Tardy to the Mardi

Hey there, ‘Redheads… I was planning to finally conclude my three part travelogue of my trip to drunken fever dream that was Mardi Gras, but as we get further removed from it, it’s becoming clear as the ice in my bottomless glass of whiskey and ginger ale that my memories of the trip might as well have been transcribed on an Etch-A-Sketch by Michael J. Fox. Sure, I’ve got pictures to help piece things together, but none of them are of anything you guys really want to hear about. Plenty of shots of the parade on Fat Tuesday.

The pageantry…


The floats…The people who were mistaken for floats…I was perched on our hotel balcony to watch as people flooded down Bourbon Street. Right below was where the religious outreach folks set up shop to shout the good word through a megaphone at the stumbling revelry. They meant well, but this wasn’t the most receptive audience, which is kind of ironic since the whole party serves a religious purpose. Some people consider seeing boobs in exchange for plastic beads a miracle. Anyway, this was the scene on Bourbon Street at 2pm on Fat Tuesday…When night fell, we set up shop on another part of the balcony to do some bead tossing. It’s harder than it looks. Once you find a decent target, you’ve got to take things like distance, angle, and wind into consideration. And most of them weren’t paying attention, so you had to hit a moving target. I could’ve used a bead caddy. It turned into a game of, well, whoreshoes. More often than not, some drunk musclehead would snatch the beads anyway. The most fun was being had by the guy next to us, who was teasing the women below with a giant interwoven strand of beads. He kept shouting down to them, “These are bunghole beads! Show me your bunghole!” The best part was watching women actually think about it. Kudos, sir.

And by the way, I’ve been seeing some corny ads for Applebee’s running during the NCAA tournament for their new entrees with the “taste of Bourbon Street.” So, if you want your steak to taste like flop sweat and regret, bon appetit.

See you Tuesday.

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Mardi Blog: Part(y) Two

Hey there, ‘Redheads… Happy Ides of March to you and yours. Today is a good day to eat a caesar salad with a knife while wearing a toga. Actually, come to think of it, that’s fun on most days. Welcome back to my multi-part recollection of my trip to Mardi Gras. Part One was mostly about the initial shock and awe. Part Two is going to focus on the eating. Sure, we drank alot too, but some of the time it was washing down some pretty great food.

When you’re in New Orleans, you’re required by law to have beignets at Cafe Du Monde. If you’ve never had the pleasure, a beignet is a square piece of dough, fried and covered with powdered sugar. Aside from coffee, it’s the only thing they serve there. There was a line around the block. Make that two lines, one to sit and one to go. Lucky for us, we didn’t have to wait with the riffraff because my buddy Nick greased the palm of one of the busboys to get us a table. It’s nice to be important. It’s important to be nice. Anyway, we sat down and got a round of bennies.

So much powdered sugar, it looked like breakfast at Charlie Sheen’s house. They’ve got themselves a surefire recipe. I’m fairly sure if you fried my shoe and dumped powdered sugar on it, it’d be pretty tasty. Chewier, sure, but tasty. Fuck Wheaties, I want my face on a box of these heavenly morsels. It was a solid foundation on which to pour a bucket of alcohol.

One place that came highly recommended for “the best fried chicken you’ll ever have” was Willie Mae’s Scotch House. We were able to confirm with the locals that it’s the place to go for fried chicken, so how could we not? We found out that it was located outside the confines of the French Quarter. Maybe a mile or so away from the bustle of Bourbon Street. It was a sunny day, so the four of us decided to hoof it. As you may or may not know, it’s taken New Orleans some time to rebound from Katrina back in 2005. The French Quarter has done fairly well, but there are other parts, like the one we walked through, that make Detroit look like Beverly Hills. I would’ve taken some pictures, but I wasn’t keen on flashing any high dollar items while we walked at an increasingly hurried pace toward Willie Mae’s. No wonder the chicken tastes so good. The meal is life affirming. When we got there around noon, there was a line to get in, since it’s only open from 11-3 and it’s a pretty small place.We watched as several cabs dropped off groups of people much smarter than we were. After waiting for about a half hour, we got seated. It was a wonder why there was anything besides fried chicken on the menu, because that’s what everyone was getting. We later found out that they ran out of chicken shortly after we left. As far as their claim to having the best fried chicken? Well, the Colonel should be dishonorably discharged. It was delicious.The breading was flaky and light and the breast was so good, I was tempted to throw beads at it. As my buddy Evan put it, “a meal worth almost dying for.” We decided to call a cab to ferry us back to the relative safety of the mob. When we told our cabbie that we had walked to the restaurant his reaction was, “So, were there five of you originally?”

The best meal we had in New Orleans was at a restaurant called Nola. It’s one of Emeril Lagasse’s. I cannot emphasize this enough. If you go to New Orleans, GO TO NOLA. It’s one of the five best meals I’ve ever had, and I’m not just saying that because I was hammered at the time. I had the Grilled Pork Chop with Brown Sugar Glazed Sweet Potatoes, Toasted Pecans and Caramelized Onion Reduction Sauce. The sweet potatoes were like candy, the chop was tender, and the sauce was heavenly. Our only regret was that we went there with two days left on the trip. Aside from the aforementioned fried chicken, nothing else came close.

