The Real New Orleans
It was a sublime day in New Orleans. The jazz music was jingling throughout the alleyways as people strolled this way and that, all searching for the same end goal: Beignets. The way you could turn the sidewalk into Christmas with one bite as the powdered sugar went flying was [unfortunately] quite addicting. We had just grabbed our beignets and cafe au laits and decided to sit down and enjoy these treasures in Jackson Square. A bird swooped overhe–
“Oh my goodness,” Dawson interrupted my thoughts, shaking his head, “Look.”
I followed the direction of his pointed finger and there he was. A man passed out in the garden with his pants down in broad daylight. Welcome to New Orleans, as they say. The city has a lot of….culture, if you will. So much culture that Bourbon Street needs to be washed of its sins (literally hosed down) each morning once the partygoers calm down (which they don’t). From Sunday to Saturday, you can feel the vibrations of the booming cars showing off their latest mixtapes and the Becky’s shouting for their lost Ashley’s (no offense to Becky or Ashley).
Though Mardi Gras clearly wasn’t at its full force this year, we could still see the remainders of its past in the shining beads swaying off balconies on each block. We stepped inside of a small store to check out their bead collection for ourselves.
“Hey man, can I talk to you for a quick sec?” a man approached Dawson while he was sitting outside the gift shop.
“Do you know any way I could make a quick buck? Like a side hustle or something?”
“No, it’s just like, I really need the money.”
“I don’t have anything on me, I’m sorry.”
“It’s just like, there’s a warrant out for my arrest right now and it’s really not fair ’cause I was drunk man! I don’t even know what I did! I just need like 15 bucks or something so I can hop on a bus and get outta here. You got any friends? Just 15 bucks.”
“It’s okay; it’s okay. Thank you bro. You have a wonderful day,” he replied, already making his way to the next lone survivor on the street.
If there is one thing I can say about this city is that it is not afraid to speak its mind. Exiting the gift shop, my mother already had her next destination in mind.
“We have to go to a plantation. I saw it in this tourist booklet as a must-do, so it’s gotta be good.”
Without further ado, we were on the road again.
“Don’t follow the GPS, I want to drive the scenic route by the water,” my mom begged my dad as we continued to get lost deeper and deeper into the streets of New Orleans.
The thing is, the water here isn’t exactly the sparkling crystal clear beach water that you yearn to see on vacation, it’s stayed a bit more true to its Mississippi Mud brand, if you know what I mean. 40 minutes later, we were finally arriving at the plantation.
“There it is,” my dad blurted out as we passed our destination in less than a second, “Is that what you wanted to see?”
Frustrated because we just drove endless miles for a site that we could’ve missed with an untimely blink, we turned around, all eyes now on my mother.
“Well! I just-! If we want to turn around and go in the driveway, whoever wants to get out can get out and look around. Otherwise we can just go back.”
My dad turned the vehicle around reluctantly as we circled into the driveway of the plantation. The parking manager came over and told us to keep following the driveway to the end. Another woman waved us along by, and another and another until finally, someone ushered us into a space. We stepped out of the car, grabbed our cameras and began down the path.
There seemed to be a lot of people dressed up for modern day reenactments, more than the people actually touring the plantation. Watching a little boy run by with a plate of food, we followed our gaze after him as he ran back for seconds. A large white tablecloth furnished a platform that seemed to be filled with never-ending options of hors d’oeuvres. Across the table sat a giant white cake adorned with elaborate flowers.
“…Wait…” I said, turning around to see my dad catching up with us from behind.
“Sooooooo, we’re crashing a Jewish wedding,” he said, barely able to get the words out through his tears after realizing our mistake.
I don’t think I’ve ever booked it out of a venue faster.
I suppose the moral of this story is that Louisiana is much like Nevada: What happens in New Orleans, stays in New Orleans.
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