Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Memorial Day Weekend 2011, me and 9 other guys road tripped to New Orleans for our friend Chance's 25th birthday. Having just been to Portland 2 weekends before on a trip that was more or less completely planned by myself, going on this trip having not planned a single thing was quite refreshing. I didn't have to drive, I had no idea what hotel we were staying in, I was simply just along for the ride, and what a wild one it was. We drove to Houston on Thursday night to cut the drive down some, and went and caught The Hang Over 2. More or less the same plot as the first movie, but it was still entertaining none-the-less, especially with 10 guys who were about to head to a notoriously crazy party city. After an uncomfortable nights sleep on the floor, we woke up early and headed to "Nawlins."
The sudden bumps in the road made me look up from my lackadaisical day-dreaming facebook creeping and tweeting on my phone and I knew right off that we were in Louisiana. Entering that state often feels like entering a different county, from the people to the food to the architecture, everything just feels very different from home. I of course started drinking before we actually arrived in New Orleans, since it's so rare I'm afforded the opportunity to not be driving. So as we drove around the French Quarter looking for our not so noticeable hotel, I tried my best to hold the intoxicants in. After a few phone calls and u-turns we finally arrived, and I made it to the bathroom at a photo finish. From there we unloaded all of our stuff and instantly walked down to Bourbon to grab a drink and check out the sites.
Bourbon street is like Austin's 6th street, mixed with Memphis' Beale street, throw in a little of the Vegas strip, all mixed together in a shot tube which is ultimately taken out of the cleavage of some waitress in a bar you can't pronounce. We grabbed some of the famous "hand-grenade" drinks which are supposedly the strongest in New Orleans, and found a balcony to post up on and check out the other tourists. I still have no idea what are in those grenades, or how many of them we ended up drinking throughout the weekend, but I wouldn't be surprised if rufilin wasn't one of the main ingredients. A little tired from the drive, hungry, and sweaty from the south Louisiana humidity, we headed back to the hotel to regroup. After grabbing some pizza slices, we eventually ended up back on Bourbon at a bar called the Beach, which is where we spent the rest of the night. Some friends of ours that are locals came out, and we all drank hurricanes, grenades, and shots from girls who would slap us both before and after taking them, and pretty much danced non-stop till sometime late in the night (early in the morning). I managed to get lost somewhere between Bourbon and the casino, but after a few missed turns I managed to wind up back at the hotel.
The next morning, most likely still intoxicated which can be the only explanation as to why none of us were hung over, we all woke up laughing remembering the nights events. We walked down to a little hole in the wall joint called Hobnobber's for some shrimp poboys and gumbo. After that some of the fellas went over to the casino, while me Chance and Connor headed over to Jackson Square to check out the sites. We saw the Mississippi, which was extremely high. We had feared a few weeks earlier that our trip might get flooded out, but as high as the waters were they remained low enough for us to make it. On our way back from Jackson Square to a little sports bar beside our hotel to catch the UEFA Champions League Soccer Championship game on TV, I once again was playing on my phone when Connor says to me "Holy (crap) is that Vince Vaughn?!" When I looked up, not more than 10 feet away from me and walking in my direction, sure enough it was Vince. A little stunned, none of us could manage a word as we literally walked right by him. He seemed to be in a pretty serious conversation with whomever he was with, and his dark sunglasses also made it seem like he was trying rather hard to be conspicuous, so we thought it best not to chase after him for an autograph or picture. Still, it was another highlight from the trip.
Our friends met us at the sports bar as we watched Barca take on (and eventually beat) Man U, and we sipped on some cold beers and talked about how great a city New Orleans is (and how much we like day-drinking). From there, we went back out to Bourbon, where we saw a guy more or less get knocked unconscious by one of his drunk friends, saw some street performers that were apparently also on "America's Got Talent" at one point, and eventually made our way over to Frenchman street. Along the way, we stopped at another hole in the wall joint that our local friends knew about, and ate some amazing jambalaya, crawfish pie, and mac-n-cheese. The place didn't have seating, so we ate on a stoop outside some house in the middle of downtown New Orleans, and got some strange looks from people on carriage tours as they rode past. After we made friends with a bum who played on his drum, we went down to Frenchman to check out what would be the New Orleans equivalent of Austin's "east-side." We didn't feel like paying covers to get in anywhere however, so we just listen to some jazz from the sidewalk for awhile before heading back to the hotel to shower, dub out a little, and get ready for what was sure to be another crazy night on Bourbon.
Saturday night was equally as crazy as Friday night, complete with Shivers and Vrba ending up on stage at a bar doing their best Vanilla Ice and Justin Bieber impersonations, respectively. Most of us ended up staying out till 3 or 4am, and come Sunday morning we were all in pretty rough shape. The 8+ hour drive home from New Orleans was definitely the worst part of the trip, but all in all it was one of the best weekends ever and one that all of us will undoubtedly always remember.
New Orleans is high on my list of places that everyone should visit, just be prepared for the crazy people, the not so pleasant odors, and the strong drinks. The food, atmosphere, architecture, and history of the city are amazing, and I look forward to many more crazy weekends there in the future.
To the guys who are reading this who were on this trip: no homo. muff said. what is dubstep?!