Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Sugar Bowl and bust

If you ain't been there
Then you ain't been nowhere
The livin's lazy and the lovin's fine...

(Bourbon Street, from my phone, circa 2009)

My first trip to New Orleans was eight or nine years ago. A few of us stayed in Mobile and made a day trip over to New Orleans for the Mardi Gras. Bought some beads, had some cajun food, but never saw any... how shall I put this? Let's just say it would be akin to visiting the Louvre and not seeing the Mona Lisa.

This weekend marked my second trip to the Crescent City. Friday morning, the Darryls and I headed out for the Sugar Bowl. Wolfgang had volunteered to drive. But instead of his truck, he drove his old car which I hadn't seen in three years and didn't even know he still had. Evidently, his thinking was that it would be better on gas. So off we went in a faded red Mitsubishi Mirage with one windshield wiper. Fortunately, it only rained about half the trip.

We stopped in Mississippi for lunch and when we got back in the car, the check engine light was on. Wolfgang said it probably just needed water. Apparently, he knew there was a leak but hadn't bothered to mention that until now, three hours into our trip. At that point I was thinking, just let us make it to the game and we can rent a car to get back home.

We did make it to New Orleans around 3:30. By the time we found our hotel and got checked in, it was nearly time to start walking to the game. This was the first bowl game I have ever attended. And even though we wound up losing, I'm glad I went. The Superdome is massive, or maybe it just seemed so because I was up so high. And crowd-wise, it was almost like a Bama home game.

There was a lady behind us who had obviously imbibed several of the adult beverages that the Superdome had to offer. She kept imploring me to turn my hat around to make a rally cap, which I never did. Later on, after a particularly bad play, she grabbed me and said, "It's your fault. You're the reason for the season!" To which I replied, "I'm Jesus?" I don't think she got it.

After the game, we walked down Bourbon Street. It was crazy crowded. We found a place to eat--though I can't recall the name--and got seated on the balcony overlooking Bourbon. Spent the rest of my evening there, where I enjoyed a cup of gumbo and also, at long last, caught a glimpse of the Mona Lisa.

Saturday, we had lunch at Bubba Gump's on Decatur and then souvenir shopped for a bit. It started raining Saturday evening, so I was glad that I had packed the umbrella which my mother inexplicably gave me for Christmas. Though I don't know why she got it. I never carry an umbrella. I find them a little effeminate. Nevertheless, I figured since I ooze manliness in all other areas of my life, I could stand to show a softer, more sensitive side just this once.

We walked over to see the resplendent Saint Louis Cathedral, then had supper at The Gumbo Shop on St. Peter. I had a combination plate with jambalaya and red beans and rice, and a slice of pecan pie for dessert.

The downpour kept the streets nearly empty, and we spent the rest of the night indoors listening to live music. To be sitting in Louisiana listening to a band play Sweet Home Alabama, and hear about fifteen people yell "Roll, Tide, Roll!" when they got to the chorus, that was pretty cool.

We also enjoyed the dueling pianos at Pat O'Briens for a bit. The pianists were singing popular songs like Sweet Caroline and Vogue. But they were playing them at a hyped-up tempo. It sounded a whole lot like the Will Ferrell/Ana Gasteyer skit on SNL where they are the music teachers at Altadina Middle School. It was humorous, and fun.

We left Sunday morning, stopping to fill up with gas. And water. We decided to stop and have lupper at the famed Dreamland in Tuscaloosa. Despite all the Bama games I've been to, this was my first time eating at Dreamland.

As we got out to go inside, the car was smoking. And not in a "Man, that Audrina is smoking!" kind of way. Smoke was wafting out from underneath the hood. By this point, is anyone really surprised by this? Wolfgang opened the hood and discovered the problem. Apparently, Mister Goodwrench had forgotten to put the radiator cap back on when he added water that morning. The ribs were delicious, by the way.

By some miracle, we made it home. There's more, but I have a feeling New Orleans could take a lesson from its friends in Las Vegas. You know, sort of a "What happens in N'awlins stays in N'awlins" kind of thing.

It's impossible to go to New Orleans, or even think about it, without thinking of Katrina. As far as I could tell, the French Quarter showed little to no signs that Katrina had ever happened. There had been two murders in the 9th Ward on New Year's Day, so we opted not to drive through there. But going down I-10, nearly all the houses and apartments visible from the road still looked abandoned and as if they hadn't been repaired at all. Each a reminder of the catastrophe.

I guess I'll always be sad for New Orleans. But I'll always pull for it, too. New Orleans is a wonderful city with a way of making you feel at ease and right at home. I look forward to visiting again, because I learned something about myself this weekend. I really love art!

"Pour me something tall and strong. Make it a Hurricane before I go insane..."


  1. Glad you finally got to see Mona Lisa! If I'm thinkin that you're talkin about what I think you're talkin about...couldn't you see that at home?

    I LOL a few times at this post sending dd running in to see what was making her mom laugh so. We both loved that you're "Jesus", that was classic. and I'm so glad that Mr Goodwrench didn't loose the radiator cap.

    at least you didn't get lost and crash the car into a pool!

