weird ones. A lady walking in front of us tripped on the uneven sidewalk. Brent offered to help her up and apparently, she did nothing to help herself stand up, she was just dead-weight while Brent and the husband struggled to get her upright. I just stood there watching.
Back in the hotel room we found an awesome TV show on Animal Planet called The Zoo: San Diego. It was a very long, slow and dehydrated walk to Commander’s Palace for dinner. At first it was nice, walking through the French Quarter, then the walk sucked as we had to go under an overpass. Then it improved slightly with a residential neighbourhood full of nice houses. Except I was tired, hot and dehydrated so it was not entirely worth the walk. We also realized that the restaurant didn’t open until 6pm and we were early. There was a cool old cemetery across the street, except it closed at 4pm so all we could do was peer through the gates.
To start we split an order of turtle soup. I had been looking forward to this for a while, they were known for it. It was delicious and just a little bit spicy. It was not served in an upside-down turtle shell as I sometimes imagine the dish to be. Brent had the pecan-encrusted fish and I had the Texas quail with peach BBQ sauce, we each claimed our own dish to be the better one. Although it was a really close contest, they were both really good. We split an order of the pecan pie a la mode. I had secretly been hoping the ice cream would be their house-made flavour of the day: Snickers. It was not, we got plain old vanilla. My first cocktail arrived with a pair of sunglasses on top. I guess it makes sense, it was called “sunset on patio” and it continued my day of novelty drinks. Thankfully the second one, a basil lemonade with peach alcohol was served sans accoutrements. I chugged so much water over the course of our dinner. I felt like a sponge.
We Uber’d back to the hotel to change into comfier clothes and charge our phones before heading out for an evening on Bourbon St. After a short charging/writing/watching San Diego Zoo show we went back out. It was 7:50pm and we would not make it for the 8pm show at Preservation Hall. As we walked by, the line for the 9pm show seemed kind of long. We popped into Pat O’Brien’s next door for hurricanes (they claim to have invented it). There were a lot of people milling about outside, making it seem busier than it was. There was also a drunk middle-aged lady sitting on the stoop outside while her daughter tried to get her to rally and stand up so they could go home. She had puked by her feet and looked miserable. Pat O’Briens was actually a giant complex with multiple bars, it was L-shaped with entrances on two intersecting streets. Because there were so many bars it was a short wait. At the last minute Brent changed up the order and instead of us splitting one hurricane, we each had our own. Our very own giant plastic cup of alcohol with an orange slice and a cherry. I looked down at it, took one sip and realized: ho boy, this would have to last me all night in slow sips. It easily had at least 5oz of alcohol in it. The line at Preservation Hall was shorter now and much more reasonable. I guess we had seen the last of the stragglers for the 8pm show or else a bunch of people ditched? Who can say, but it worked out well for us. I had at least 45 minutes to finish my drink if they weren’t allowed in. Except at that point it was a bit of a tall order for me and I was very relieved to hear I could bring it with me. The orange slice was nice and refreshing. We had a prime people-watching spot. The I’ve-had-two-glasses-of-wine moms letting loose, the miserable-looking teens with their parents. There was one guy who was so drunk he could not stand up, he was gently escorted from a store by a security guard and a lady. It was also fun to see people so confused about the line-up, was it to get into Pat O’Briens? No? When did the show start? And then the look of surprise that we would be waiting in line for this long for a jazz show.
The show was in an old-timey hall, complete with stifling air and a lack of a/c. The fans were working overtime. Because we had not pre-purchased tickets, we had to stand behind the benches. I was grateful for my ice-cold drink, I kept holding it up against my forehead to cool myself down. The performance was awesome, they played old-timey jazz music and it just felt like quintessential New Orleans (or least how I imagine it to be). The crowd was not so awesome. One guy had his cell phone out and was trying to pretend like he didn’t when the performers called him on it. Another guy shouted out a request for When The Saints Come Marching In. They ended the performance on that song, of course.
We walked back along Bourbon St. where the party was in full swing. The gay pride party had spilled out of the bar and into the street. As we walked this was the case with most bars, they had their doors open and the music was filtering into the street, it was like one continuous party. It made me like Miley Cyrus’s song Wrecking Ball. I saw a lady walking ahead of us who had a plastic shark sticking out of her drink and I ran up to her asking where she got it. Clearly it was a strong drink because she was of no help, saying that it was down the street on a corner. I asked about any distinguishing features. Her friend offered that it was called Isle something. We figured it out, Tropical Isle was the place that did the hand grenade. Our afternoon drinking plans for the following day were set. Earlier on our way to dinner and now closer to the hotel there was so much foot traffic due to the sheer number of ghost tours. They were everywhere!