To celebrate my last date on the calendar, AKA my 31st birthday, I gathered a few of my closest girlfriends and booked a trip to The Big Easy to live it up Cajun style! Let me tell you something: I have been to Las Vegas, Miami, the Red Light District in Amsterdam and other wild cities — including Times Square on New Year’s Eve, but nothing compares to how New Orleanians party on Bourbon Street. We had three consecutive wild and crazy nights. And, when it was all said and done, none of us were ready to board that return flight back to JFK International Airport.
And, here’s how it all started:
Upon arriving to our hotel conveniently located in the French Quarter, we were advised to visit Bourbon Street in the day while it was less populated. We took the sales rep’s advice. Even though we were able to walk the streets drinking Hurricanes and Margaritas, this wasn’t as bad. It was weird to see bars opened for business and authentic Jazz bands playing tunes that you can hear in the streets, so early in the afternoon. But, it still wasn’t an unusual experience to two native New Yorkers.
Then, we hit the street at night. Whoa, Nelly! I could only imagine what New Orleans is like during Mardi Gras or Essence Music Festival. It seemed as if every tourist and resident was dancing in the streets. Dudes look as if they spent their whole life savings to pimp out their ride just to stunt on Bourbon Street. (Man, I should have taken a picture.)
On my actual birthday, my bestie made reservations at the Bourbon House, which also lives on Bourbon Street. We sat near the window and people watched (my new favorite sport.) I never saw so much craziness in my life. The Bourbon House was a terrific restaurant that was fancy enough for me to wear this sequence number:
I was dressed like this, just in case I saw Lil’ Wayne and he was shooting a video directed by Hype Williams. LOL. I was hoping that I could be an extra. LOL.
While speaking to my friend, Kesha, she told me that the last time she went to New Orleans, she saw Lil’ Wayne driving down the street in a Purple Bentley. I didn’t see Lil’ Wayne. But, after dinner we walked down the insane Bourbon Street, stumbled upon some talented young folks who set up an impromptu full-band concert on the street corner. Then went to Harrod’s — one to the places we visited that night. Other venues included Hookah lounge, a lounge in the Ritz Carlton, House of Blues, and various other bars. I wanted to take my chance at the Roulette Table at Harrod’s. If I was going to be a millionaire, why wouldn’t it happen on my birthday, right? Harrod’s had a makeshift club inside the casino and it was hip hop night. I asked around to see if anyone knew Wayne. LOL. One guy told me he would be in town the following week during a concert. Aww, man. I was disappointed that Lil’ Wayne wouldn’t hear my rendition of “Six Foot, Seven Foot…” Lol. Maybe I’ll run into Baby and Birdman, instead. Cash Money, Baby! LOL.
We are all smiles. But, Janet could have told me that my face was white. I used a new sun screen from Eucerin that I’m throwing away…. um, I’ll be sure to write a post on that later. Disappointed that I really did rubbed it into my skin, but as you can see it’s still visibly white. The below picture is of me and Jay on Thursday night at the Bourbon House. Yummy. Everyone said it was impossible to get a bad meal in New Orleans and they weren’t lying. Everything was infused with Cajun and creole seasonings and spices that were simply delicious. The oysters that we had for lunch at Felix Oyster Bar were to die for — and affordable. SCORE!
On Friday, Natifia joined us and that’s when the adventure really started. (Sidebar: we were gals on the town, honey. We averaged three hours of sleep each night. INSANE. New Orleans should be dubbed the city that never sleeps. It has NYC beat!) On Friday night, we ate at a charming restaurant called Muriels’ in Jackson Square. The original owner was believed to have committed suicide in the restaurant (read the ghost story.) Every night, the staff keeps a table reserved for the ghost – set with bread and wine. Um, creepy. Here we are in the foyer of the restaurant. After dinner we hit up a few lounges on Decatur Street and also checked out what was going on in the lounge at the W Hotel.
The next day we decided to venture outside of the French Quarter and take a walk down Magazine street. It’s a six-mile-long stretch of the Garden District and Uptown featuring some of the best antique stores, art galleries, craft shops and classy boutiques to be found anywhere in the city. We did some window shopping, but when it was time for a treat, we went to a sweet boutique called Sucre. We found this gem by using Google Maps. We enjoyed Peanut Butter & Jelly Macaroons, indulged in delicious chocolates, white chocolate bread pudding, mini red velvet cakes, a small sundae and more!
Can’t remember what day this is, but I’m representing for Beyond Black Beauty in NOLA. Peep the tee.
So, you can’t go to New Orleans without tasting a beignet! We enjoyed the sugary, messy treat at Cafe Beignet that was reminiscent of Parisian bakeries.
Here are some things I learned:
-People watching should be a sport, seriously.
-New Yorkers don’t really live in the hood (more on that one later.)
-There are more Larry Flint Hustler Clubs on Bourbon Street, than Bourbon.
-Parked cars are really as good as hotel rooms (inside joke)
-Bourbon Street smells like urine
-Frenchman street is where the locals hang
-If you are traveling to New Orleans, bring cash. Plastic will only get you a trip to the ATM. Whomp, Whomp!
-Just like in Harlem, the homeless folks hang out in Popeye’s
-All of the young men like older women> I was only getting approached by the 21 and younger crew. LOL (Oh, and I need a southern man in my life, that southern charm and hospitality is A+++)
-The horses don’t smell in the French Quarter. NYC needs to do a better job maintaining the horses
-There are some really talented folks in the Big Easy!
-A Creole person is the result of African woman and a French man procreating
That does it for the pictures. But, to sum it up we had a FABULOUS time. (I have so many more restaurants to recommend and stories to tell — like convincing Natifia to try new dishes or Janet having too many drinks and blaming everything on the alcohol — but I want to finish writing this post and go to bed.) My extended birthday weekend was perfect and enjoyed with great company. I’m just mad we didn’t take more pictures. Our next stop is the Caribbean as we celebrate Janet’s bday. Stay tuned!
NOTE: New Orleans was the perfect place for a combination of culture, tradition, ethnic flavor and partying. BUT, going outside the French Quarter was a little disturbing. We also toured the city and visited some of the places that were affected by Hurricane Katrina. Yes, that Hurricane. The one that happened almost SEVEN years ago. We were able to go to the 9th Ward. But, the tour bus was banned from traveling to the lower 9th Ward — the place that was most destroyed. The residents were tired of being looked at and pitied, so they came together and went to council to band the tour companies from profiting off of them and not contributing to the rebuild. The problems didn’t disappear just because the media did. Seven years later, the lower 9th Ward is still without a supermarket, fire or police station or even a hospital. The fire fighters operate outside of a trailer. That place is really inhabitable. Seems like America is starting to care more about saving animals over saving people. Yet, there are 4,000 people living in that night mare — many too proud to leave a place they call home and many without options and resources.
I could go on and on writing my emotions, feelings and describing what I saw, but I’m tired and want to get to bed. To get a true idea of the lower 9th Ward post-Katrina, please read the latest New York Times article that sheds light on what’s going on in a place reporters dubbed at JungleLand.
Thanks for reading!