New Orleans

Day 6 and 7

Has anyone ever watched The Originals? It’s a spin-off of tv show called Vampire Diaries. Come on, I know some of you did. That was actually the last show I’ve ever watched, because when I started any, I just couldn’t stop and had to watch all the episodes as soon as possible during nights like a freaking zombie. But thanks to that, New Orleans was one of the first places I’ve marked with circle on the map when we decided to actually hitchhike across the States. I was curious about never ending party on Bourbon Street, live jazz music and enormous crypts on cemeteries.  Those and other attractions we managed to see in 2 days. But let’s start how did we even get there…

Days became shorter and we had to wake up earlier. This morning around Shreveport we were going to go with a track driver, who promised the evening before that he could take us. We were supposed to meet him at 7, unfortunately we overslept. Haha, so typical for me and Daria. But obviously nothing happens without a reason and we managed to stop a car pretty quick. The driver’s name was Roman who was a DJ and all drive was playing his tracks, counting money and telling us about crazy parties in NOLA. We even almost talked him into going with us! He dropped us on a gas station and gave us a wedge of money although we didn’t want it. He said that money was always useful in New Orleans and we had to take it. Roman really wanted to take a photo with us so he asked a random man if he could make one and if he wasn’t heading into our direction by chance. Well, guess what…

A driver called Bo was all about the positivity. He decided to go to New Orleans with us, because that was a place where his daughter and her boyfriend have met. We stopped by his house on our way. It seemed to be lavish but clean and full of good vibe.  Bo decided to rent us a room in french quarter. Although we didn’t want his help he insisted and said that if we agreed, he would be sure that we were safe and feel much better. Well, we didn’t have a choice!

We got to New Orleans when it was still light. We went to drop our staff in hotel Holiday inn, 2 minutes away from Bourbon Street. Next we decided to have a proper walk through this famous street. Characteristic french building with balconies goes along it and… funny think – I’m in Jersey right now (Chanel Island) and the main street in town looks a little bit french and when I send a photo of it do Daria with question “What does it remind you of?” she answered easily – “New Orleans!”.

The Bourbon Street was loooooud! Every door was open inviting people with different kind of music. NOLA is the only place in whole US where you’re allowed to drink on streets. It was maybe 6 o’clock and full of drunk tourists. We bought some huge, but cheap and pretty weak drinks, went to try delicious gumbo soup and po-boy sandwich in a restaurant which was fitted in a gate. Than we made a round through many, many pubs. In every second place someone was singing the same songs, in several you could jump on the bull. The outside wasn’t quit neither – we’ve learned easy dance choreography, listened to young boys playing on the winds and the most important we’ve been constantly catching colorful beads and we didn’t even show one tit ;). Actually Bo won this game. He had to go early in the morning and left us a little present, which I spend the same day.

The Bourbon Street walk was 10 timer more exciting than Las Vegas Strip. But when we came back there the very next evening, we discovered that the time has stopped there. People where throwing the beads, the man was giving exactly the same like night before show, they were dancing the choreography we already knew. But well, firsts are always the best!

Several days earlier I’ve dropped my camera and a peace of my lens broke off. Because of that it wasn’t right connected to the body. I still managed to make some photos, but the later it got, the the harder it was. I was so frustrated that stopped to make any photos. After a crazy night on Bourbon Street, I woke up and went to camera store. You might don’t know it but everything in US show prices without tax. Let’s say you’re buying a sandwich for 2.99$, oh well it’s actually 3.12$. Depends on the state the tax is different. The guy in the store enlightened me, that New Orleans is duty free, so you can easily get your tax back. I bought exactly the same lens I broke (Canon 18-55 mm f/3.5) for the money given by Roman and Bo. Guys, thanks to you all those photos have been made and are here on this blog. Who knows if I would even start it, if it wasn’t you. THANK YOU!

Bourbon street is a must-see thing indeed, but there is much more to discover around French Quarter during the day. Here is my own list of things to do around this area:

1. Get lost in french quarter – no purpose, just walking and admiring. This place is very unique and isn’t similar to anything in US. It’s like back in time in a maze filled with french architecture and old boutiques right next to the loud and busy town. Luckily at this time a year I managed to find some completely empty streets.

2. Believe in ghosts. New Orlean is known by practising voodoo or actually hoodoo which came here back in XVIIIth century with slaves from Africa and Haiti. Although they’ve been forced to catholicism, they didn’t forget their traditions and the religion has evolved. They put their African Gods into Saints and practiced magic in secret. Louisiana voodoo has been commercialized by America much though. At Jackson Square you could find many, many witches who were happy to tell you fortune with cards if you pay they some money. We also visited voodoo museum and vampire boutique. On one street there was a witch with snake on her arm drawing some shapes on the pavement…

3. Visit Louis Armstrong Park  – the famous jazz man who was born in this city. In the park you find his monument and can listen to jazz in every second restaurant.

4. Find Marie Laveau’s thomb – famous New Orleans witch who had a big influent on voodoo, which was considered as worshiping satan. She tried to convince society that it was a christian religion by adding some crosses and saints figures into the cult. The grave of the voodoo queen is located in St Louis Cemetery no 1, where we got after 6 o’clock and it turned out that it was closed already. But we were so curious about all the different crypts behind the bars, so we decided to break into it. We jumped over the big wall and end up walking in cemetery with a very weird vibe by ourselves. We found the characteristic grave easily because it’s all covered with “x’s”. Apparently if you put 3 “x” on Marie Laveau’s grave and your wish came true, you have to come back and leave 3 gifts for her. Daria, we put x’s, now it’s time to bring the gifts…

When we were coming back, a random man warned us about not being in this area at this time. New Orleans is not very safe place, so we hurried and came back to the main road.

5. Go along Missisipi River. French quarter is located by the longest river in United States. It was very warm, just like the air. It’s a river which gives and take a lot. Besides goods of maritime transport or water supply for many big cities, it caused many floods for example Great Missisipi River flood in 1927 and floods  in 1993 and 2011. But you probably know another catastrophe which happened in this haunted city…

This is how we spend 2 amazing days in New Orleans. We were so fascinated by the city that decided to stay one day longer using coach surfing site. Man called Atlas was our host and guide and show us the city from another, more real side. Wait for it in the next post!