Thursday, November 6, 2008

New Orleans 2008: Day Nine

VooDoo Experience Day Three:

Steph and I definately wanted to have a long day at City Park on Sunday where we could just relax and enjoy the music, all the way up to watching R.E.M. We both agreed that we are getting along in age, and that maybe edgeing our way up to the front of the stage probably wouldn't be such a great idea. So, we started off seeing Tokyo Police Club (but we were a little late) and we made friends with a woman sitting next to us. Everywhere we went we made friends. I thought it was great that people looked at us and thought, "Wow, these two girls are RAD!" Because we are.

So, after Tokyo Police Club, we saw Lupe Fiasco, who wasn't our cup of tea, but whatever. Then we went to see some lame band at the crap stage, just to say that we at least TRIED to watch a band at that stage, but after two seconds, I looked at Steph, and she immediately read my mind: "Please God, let me out of here."

We headed over to the New Orleans stage, where Quintron was playing. Oh sweet baby Jesus, this guy was WEIRD. Like crazy. Not really making music but more making noises with things that may represent instruments in an alternate universe. Of course, Steph dug him. I looked at her with the same look on my face as before, and she succumbed, but not as willingly as I had hoped.

Then we headed over to watch The Blind Boys of Alabama with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band play. Wow! What enthusiasm! And they have won tons of Grammys. I was impressed. And it was so great because there were a bunch of (hot) guys playing frisbee and just hanging out. It was very relaxed and chill.

Then we decided to head back over to commandeer a spot for R.E.M. We watched Dashboard Confessional, who I really, really enjoyed, and Panic! at the Disco, who were OK.

Then. (Drum roll, please):

That's right, R.E.M. We were so happy, it was like we died and gone to heaven. Here's proof:

New Orleans 2008: Day Eight

Ok, so day eight arrives. I really, really wanted to see Manchester Orchestra, (see crappy picture to the left) so Steph and I made a concerted effort to get down to City Park in time. We almost missed them! They are a pretty cool band from I don't know where (but Steph guessed Manchester) and I really enjoyed their music.

Then we decided to go see Fishbone play because Steph's friend manages their band. So, we go and we are checking out this band, which we thought to be Fishbone. And they are really good! But then they turn out to be Rotary Downs, a local New Orleans band. And they kicked major ass! They said they were playing a bar in the Fenchmen's called d.b.a. later that night, and since Steph and I had no major plans to see Nine Inch Nails, we decided that later we would go down to see them.

Then we watched a couple of other bands play, like The Hot 8 Brass Band and Lil' Wayne. Which was cool because seriously, when is the next time I will EVER see Lil' Wayne? Oh, that's right. Never.

We went home, had some dinner, and I took a nap (I'm OLD, people) and we went to the Frenchmen's. Now, if you don't already know, The Frenchmen's is like what the Quarter used to be: totally kick ass without all the tourists and nudie bars. It is way eclectic and artsy, and there was a ton of stuff to do. We went to this d.b.a. bar, and they had ALL SORTS of imported alcohol there, from beer to wine to absinthe. Let me put it to you this way: the only domestic beer they had was Sierra Nevada. That's it. So we had some drinks, and enjoyed the band a second time around.

New Orleans 2008: Day Seven

Before we went to VooDoo, Steph and I decided to have lunch at Commander's Palace. According to the locals, the Brennan family is a very influential family in the New Orleans restaraunt industry. And the Brennan's own the Commander's Palace. (The Brennans are the people who invented Bananas Foster.) It is pretty fancy, and you have to dress up, even for lunch. The place was packed, and I was thankful that Steph had the foresight to make reservations.

But the best part is 25 cent martinis and cosmopolitans. I felt like I was living in 1963 and we were drinking our lunch. They had amazing martinis and my food was fantastic. I had the seafood gumbo, New Orleans barbeque shrimp, and bread pudding souffle for dessert. Umm, pure heaven!

Then we went home for some play time with the kiddo before we headed out to the VooDoo Experience.

Then we went to experience the VooDoo Experience.

Let me tell you. This was probably the most amazing music festival I have ever been to. I haven't been to very many, but this was great. There were all sorts of people and bands from everywhere and a tent dedicated all to local music, and another tent dedicated all to brass and jazz bands. So, not only were there bands like Stone Temple Pilots and R.E.M., but we got to see local bands like Rotary Downs and The Vettes, who were also amazingly talented bands.

We started off with a little Wyclef Jean, then we got up close and personal with Erykah Badu (my camera takes horrendous pictures, I know). Then some Reverend Horton Heat (not pictured). And then we caught a little DeVotchka before Stone Temple Pilots (we were pretty far away) and then some Soul Sisters dancing to a DJ.
Where else can you get such an varraying array of music?? But this was just the beginning.

New Orleans 2008: Day Six

This is the day that will go into my history books as the day that I had the best damn fried chicken I have ever had in my entire life. It was fuckin' good.

For weeks my boss had been telling me I needed to find this place in New Orleans. Betty Sue's Ranch House is what she thought it was called. It was deemed by The Food Network to have the best fried chicken in the nation. Anthony Bourdain ate there and also said it was the best fried chicken he ever had. I was determined to find this place.

