New Orleans Streetcar

Don’t you just love those long rainy afternoons in New Orleans when an hour isn’t just an hour

A day of taxis and planes, entwined with Atonement and newspapers, finally had me arriving to my new home in New Orleans.  It’s right on the Bayou, just off a streetcar line in a nice area, so it’s pretty convenient.  After getting settled, I was told to go to Krewe de Vieux, the locals parade to kick off the Mardi Gras season.

It started at the bus stop, waiting to go down to the French Quarter with an overly-friendly death metal former? junkie, the kind of guy that always pays for the bus in quarters and nothing he could want to share could possibly be inappropriate.  I would see him a few hours later where he would drunkingly yell “white power” seconds before recognizing me and saying hi, which is probably in the top 3 reasons why my conversation with that girl didn’t go so swell.

Walking to Krewe de Vieux, I met up with a group from Austin and just tagged along with them for a while.  Here we were watching the parade.

Krewe du Vieux
The theme was anything completely inane.

This seemed to be the “do whatever you want” parade.  There was a lot of cross-dressing and colorful floats, many sexual in nature, and all-around just weirdness.  Tons of people were dressed up, as literally anything.  It was like a bizarro-halloween for no reason I guess?

After that we went to Coop’s Place.   Famous for their fried chicken, the owner gave such a resigned look of disgust when I tried to order a gardenburger.  He said he refused to serve me a gardenburger at his restaurant and made me up some garlic pasta. I was grateful for him doing that on a busy night, so go there and buy things from him.

Then we went to Checkpoint Charlie’s – live music with an asian hipster lady playing a huge base. Met Janet and a Turkish exchange student and talked with them for a while with one of the guys from Austin.   Then they said we should go to Blue Nile.

So we went.  The upstairs was a really cool live music venue, wide range of songs, and they even had a couple dancers just doing their thing.  Janet got too drunk which angered Steve so the Turkish girl took her home and Steve left shortly thereafter.  I was talking to Katrina (a girl, not a hurricane) who was wearing Christmas lights and god knows what else.  She gave me some tips on places to go while I was here.

Then I ended up walking the two miles back to City Park.

On Sunday I got my grips on the general area, finding the nearest grocery stores and did some shopping.  I then decided to take a streetcar down to the French Quarter and walk around to find a place to watch some of the Superbowl.

New Orleans Streetcar
A Streetcar Named Désirée, because she’s a combination of old-timey charm and sass.

But I got off way too early for some reason and walked down Canal street, which didn’t start off so bad, but got kind of terrifying before hitting downtown.  Really weird that there’s kind of an abyss of run-down buildings between the two areas.

Anyways, after that ordeal, I decided to walk down Bourbon street.  Now I did no preparation and didn’t really know what to expect, but it’s not the place to go to watch television.  That place was equally terrifying for me.  My choices were strip clubs and “3 for 1” drink specials, neither of which struck my fancy.  What am I going to do, go in and order myself 3 beers?  And I’d feel bad going into a strip club because I’d actually be attentively watching the game, and I don’t like to be rude, even to strippers.

So after that experiment I took the streetcar back to the apartment and worked (I should have just walked a street over and I’m sure it would have been fine).  I missed what sounded like an exciting Superbowl, but I’m not too beat up about it.

Monday I walked down to a coffee shop I had seen in my earlier explorations, The Bean Gallery.  It’s a nice little shop in mid-city that I think I’ll frequent for the next month.  Laid back atmosphere, nice people, good wifi, and good places to sit.  Customers were mostly in their 20’s and 30’s, so I figure these are my people.

Other than that I did normal life things.  Found the gym in the building and ran, got some more groceries, did a lot of work, etc.

Tuesday was a pretty normal day too, but I’ve decided to make 3-hour lunches my thing on nice days.  I don’t really want to go down to the city with my laptop bag unless I can find a good place (maybe I’ll buy a cheap backpack), but I go walk around for a while in the middle of the day and then come back to work.

Jackson Square Park
This is Jackson Square Park in the middle of the French Quarter

I went to Cafe Du Monde because it’s the famous place to get beignets and coffee au lait.  Which just means coffee with milk.  Anyways I got both and the asian cashier lady hesitated between giving me my dollars and coins as change.  I know I’m getting coins lady, don’t play me like that.  I don’t like being tricked into giving a tip.

I walked around for the rest of the day paranoid about having powder in my mustache.

On the way back I took a picture of the bayou right outside my apartment.

Bayou Lousiana
I’m not sure what my appropriate fear level should be regarding alligators.

It’s been really cold the last couple days, 40’s and 50’s, which is not what I was hoping for.  So on Wednesday I just stayed in and got a lot of work done (plus it was raining), because the next couple days are supposed to be nice.  Then I can get back to my 3-hour lunches.

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