Monday, August 6, 2012

Hey...New Orleans!

I really wanted to try some alligator this weekend. Instead, I settled for goat.
Rewind: My sister is attending medical school at Tulane. This past weekend was her White Coat ceremony- the culmination of orientation and the kick off to her med school career. Of course this meant a family trip to New Orleans, hence my resolution to enjoy some gator.
We departed on Friday. My parents were driving, so I was alleviated the horror of the Belt Parkway and Flatbush Avenue. Once we arrived at JFK, we made our way to the Jet Blue terminal and relaxed until boarding. And we waited.
And waited.
We taxied. The taxied back to the gate for more gas. 
All the while, it was made very clear to us that there was some dangerous weather forcing us to reroute, as if to fully absolve JetBlue from any wrongdoing. To make up for the almost two hour wait, we were all awarded free headphones and access to the pay-movies. I spent most of the flight watching the Avengers, which did not translate well to the index card sized screen on the seat in front of me. The flight was uneventful, aside from my dad giggling like a fan boy at the "Puny God" scene. 
We made our way off the plane and to the hotel, smack dab in the middle of the French Quarter. I was not ready for it. I graduated college in 2006, and left behind the bar crawls. Or so I thought until this past weekend. It was an odd experience, watching a frat party sprawl over city blocks and seeing a fully stocked bar in every eatery. 
The weekend itself was a whirlwind. My sister was busy with orientation events, and my parents wanted to explore. I did so as well, but also spent a decent amount of time sleeping in the hotel room. For whatever reason, travel makes me anxious, and sleep was fleeting last week. Saturday afternoon, after enjoying a nice lunch of jambalaya, I made my way back to a nice air conditioned room and slept. Hard. Dinner that night was at a style of place I would not find out of place in Williamsburg, and the only thing on the menu that looked interesting to me was the plate of goat tacos. I had never had goat before, but I enjoyed it immensely, So much so that I am now looking for places to purchase the meat.
Sunday I slept in and got some souvenir shopping in. Finally, the time came for ceremony itself. It was brief and nice, and it was wicked cool to see my little sister get the "uniform" of a doctor. After a brief recess to the hotel room, we made our way to John Besh's August, where we had an absolutely amazing meal. We all slept well.
Monday came, and a trip back home. This was also uneventful, except when the hot sauce and pepper jelly I bought for friends was deemed a threat to safety and I had to go check my carry on. I'm thankful the New Orleans airport had about 12 people in it, making my second trip through security a rather quick one.

But New Orleans itself...that was the feature player this weekend. I had never been, and was honestly excited to see the city. Walking around, there was a persistent feeling of both history and destruction. Sure, there was fantastic architecture and a true sense of local culture. But for every rising structure I saw, I also so the ruin left by Katrina. It permeates the area, like a subtle prod, making sure everyone there does their very best to bring the city back. It was refreshing, in a way.
And as much as I am a fan of drinking, it was incredibly weird and jarring to see such drunkenness. At dinner on Sunday, a gaggle of lushes planted their faces on the window by our table and started taking pictures and generally being ass hats. Now, there's a time and place for everything, but interrupting our nice dinner? Well, my family was amused, but happy when they grew bored.

If I ever make it back (and I will) I will not stay on the main drag. And I'll have my gator.

And I won't be staying with my parents...that's for sure. 

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