We finally figured out it was actually Willie Mae's Scotch House. A couple of Steph's friends met us for lunch there on Thursday. We walked in and were hit with the amazing smell of chicken deep frying. It smelled like ... well, heaven. We sat down, and I ordered a plate of fried chicken with red beans and rice (when in Rome!) and sweet tea.

First the sweet tea arrived, and Adian was all over that. He has an amazingly big sweet tooth. Then, cornbread. Oh holy God, I thought I liked cornbread before, but this was heavenly. I was informed that I needed to save it to put into my red beans, so I patiently waited. (Not really. Aidan and I both were struggling with the wait for our food!) And then, sweet Mother of God, our chicken arrived. Never has anything so succulent ever passed my lips. The grease. The batter. The chicken! And I don't even like chicken that much. Aidan settled down after the chicken arrived and so did I. I was planning on saving a piece for a snack later, but I couldn't wait. I just couldn't do it. By the time we were leaving, the place was packed, and people were waiting outside.

Then we decided to get some pralines for dessert. We went to Loretta's. Where I met Loretta! She chatted with us for a while, and asked Steph's friend (who apparently frequents Loretta's quite often) how his family was, etc. It was such a great friendly, hometown place! I had three pralines: original, chocolate, and peanut butter. The original was my favorite.

By the end of the afternoon, Aidan was pretty tired and ready to go home. As I packed him into his little car seat, I smelled something. Something like fried chicken! I thought maybe he had stuffed a piece into his pocket or his pants. No. We ALL smelled like fried chicken. My purse smelled like fried chicken for DAYS! Aidan's diaper bag smelled like fried chicken. For days. And it bummed me out because I was reminded every time of that heavnely chicken. Oh, how I miss the chicken.

New Orleans 2008: Day Five

On Wednesday, Steph and I wanted to do something nice, but she had to work. We decided we would go have a nice lunch at The Rib Room in The Quarter while Nate took Aidan around Tulane Hospital. Apparently, all the women Nate works wanted to get a glimpse of the little man. And of course, Aidan loves to flirt with the ladies, so he was happy to be shown around.

So, I got us all dressed up. A small feat for me! It was pretty hard to get myself ready, and the baby ready, and then to get all of our gear into the car (I was thinking of hiring a Sherpa). Then I had to drive in New Orleans traffic. Whew! But then we got there, and Steph and I had a lovely lunch -- thanks, Louisiana Bar Association, for that great gift certificate!

As we were eating, I looked up, and there was a parade passing by! A random parade! There was no meaning behind it. No protesting. Nothing. Just people getting together, playing music for the enjoyment of others. It was truly a beautiful sight. Alas, none of the pictures turned out. The window was my camera's enemy.

After lunch, the baby and I headed home, where we got into our pajamas and took a well deserved nap. It was a long day!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

New Orleans 2008: Day Three & Four

On my third and fourth days in New Orleans, I was needed to babysit. I thought, "I can take care of a baby for a few days. No problem."

I had no idea. None.

I have no wnicknamed my nephew "Destruct-or!" He is total boy. He pounds things together, throws things on the floor, and smacks things with his open palm, all just to make noise. Yup. He just wants to see what these two things sound like when they hit each other, and then these two things, and boy, oh boy! They make a different sound! Amazing!

Amazing I survived.

I jest. In all honesty, I did pretty well. We played, watched TV, took naps, and ate. It was harder than I thought it would be. For some unknown reason I assumed that Aidan would want to do all the things I wanted to do. He certainly has a mind of his own though! And he did enjoy doing some of the things I wanted, like go for a walk around the neighborhood (boy, her neighborhood LOVES Halloween!) and take a nap. In summary, it was a beautiful way to spend a week of vacation.

New Orleans 2008: Day Two

On our second day in New Orleans, we decided to grab some breakfast at a local cafe called, aptly enough, The Oak Street Cafe. The place was packed, mostly because there was a Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure the same morning, and all the racers were stopping in for some post-run grub, but we were happy to wait for our food while a little jazz ensemble played for us. I mean, where can you get a jazz ensemble playing for you while you eat your breakfast? New Orleans.
Then Steph and I decided to do a little shopping, but then we didn't really get around to doing much shopping except for at Target, but we did find time to stop at a great little local bookstore called Octavia Books. We had so much fun perusing the store and deciding which fresh, new book we were going to buy!
It was really great to be in New Orleans and have a little tour guide. Travelling to different places is always nice, but when you have a local to weed out all the awful touristy places, it really is a great thing.
OH! And this is also the day we got to see with our own eyes a real second line. A second line is a traditional New Orleans funeral where people come out of their homes and follow the funeral procession, which usually includes a brass or jazz band. It was truly an amazing and beautiful sight, and the thought did cross my mind to take some pictures, but I didn't want to disrespect the dead.
Sometimes I can muster SOME decorum.

For The First Time in My Life...

I LIVE IN A BLUE STATE!!!!!!!!!!!!

After living in Idaho for 26 of my 31 years, I thought living in a swing state was exciting: party rallies, actual political candiates visiting the state instead of ignoring you because your vote wouldn't even come close to counting. But now, now I live in Nevada. A blue state. It makes me a little teary eyed.

Congrats, Obama, the 44th President of The United States!