  2. The reason for the season? Hilarious!

    I've never been to New Orleans, but I have a few strands of Mardi Gras beads hanging in my office. If I ever make it to New Orleans, it won't be during all the Mardi Gras hoopla. I know, I'm such a party pooper...

  3. It's clear to me that you weren't as disappointed by your first sight of Mona Lisa as I was of mine. Though I can't help but wonder... how did you get to be 35 having never laid eyes on ML before? O:)

    Anyone else notice that throughout this entire post, Bone picks on his friends, but then says "There's more, but..."? I have a hunch that the 'more' isn't anything Wolfgang or Little Joe did. Too bad one of them doesn't have a blog! Sigh. I guess your secrets are safe - this time.

  4. I just came back to say that song has been in my head since I first read it. Now I need a hurricane! :)

  5. Thoughts-
    1. Roll Tide. 12 wins? No complaints :)

    2. I laughed out loud that you said, "I'm Jesus?"

    3. I'm glad you didn't get murdered in the 9th ward.

    4. You better not think Audrina (from the Hills) is smoking. I will be personally offended.

  6. Renee makes a good point.
    Do I say to every humorous post: this is your funniest ever?

    The innuendos worked to make it so funny. Love stuff left to the imagination

    Loved your Jesus remark. If I were the lady and had imbibed too many adult drinks I would have laughed even more than usual

  7. I'm totally jealous that you made it to a bowl game! I'd probably have to mortgage my vital organs to get tickets to see my boys in Miami.

  8. Sorry that 'Bama lost, but it's also a good thing. Otherwise, you might have a Messiah complex!

    I love your traveling stories.

  9. Renee - Well maybe. But it's like going to Idaho and eating carrots. I like carrots, but I'm in Idaho, I want a potato!

    Yeah, I can usually come up with one funny comment during a game, but by the end it's buried beneath a pile of gaffes and bad puns.

    R8chel - Yes, apparently she was still in the Christmas spirit. Or some kind of spirit.

    TC - No, disappointed would definitely not be the world I would choose there. And of course my secrets are safe... as long as no one steals my phone.

    As for the song in your head, let me just say... you're welcome :)

    Cami - 1. Roll Tide!
    2. The guy sitting next to me at the game chuckled, too. Apparently you had to be somewhat sober to get it.
    3. You and me both!
    4. Uh oh. We might have a problem.

    Pia - Thanks! Well that's what I thought, that laughter increased as sobriety decreased. Apparently, I need to do more research.

    But she called me stubborn for not turning my hat around. Can you believe that? Me! Stubborn!

    Mama Zen - Yeah, we were fortunate to get our tickets at regular price ($135) from the Utah website, as they didn't sell their allotment.

    Sage - Yeah, I wouldn't want a complex. That sounds quite messy. Thanks.

  10. Sounds like a fun trip. What did you think of the Gumbo? I had it once, wasn't a fan. I was very disappointed b/c it looks so good. I had some in LA.

    I laughed at the Jesus comment too. Classic!

  11. Bone thank you I laughed so hard and I needed it because the projects I am about to grade might make me cry and not in a good way at all.

  12. Sounds like fun times! I've never been to Mardi Gras but i'd love to go. I was going to go the year before it all washed out to sea... but we didn't make it.

    Is there anything left? Now that I think about it... I guess it might smell better down on Bourbon Street. Washed all the pee away. hmmmm

  13. Grinning from ear to ear, as always, when I read your posts. What is it with boys and Mona Lisas?? lol :P

    You are a sweetheart for the kind things you say at my blog. Have a great day, Bone!

  14. OK Chick - The gumbo was good, but I like jambalaya better. I'm a big Cajun food fan.

    PennyCandy - So glad I could provide one final laugh before the tears start to fall.

    Kerry - I do recall seeing someone peeing on the sidewalk when we went to Mardi Gras all those years ago. But I didn't see any of that this weekend.

    Fledgling Poet - I don't know. We're just drawn to art, I think :)

    Thanks. You, too.

  15. "I really love art."

    You are too much Bone. :)

  16. Attending a Bowl Game sounds fun. Oddly enough, I live in Los Angeles, but have never been to a Rose Bowl game.

    Here's what I don't get. Alabama only lost one game. Florida only lost one game. Alabama was the #1 team in the nation until they lost. How is it that they didn't play for the National Championship game against OK State?

  17. I promised you I'd visit.

    I am so disgustingly jealous that you were in New Orleans.

    You are up in a balcony... did you flash?

  18. Some would say the car made it there only 'cause you willed it there to see Mona Lisa. Two near misses in a decade may have been hard on your psyche....

  19. ew!! Audrina!?! her teeth!? Justin Bobby!?!

    I am so upset.

  20. Hotpinksox - Um, thanks :) Good to see ya around.

    Xinh - Yeah. There's really no logic to it. Apparently, we'd have been better off to lose early in the season. And who can explain how Oklahoma got in over Texas, when Texas beat Oklahoma by ten points? Yeah, no one.

    Blondie - Uh, those records are sealed. You should visit NoLa sometime. You'd have fun.

    Marcia - Excellent point! I may never have recovered.

    Cami - No one said anything about Justin Bobby. Audrina is hot! Period. Or, exclamation point :)