The first time I went to New Orleans, I was there with my family for about four hours before a hurricane ran us out of town. That was the year of Hurricane Katrina. The second time I went was with my parents also. We stayed for a few days, did a bayou tour, saw Denzel Washington shooting 2 Guns—it was fun. But I had never gone to New Orleans as an adult without my family, until last weekend.
My best friend, Gina, and I arrived in NOLA (New Orleans) last Friday. I had planned this trip for her birthday and I was so excited to celebrate with her. I could tell you all about the food we ate, the drinks we had, or the beauty of the French Quarter, but I’m not. There are thousands of blogs that talk about those aspects of NOLA. Instead I’m going to share the unique parts of my trip.
First off, we arrived to NOLA on the day of the marriage equality decision. Gina and I were very excited to be celebrating such an awesome historical day in such a big city and NOLA didn’t disappoint. We stumbled upon a celebration in Jackson Square and I took some awesome pictures for the website that I write for.
As an LGBT ally and supporter of equality, it was amazing to see beauty, love, and happiness in NOLA, a small reflection of all the celebrations across the United States.
Spin the Bottle
I have a friend who lives in New Orleans and we met up with her on Bourbon Street our first night. Gina and I quickly got over Bourbon Street. It smelled, it was gross, and everyone hustled us out of our money. My NOLA friend had a prior engagement later that evening so when she left, she suggested we head on over to Frenchman Street, a street that is similar to Bourbon (not as large) but where more locals go to hang out.
Frenchman Street did not disappoint. If I had to choose, I would say this was my favorite part of our trip. There are a bunch of bars and clubs on Frenchman Street with people walking between them. We even walked through an outdoors market in the middle of Frenchman that was beautifully lit up with white lights. Vendors sold art, jewelry, clothes, and just really cool items.
We headed to Café Negril, a bar my friend had suggested we check out and it was fantastic. Ironically, it’s a Jamaican bar in the middle of New Orleans. They had a Jamaican band, the singer was amazing, and they played songs that everyone knew so we could all sing along and dance. The place got packed so quickly and we danced and danced until we got so hot that we had to go stand outside to cool down.
Standing outside, I struck up a conversation with a guy and fifteen minutes later we found ourselves bar hopping with a bachelor party from Florida. Did I mention that the shortest of the ten guys was 6’2”? We were midgets among these giants of men!
They were a really nice group of guys as was the bachelor. I’m not sure why I keep finding myself partying with bachelor parties when I go on vacation but they are always the most fun. (I partied with a bachelor party in Ireland. Read about it here).
At the first bar we went to, we ended up playing spin the bottle, dance style! One of the guys finished off his beer and spun the bottle on the ground and whomever it landed on had to dance in the middle of our circle. It never landed on me or Gina (although they did cheat and made it land on G once) but we had a fun time watching these guys dance. Bet you’ll try this the next time you hit the bar!
It’s been awhile since I had that much fun out at a club, getting to know strangers, swapping stories, and enjoying a new scene that only travel can offer.
The next day was my second favorite aspect of the trip. Gina and I saw a few palm readers and tarot card readers in the middle of Jackson Square. I asked Gina if she wanted to do it and she said “yes.”
The palm reader we chose seemed the most legitimate and honest. When we asked her how much she charged, she told us that it was up to the customer to choose what they wanted to pay but the average was $25-$40 per person. We found that to be a very awesome business practice so we chose her and she was amazing!
Our palm reader was a very skinny woman, perhaps in her 50s, and she didn’t have any teeth. I was blown away by how great Gina’s palm reading went so I chose to participate after she was done.
The palm reader took my hand and the first thing she said was, “You have a very prominent palm. Very strong. Anything you say or do will influence others. You may not even mean to influence them. It could be a single word that you say in passing, a glance, a speech, an action—others will be influenced by it.”
I felt a mixture of emotions over what she said. I was a little scared and nervous. What if I said or did something and it influenced someone badly? On the other hand, I was proud of myself for having gotten to a point in my life where I may influence people. I try to live an honest and good life so I pray that if I do influence others, it will be in a positive way. I have actually had people say that I’ve influenced them in ways that I didn’t expect or mean to. Sometimes I hadn’t even said a word to them!
