Monday, June 13, 2011

South-East Tour Day 3 - New Orleans

Today we toured the French Quarters of New Orleans.  Like most big cities, parking was insanely expensive, especially for someone like myself from Tallahassee where parking is almost always free, and if it not is just a couple of dollars, or usually even less.
We didn't get too far from our car before Athena started complaining about having to walk.  She has never been much of a walker, and it didn't seem like today she was going to start being one.  We pushed through a few blocks and I spotted Peaches Records.  We went in.  Kim and the girls got some Skittles while I perused their records.
They had a lot of really great records, but they where way overpriced.  Most of the good ones where $30 or more.  There where a few good records that could be had for around $5, but I wasn't about to pick anything up regardless.  I'd doubt I could get any vinyl all the way home before it completely melted in this summer heat.
After the Skittles where finished we walked a few more blocks down and then realized we should probably get some food soon.  Kim had prepaid for food at the House of Blues on  I would have not picked such a corporate place, but Kim was awesome for getting so many things taken care ahead of time, and the food there was good, so there was no reason to complain.
Unlike The House of Blues in Orlando, this one, praise Allah, had sweet tea.  The service was great, the food was good, and the kids perked up quite a bit, have been properly refrigerated, and tummies made full.
When we got back on the streets the kids where in very good spirits.  We trucked along, passing street performers, almost all exclusively sitting around age of ten, passed artists showing off their distinctively New Orleans art, and went into some of the tourist trap shops.  The youth of the street performers was kind of unsettling.  One has to wonder if these kids are really the ones getting the money put in their box.  The tourist trap shops are really annoying.  They sell all sorts of horrible apparel with stupid sayings on them like, "I got bourbon faced on shit street" and stupid stuff like that, with the mandatory "New Orleans, LA" tag underneath the quote.
We stopped at Café du Monde for some beignets.  The place was absolutely packed with customers, and we had to search to find an empty table.  A man stood outside and sang songs, mostly spiritual hymns, while the patrons of the cafe clapped, sang, and offered him money.  We ate our beignets, took silly pictures of our faces covered in powdered sugar, watched the birds eat food form the ground, and then started back to the streets.
We went to the outside market, which was pretty bare, and then stopped at Fiorella's for some cool drinks.  Fiorella's was my stop.  I've been wanting to visit it since seeing the video on youtube of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band's version of Comlicated Life, which features this restaurant.  We where too full to eat any food so we just sipped on waters and sodas.
At this point it was getting pretty late, so we started to head back.  This time the kids where understandably tired, so Kim stopped with them at the intersection of Decatur St and Bienville St and I went to get the car.  The parking fee was $16.  On my way back to get them I overheard some hippy girl talking on her phone say, "You should see this rusty pile of shit.  Yeah ... yeah.  I don't think he's looking to sell."  She then turned to me and said, "Hey, would you be willing to sell this thing?"  I shook my head so she replied in a very nice voice, "You should take care of it," and then she walked away.
On the way back to the campsite the kids where pretty tired, as where we.  Overall, we all had a lot fun, and saw lots of cool stuff. New Orleans is a place I'd like to visit again some time with just Kim and myself, so we can go do all of the night life stuff and see some jazz bands.
Tomorrow we are planning on going to the local zoo, and, if we have time, to the Louisiana Children's Museum, and finally head towards Natchez Trace.  We will probably take the interstate and just go the same slow speeds we would take on the back roads.