I started off 2020 with a short trip down to New Orleans, Louisiana. My hope is to make several adventures this year to destinations unknown. Over four days we explored the French Quarter, toured many museums, walked from sunrise to sunset, and maybe learned a little more about the history of this city.
January 4th, 2020 -
Saturday. Early morning flight out of Pittsburgh where I manage to show up last despite my concerted effort to arrive early to the airport. We took flight toward Houston, TX. I would be amiss if I didn't mention our flight attendant. Despite his sub-par demonstration of airplane safety during takeoff, he was actually quite a character. I appreciate the dozen or so snacks and refills he threw at me.
A few hour layover awaited us in Houston - which was extended by a delay in our arriving flight. More waiting. Nothing interesting. Took off. Landed in New Orleans. Hunted around the airport for some guy who was to transport us from the airport to the hotel. No worries, we found the guy - maybe it was his first day? Disheveled suit, about a size too big, crumpled sign - but hey, he's got one job, drive.
The hotel was average. That night we walked down to a restaurant near, but I don't believe on, Bourbon street. Tried some fried alligator. Takes like chicken.
Around 20:00 was a ghost tour lead by some professor guy. He gets an A+ for enthusiasm. As myself a skeptic, claiming all the research he had done only made me feel as though he was bolstering his ghostly tales with pseudo claims. They say every good lie is derived from an ounce of truth. To be fair, he's compensated for entertainment, not accuracy.
The night ended early, but I suppose most people are tired after a day of travel. I would have rather done some more exploring, but we ended up turning in early.
January 5th, 2020 -
Sunday. The first and only day I managed to have enough time to get up and go for a little run before starting the day. I started to doubt that this hotel had a gym or a pool when I set out on an adventure to locate the amenities. Not on the top floor. Not off the lobby. I started walking floor by floor until I came across a maid in the service elevator. Turns out of twelve floors, the gym and 'rooftop' pool are located on the fifth floor. Did a 1.5 mile run and light workout, then joined everyone else for breakfast downstairs.
Today we toured the WWII Museum. Now, I don't want to sound ignorant to what went down - but I have a hard time understanding how everyone in the country was so enthused to join the military. There was so much propaganda; is it possible we're still only seeing the story threaded by the government? I searched the museum for answers to questions like - what did intelligent people do? What was life like in the home front? Propaganda would lead you to believe all the women took up factory and manufacturing work. What about the folks do did not? Where is that side of history?
Seeing no point in investigating the museum any further and paying for a severely overpriced, shitty burger at the Soda Shop I took my attention elsewhere to the Ogden Museum of Southern Art. This place was dope. I've been sort of making it a thing to visit art museums on my travels. This place featured artists spanning across many southern states - not just Louisiana. Art is like wine in that it's a true skill and talent to appreciate it. It's developed over time. Art is like wine in that I wish I had that skill and new how to adequately describe its nature in ways that captured its essence and beauty.
Mid-afternoon we met up with a local artist, Tibre. This guy was super genuine. He does these art photo blends which are pretty simple - but it was still cool to just walk around a bit and get to meet him. Maybe give him a follow on Instagram.
January 6th, 2020 -
Sunday night I had a database migration event which lasted way too long into early Monday morning. I contemplated even going to sleep for fear I wouldn't be up in time to depart Monday morning. I did sleep. Hardly. I woke up, ran down to the lobby and met everyone else for departure to the plantations about an hour away. I slept the entire ride, but that wasn't enough.
This was my least favorite thing of the entire trip.
We drove back and got lunch in the French Market. People go crazy on 'vacations' and spend money for the sake of spending money. I basically sat around for two hours - well, I did sneak in a mudslide daiquiri. I had to have something to pass the time.
That evening we watched the 'Krewe of Joan of Arc' parade. No idea what that means, but it was super sketch. I stand by the fact that the Catholic Church is the largest cult in the world. It was hard not to laugh at these people.
January 7th, 2020 -
Tuesday. We kicked off the day with a visit to New Orleans School of Cooking. I will be revisiting this place. I was kinda bummed that we wouldn't be cooking - because I wanted to show off my mad cooking skillz. The food was tasty though. I had a bit of every meal which honestly was only because I saw exactly how it was made. Had that not been the case, there was no way I would have touched the gumbo or jambalaya. Fortunately, this place has an online store which I will be hitting up shortly. 10/10 would recommend booking this place if you visit New Orleans.
We visited The Presbytere and The Cabildo - the only interesting display was the Katrina one. They had a Mardi Gras display which was okay - despite two years of French, I didn't realize that "Mardi Gras" was French - Mardi as is Tuesday - I always thought "Mardi Gras" was just a proper noun for some parade. It's a literal translation to "Fat Tuesday" - whoops.
We hit up the cable car and rode up to the Garden District. I slept most of the way, but every time I get on nasty public transportation I remember why I hate and refuse public transportation. Look at the types of people who ride public transportation. I might catch something from the guy sitting in the back. Lord knows that car could be packed and no way in hell I'm sharing my seat. I don't care if it's $3/day -> I'll take my own mode of transportation and pay the privilege tax and be happy.
We made it up to the Garden District then walked what felt like 500 miles to see a tree. This particular tree just happened to be the largest tree. If you asked me, I just thought it looked like two average trees grew into one another. The entire walk up I just kept thinking of the story, The Giving Tree. We caught a bus line back into town. Urgh.
The final chapter of the adventure concludes on a Riverboat Jazz Cruise. It was essentially the Gateway Clipper. The food was meh and I opted for a non-alcoholic cranberry juice which cost me $6. I could purchase a liter of cranberry juice for less than the cost of that drink. Re-dic-u-lous. But, it's probably something I would have done myself anyway - and it is a great date spot.
January 8th, 2020 -
Wednesday. 6:45 we departed the hotel. Every day I was in the lobby at the scheduled time, but was always the last one. When I arrived, everyone was outside loading the bus with their belongings. Fortunately, having only my backpack and no need to store anything in the back, I boarded immediately.
Our flights back took us from New Orleans to Chicago then to Pittsburgh. I basically tuned into work calls the entire way back. It's nice now having had a few years of practice working while on the road that I can seamlessly juggle muting and unmuting, navigating myself and the conversation with ease. If it wasn't for airport announcements I don't think anyone would have known I was on the road.
Though, to that point, no one seemed to care. It's fortunate that I have people now who don't care that I'm on the phone with them in an airport or that I flew cross country but kept working. It was a lot of stress to keep up a facade I was 'at home' while on the road.
For me, this trip meant an opportunity to share an experience. Being alone nearly all the time gets kinda depressing. Even as I have traveled and want to continue to explore, the toughest obstacle is doing it by myself. I enjoyed the people, I was introduced to new foods like alligator and catfish, I had a four course meal with an entertaining chef, I got to see and explore the culture and history of a new city.
Shout out to CulturED Travel for providing an awesome experience. 10/10 would recommend you go check them out and maybe tag along on one of their upcoming trips!
#Entrepreneur, #Developer, #Businessman. Pouring everything I have into everything that I do. Meeting #opportunity at the door.