For those of you who don’t know, I just spent my spring break in New Orleans, LA enjoying Bourbon Street and doing local service projects. I went with a group of 39 people from the WSU Center for Civic Engagement, most of whom I did not know entering the trip. We spent 5 days and 5 nights in the French Quarter and witnessed everything from the still-damaged Lower 9th Ward, to a St. Patrick’s Day Parade, to a beach in Mississippi, to the crazy nightlife on Bourbon Street.
If only this blog entry could do the trip justice…It was undoubtedly the best trip of my life, and I am already missing the people, parties, weather, food and general culture that we encountered down there. Honestly, if anyone has not gotten the chance to experience New Orleans yet, I highly recommend spending a few days down there. (Upcoming: New Orleans Jazz Fest – look it up!) Here is my recap of the trip:
Thursday, March 17, 2011:
Well, we narrowly missed Mardi Gras in New Orleans this year. Not that we could complain about the festivities we got to partake in for St. Patty’s Day! Thursday was completely free of service projects, meetings, and general responsibilities. So, naturally my roommates and I spent the first four hours after waking up, watching the NCAA Tournament games…lame, I know. A bunch of people from the group got up and went to either one of two block parties, and some other people went to the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas! So yes, I was lazy. But it turned out in my favor, as I had tons of energy that proved to be very necessary that night.
Before the trip, most of the group had signed up to go to a fancy dinner at Brennan’s, in the “haunted” red room. It sounded really delicious and fun, but we also signed on for a minimum of about $50 each on the dinner bill. And at this point in the trip, a good chunk of us were not able to afford that any longer. Luckily, an hour before dinner was to start, Charlie texted a few people to let us know we were “off the hook” for dinner. So Bryan, Rafa, Maggie, Amy and I decided to check out the Acme Oyster House for dinner. We got seated faster than we expected and had some pretty good food, and fantastic service. Amy took an oyster shooter (I don’t know how, the thing looked gnarly), and Rafa and Maggie split a huge basket of crab, oysters, shrimp and fries, among other things.
Anyway, we had a good dinner at the restaurant and then took to Canal Street for the parade! When we got there, a line of little cars (I believe Bryan said they could hit 80 MPH?) was there starting off the parade. We got some more pictures with people holding the Cougar flag, and collected as many beads from the floats as possible! Amy and Maggie got tons of stickers and beads and…underwear? Seriously, they were giving out the strangest things, and each time they had to kiss the old man on the cheek who gave it to them. One of the things I thought was hilarious was that many of the floats had people drinking on them, and so of course they had port-o-potties built on to them!
After the parade, we went to the hotel room and did a little pre-funking before heading down to Bourbon Street when everyone got back from dinner. This was one of my favorite nights of the trip for many reasons. But one of those reasons is because we somehow ended up merging with almost the entire group of WSU students on the trip – something I felt had been missing the entire week. We had a huge group (at least 20 or 25) from WSU parading the streets together, hitting the bars and waving the flag. The fun reached an all-time high.
Of the crazy things we did that night, here is what I remember the most vividly:
– Amy, Rachel and Katiejo dancing on the bar with the flag. The bar had a sign saying “dance on the bar at your own risk.” To our group, that sounded like an invitation, but apparently the bartender wasn’t happening because he cut them off after about one minute of their dance!
– Kayley taking the flag up on stage with a cover band and dancing through a few songs with the lead singer. Some of the best pictures of the entire trip were taken here. When we got there, they were playing Ozzy, and we stuck around for some other classics, including Green Day.
– Something I failed to mention in yesterday’s blog: we discovered fishbowls! A huge fishbowl with a straw that hung on a lanyard around your neck. They filled it with ice and Hurricane for $10. Refills were only $5 so we hung on to our fishbowls for St. Patty’s Day. Just a couple of those bad boys and your night was rockin!
– More Cougar fight songs and Fuck the Huskies chants. We took pictures with the flag with a cop on a horse, firemen who threw up the shocker (if you don’t know…google at your own risk), and tons of random people on balconies!
– Katiejo’s first taste of a grenade! Okay, so it was Bryan’s and she nearly finished it…Katiejo ruled the night on St. Patty’s Day. She busted out the crazy jingly skirt and was not shy to use it. And let’s just say there is a certain girl on Bourbon Street who is very lucky that Bryan and I happened to be standing there when she got angry at Katiejo. Otherwise that chick might be in the hospital still…
– Tons of quality time ourselves on balconies throwing beads and dancing. Spontaneous karaoke occurred far too often as our large group ruled the streets.
– Stephanie bringing a local man to tears because she had a long talk with him in front of the hotel and from what I gathered, was encouraging him and basically making him feel better about whatever was bothering him. It was really amazing and touching, honestly to see her work that magic and have such a strong emotional effect on another human being. That’s why we love Steph. 🙂
– Another late night dinner at Daisy Duke’s, this time with a bigger and more diverse group of us than usual (can’t wait for the reunion!).
– I’m sure I’m leaving some things out. Some on purpose, some from pure lack of memory, but either way I hope you realize how epic St. Patty’s Day was for everyone in New Orleans! Oh, did I mention tonight was THE best night for pictures? Check it out:
It’s sad to think that this was just one week ago. I would absolutely love to go back right now and go through it all again. Forget the lack of sleep and loss of money and getting out of shape and whatever other small complaints I can take out of it; this was already the most legendary trip of my life. And it was sad to think that Thursday was our second-to-last night in NOLA. Tomorrow’s blog: a beach in Mississippi, the best BBQ lunch ever made, the Lower 9th Ward, and a hectic all-nighter!