Monday, January 18, 2010

Fun in the Big Easy

Last weekend Jeremy and I got to travel to New Orleans with some of our good friends from church. It just so happened that Jack Frost was visiting the same weekend so we froze our booties off! But, don't you worry, that didn't stop us from have an AWESOME time and making some great memories!

In lieu of giving you a play-by-play of the trip, I thought I would break it down into some of our favorite memories.

(Side note: The gospel choir I used to be in and direct at Baylor called BRH used to do something similar to this after our trips...we called it the Poo Sheet. I think it got its name because we would take stories from the trip and exaggerate a little bit so the list was filled w/ Poo...the Baptist way of saying sh**. Anyway, my group of friends from Baylor in Great Britain adopted the Poo Sheet and now I have made the executive decision to call my NOLA memory list the Poo Sheet.)

NOLA Poo Sheet:

1. I love that when all of our couple friends hang out, we revert to our 7th-grade selves. Guys and girls split.On the plane and at meals we always sat with our own gender. Hey, my girlfriends are way more interesting than their spouses! (No offense guys!

2. Our first stop after checking in at the Sheraton on Canal Street was Cafe Du Monde (i.e. Heaven). It is a place flowing with coffee and beignets. These amazing little french doughnuts piled high with powdered sugar made for the perfect breakfast after we had been up for about five hours.
3. Right across from the JAX Beer Brewery (not to be confused with what might be the name of Shakespeare's brother...Jaxbeer), is the St. Louis Cathedral. It's always fun to combine a fun trip with a few educational/cultural experiences. It wasn't quite like the places I saw in Europe, but it was really cool to see something that old with so much history here in the good old U.S. of A.

4. The French Quarter is known for its food and shopping which worked out well since those are two of my favorite things. We patronized some fun little touristy stores that were a little too creepy for my taste with all their voodoo nonsense, but we did find some neat little gift shops with unique merchandise. It's hard not to have fun with all the colorful masks, hats and voodoo paraphernalia so we created a few photo opps. Let's hope we didn't get some NOLA lice from all the hats we tried on!
5. Cemeteries have always been pretty creepy to me and the ones in NOLA were no exception. In fact they were even creepier because no one is really buried...everyone is just in a coffin, above ground. I had heard about this/learned about it in school, but it's just weird to walk through them in person. The most unique tomb that we saw (and by unique I mean Creepy McCreeperson) was the grave of a VooDoo queen. Apparently there are some crazies out there who come to her grave, mark it w/ three Xs, do a dance, stand on their head, do the moonwalk and then make a wish (or something like that). Not kidding. There were Xs all over this thing. You would have thought the grave contained something for "adults" with all the Xs. Anyway...that was enough to scare us out of the maze of tombs....besides the fact that it was freakin' cold.

7. So we found two places that were like Heaven in NOLA...the land of coffee and beignets and the land of wine on tap. There might have been honey...not sure. :) We found an awesome wine bar called W.I.N.O. (Wine Institute of New Orleans). They have over 120 wines along the wall that are literally on tap and you have the option of trying them 1oz, half glass or full glass. I loved this because I never know how a wine is going to taste until I have ordered a whole $15 glass. I loved that I could taste it with my little tasting card and if I didn't like I, I could move on. Jeremy and I both found one we liked so we will be making a trip to Spec's sometime soon!

8. We ate at one of Emeril's restaurants...what more can I say except BAM!

9. Ok, let's talk about things most people would not want to do in 25 degree weather. Watch a parade, skinny dip, drink a sno cone, walk around New Orleans for two hours listening to a cheesy tour guide tell you ghost stories, etc. Well, we partook in the aforementioned Haunted History tour and somehow managed to a. Keep all of our toes and b. Have a ton of fun. Let's just say our shivering bodies were burning off the calories from the beverages we stopped to get along the way. We did get some educational tidbits though: apparently corn has two dimensions (according to Sarah), nuns may or may not have slept around with the priests back in the day and had babies, and if you huddle together like penguins you will stay a little warmer.

10. The famous Tropical Isle Hand tasty yet so sneaky.

11. We packed SO MUCH into our first day there. Who knew we would have a 21-hour day. Needless to say we slept in on Saturday and eventually made our way to the Aquarium. I love animals and it's places like this that always amaze me...God's creations are so unique. How does a jellyfish even work and how did that turtle get so dang big? Anyway, I was proud of Jeremy for facing his biggest fear...he stepped into the jaws of a shark...well sort of.

12. Since we had our fill of Bourbon street on Friday night, we decided to have a low-key evening on Saturday night by cruising the Mississippi. We stepped onto the Creole Queen Mississippi Paddle boat and enjoyed a nice dinner with a live jazz trio serenading us. Apparently David's hidden talent is scatting because he was imitating the singers all night. Actually, I think he heard some Louis Armstrong at one point in his life and picked up on the scratchy voice thing...that's more what it sounded like. (scappity, scooby dooo wop)

13. So here's my confession...I had that stupid Zatarain's commercial song in my head the whole time we were in NOLA. A street car would pass by and that was it...I was "jazzing it up with Zattarains." That was sort of a preface to tell you about the streetcar ride to the Garden district. I was familiar with the way it worked because of the awesome trolley I used to ride from my condo to campus at Baylor. Sarah on the other hand asked "how will he know when we want him to we just tell him?" I was like "yes, get out of your seat and just yell STOP to the driver. " She did and the driver slammed on the breaks, there were sparks flying on the streetcar line and we all flew to the front of the car. Just kidding. We pulled the cord and got off like normal. But, that story got exciting for a minute, didn't it? :)

14. I think our favorite part of the weekend (mine at least) was meeting Rubie Bell, the sweetest old lady you will ever meet. We were walking along, admiring the mansions in the Garden District that have been part of NOLA history for years when Ruby turned a corner and struck up a conversation. She asked if we were tourists and then said she was just returning from church. She went on to ask us into her back yard and then, when I told her we were all friends from church, she said "well since you are Christians, you can come in my house for a tour." We all cracked up and then felt a little guilty for not going to church that morning. Our private tour of Ruby's home was incredible. She told us all about her husband and five kids and the history of her neighborhood. The coolest part is that her home was actually in our travel guide book! What are the odds!!? The timing was perfect and I don't think it was a coincidence. Mrs. Bell would probably say the same. :)

15. One of our last stops on the trip was the world famous Acme Oyster Bar. The only great thing about this place for a slimy-food hater like myself was the fried food. I would like to thank Acme for an excellent meal consisting of fried shrimp, fried hush puppies, a taste of Sarah's french fries with gravy and cheese (so healthy) and potato salad. (I was obviously not following resolution #9 that day!)

Jeremy and I love that we have friends who love to travel as much as we do. We laughed when we were at the aquarium that one day we would be the crazy parents w/ strollers dragging our kids to see the sites! One day!



Nice Poo sheet!! I'm going to forward this to my parents so I don't have to go thru all of these stories with them in a REALLY long phone call.


Sounds like y'all had a great time! I loved reading about your trip. My favorite part was meeting Ruby! Thanks for sharing!

Jill & Noah

This makes New Orleans look so much better than my experiences...Life is so much fun with great friends!! SO SAD WE DIDN'T GO WITH Y'ALL!! :( Next time...
This was so fun to read!