Oh Happy Place, Oh Happy Place
This past weekend we headed down to the Old Man and mine’s happy place aka New Orleans. We went for the purpose of attending Jazz Fest an event we are hoping to make a yearly event. Over the last couple of years thanks to Luna we had the ability to spend some quality time in New Orleans and every single time we debate moving there if only for a year.
New Orleans was always my parents second city so I come by this love of New Orleans honestly. New Orleans and the state of Louisiana formed some of my personality in a way that my actual home cities never could. Crawfish > Lobster
When we planned this trip a year ago we gave ourselves an extra day of wiggle room having booked the Airbnb before the actual Jazz Fest schedule was posted. Two days at Jazz Fest is enough for these two gypsies, but what two days had yet to be determined and an extra day in New Orleans is never a bad idea.
We flew in hit some some places on Frenchman Street and stumbled up the steep stairs to our beds to prepare ourselves for the food, fun, and music of the next two days. On day two of the fest we debated buying a ticket for the third day, but as stated earlier two days of Jazz Fest is quite a lot for us (and our sunscreen was having a hard time keeping up). So we decided we would take Sunday and just hang out. Many of you know the Old Man is a bit of a hard time with the “let's just see what we find” attitude I have a tendency to take when traveling, but this time he was actually ok with it, which shocked me so much I made plans. Albeit the were last minute plans, but plans nonetheless.
I decided that after seven dry months in Dallas I wanted to spend some time on the water, and what better way than the Natchez Steamboat Jazz tour. Having booked late we had to get on the afternoon boat leaving us with quite a few hours to kill. Google top ten things to do in New Orleans and you get a lot of different ideas, but one popped up and reminded me that I wanted to do it. Mardi Gras World!
Sure this day was shaping up to be the most tourist day we had ever done in New Orleans, but sometimes you just go to ahead and be a tourist. Our Uber driver, Dennis Quaid’s doppelganger, approved our day saying he had done both activities and they were both quite a good time.
With Jazz Fest happening our last minute planning to Mardi Gras World was much easier as everyone was on the other side of the city. Our tour group was small and our guide was quite funny, in a dad joke kind of way, and informative. I figured seeing as the Old Man had never been to Mardi Gras himself, learning about it and seeing the floats being made would be a fun experience. I was right. I was so impressed with the whole Mardi Gras World experience. The guided tour was just shy of a hour with a movie on the front end explaining the history of Mardi Gras, Mardi Gras Krewes, parades, and most importantly floats you also got a little slice of King Cake which at 11am is always fun.
After your tour they just let your wander around the warehouse to look at all the creations from past years waiting to be revamped for the coming year. I was also impressed at how much they reuse, recycle the forms created. They have some forms and shapes that have been hanging around since 1974, and were used in the 2019 parades. They are truly a company that takes reuse, recycle, repurpose to heart. I would put this on my own list of top ten things to do in New Orleans if only so you can be amazed by the artistry that goes into these floats. If you go on a week day you can actually see the artist working on pieces while you tour.
With a bit more time to kill we grabbed a drink and meandered around Jackson Square to take in all the street art and do a bit of people watching. The Natchez was exactly what I wanted a few hours on the water with a history lesson and jazz thrown in. We did buy the brunch ticket and I would recommend you just stick with the cruise sans brunch or even dinner unless you get there really early and get a good seat on the second level. We were sad that were eating and couldn’t really see out the windows from our table, while the captain gave us the history.
After brunch we headed up to the top level and just sat and watched the world go by, thankfully we listened enough that on the way back we could point out the landmarks the captain had told us about earlier.
Docked and yet again a bit toasty from the sun, poor poor sunscreen, the Old Man found us a bar that would be showing the Game of Thrones new episode. The Old Man has a high school friend who plays saxophone in New Orleans and he agreed to meet us at said bar after a near miss on the street the night before. Watching this episode with a group of people was quite fun and very interactive, I would even say better than watching your favorite sports team with your alumni group. Plus we got a bit of local flavor at said bar which is always in a city your don’t call home.
Early flight ahead we headed back to the airbnb to pack up, shower up, and get a few hours of sleep before we headed back to work, Boston, and cold weather.