The palm reader continued to read my palm and I’m going to try my best to sum it up in these bullet points:
- She told me that I shouldn’t have a regular job and that I should freelance or contract! I’M NOT MAKING THIS UP! (I totally freaked when she said that because that is what I’m doing now : )) She said that I need to go about things backwards sometimes to be successful and that I won’t be successful working a regular job with a boss. Others will try to tell me what to do on my career but I shouldn’t listen. Partly because I’m stubborn and partly because they don’t think the way I do (haha duh), therefore their perspective probably wouldn’t bring me success.
- She said I wouldn’t make a lot of money the first few years that I work but I would after that!
- I would be able to retire very comfortably one day.
- I’ll own real estate but I shouldn’t spread by money across too many properties.
- I will only have a few close friends my entire life.
- Social drama will follow me always. (At first I didn’t understand what this meant, but I slowly realized what it meant this morning. I might need to put an end to this).
- My family will always be very close to me, in proximity and for support.
- I will travel a lot, mostly for pleasure, some for business and it will influence me very positively and very negatively. (It sounded very ominous when she said “very negatively.” But at least I’ll be traveling a lot!!)
- People will always seek me out for advice and will always want to tell me their troubles but I won’t put up with people who whine. This part is so true! I hate whining! And people do ask me for advice a lot which I totally don’t mind as long as it is whine-free.
- My life line is long and I shouldn’t have too many health problems until the end if I keep my health up.
- I’m very independent.
- I will date a lot before I meet the guy that I will end up with. Apparently I won’t meet him until my early 30s. This is what she said about when I meet him: “It’s going to be all Disneyland at the beginning. For the first three years everything is going to be all happy, magical, and glorious and then after that, it’s going to be hard. You’re going to have to work hard to keep it going, very hard. You will have to compromise.” (Compromise? Bleh…)
- I will always be involved in family affairs.
Quite a bit of palm reading! And I’m probably missing some things she said. Anyways, if you know me very well, you know that whatever she saw in my palm is exactly the kind of person that I am. Which is creepy and cool!
Although I got this palm reading and it gives me some hope and insight, I won’t let it limit me at the least. Like she said, I’m stubborn and I don’t listen to anyone on how I’m going to live my life and the way in which I’m going to be successful. I tend to make my own path.
Vampire and Ghosts, Oh my!
My last favorite thing about the trip was the vampire and ghost tour that I surprised Gina with on our last evening in NOLA. We both like vampires and ghost stories so this was a very cool thing for us to do.
I wasn’t sure which tour to choose (there are a million) but after perusing through tons of reviews, I chose Lord Chaz’s tours and it was the best decision we could have made. So meet Lord Chaz: he started the vampire/ghost tours of New Orleans. The original! And he’s maintained his awesome reputation as the best tour guide for his knowledge and awesome storytelling performance.
We began at a bar on Bourbon Street and then headed out to our first haunted home. At the first building, we heard a story about a man known as “the Sultan” and how he and over thirty people were murdered in a building in the French Quarter one evening. The police found the door locked from the inside! Ah!
I don’t want to share all of the ghost or vampire stories that we heard that night in case you ever decide to go on this tour. Although I will say that we did see the building where vampires are supposedly hiding! That was pretty cool because the next day Gina and I ran across it and took more pictures.
Lord Chaz went above and beyond on the tour. He even showed us how vampires make other vampires by cutting himself with his own fingernails! We saw the blood!
So let me back up and say that Lord Chaz also showed us some creepy things about himself. His skin was cold to touch (I touched it!), he could stop his pulse at will and for many seconds, he didn’t blink for over thirty minutes, and after he cut himself with his fingernails, he was able to heal himself in 10 minutes. I saw the scar immediately after!
Not only did we hear great stories but we might have had a tour by a vampire.
Only in NOLA, my friends. Only in NOLA.