To be concluded…

Mardi Blog: Part(y) One

Hey there, ‘Redheads… Did everyone fill out their brackets today? It’s your responsibility as an American. Vote or die. Today’s the day when nationwide productivity plummets while we sift through more seeds than a stoner looking for one last toke. It doesn’t matter if you haven’t watched a college basketball game all season. My girlfriend just picked Old Dominion because she likes the root beer. Let’s not get sidetracked, though. We’ll get back to remedial bracketology tomorrow. After a week long hiatus, I’m back to chisel through the writer’s block and provide you with as much as I can recall of my jaunt to New Orleans for Mardi Gras. I was going to attempt to do this on Friday, but my body needed the extra recovery time to shake the gristle from my fried synapses, which were marinated in whiskey and Hurricanes for three days. Sure, it sounds delicious (if Paula Deen was a zombie), but it was a recipe for one exhausted Jew. Let’s see if I can focus and give you a glimpse of what went down.

I landed at Louis Armstrong International Airport at roughly midnight and piled into a cab with five strangers who were all headed to the French Quarter. Our cabbie was an older gentleman who seemed to have already had his fill of the uppity hipsters and douchebag frat boys who were in his city to cause a ruckus. With the party raging on the main drag of Canal St, he dropped us off as close has he could to our respective hotels. Luckily, mine was a quick two blocks to the corner of Canal and Bourbon. I met my buddies, Nick and Gary, at the room, dropped off my stuff, and we decided to wade into the sea of drunken humanity that was Bourbon St.My first impression? Filth. On every level. Garbage strewn in the street, piles of discarded beads, and, since it had rained for two days, everything was slippery. I had to cuff my pant legs so that I wouldn’t have to burn them later. And then there’s the people. Maybe the A talent was getting in on a later flight, but it was just a Fantasia broomstick army of people who walked off the sets of Maury and The Jerry Springer Show. A parade of stumbling ugly. I was able to document my initial reaction to the shit show…I’m not one to nitpick about physical beauty, I’m a nebbishy tub of goo, but holy crap. And without fail, if we spotted a woman who was remotely attractive, she was tethered to a grotesque fat guy that made Jabba the Hutt look like George Clooney. The soundtrack of Mardi Gras was a persistent woooing. So much woooing, it was like someone shoved a police siren down Ric Flair’s throat. The only thing that cut through the wooo was the rhythmic chant of “show your tits!” These particular tits were not the kind that should be encouraged or, unfortunately, needed encouragement. All it took was some particularly shiny boob wampum for some of these girls to release the hounds. It’s an odd double standard that exists on the lawless streets of New Orleans. Drunk guys want to see boobs and drunk girls have boobs to offer, but these aren’t the boobs you’re looking for. The boobs you want are the professional drivers on a closed course, the ones you get are Toonces the Cat crashing through the guard rail. Anyway, we gawked as the drunken current carried us down Bourbon St, then we went back to the hotel around 2am to recharge for whatever debauchery lay ahead.

To be continued…

Streaky

Hey there, ‘Redheads… So, this is the last blog of my two and change month long weekday streak. Roughly 45 entries which, in previous years, has been my usual annual output. So, has this enriched the blog experience for you, the loyal reader? I don’t mean that generally, I’m speaking to my one loyal reader. I hope I’ve been able to keep things remotely interesting and mildly amusing. With the national attention deficit being at an all time high, I’m thankful for whatever time your eyes dart over here.

I plan to pick up where I left off and provide you with a travelogue of my jaunt down to Mardi Gras. There will be tasteful pictures and as clear a recollection as my fried synapses can manage. Keep in mind, not only is this for Mardi Gras, but also for a friend’s bachelor party, so some photos and stories may be redacted so that there’ll still be a wedding. I still haven’t packed yet, but I plan to travel light. I’m going to leave behind my dignity and self respect. I’ve had several things recommended to me for my trip. I’ve got to eat fried chicken at Willie Mae’s Scotch House, take in some jazz at Preservation Hall, and drink several beverages named for things that destroy other things. My checklist runneth over. If there’s anything else I’m missing, please to leave it in the comments section.

See you when I get back…

Party? Moi?

Hey there, ‘Redheads… I’m going to admit this right up front. I’ve got nothing. I just got back from the kind of meal that bears eat before they start hibernating, so I’m in a digestive daze. But, I want to keep the streak of blogs going until I go on a short hiatus next week. In case you’ve forgotten, I’m hopping on a plane to New Orleans, where they’re having some sort of party. I’m still not quite sure what to expect. Actually, I’m very sure what to expect: drunken mayhem. A near nonstop cacophony of “WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” until I get back on the plane to come home. Ten thousand fists all pumping in unison as beads fly haphazardly through the air to the awaiting boobs below. Girls going wild. And I’ll be resisting the temptation to call them whippersnappers and yell at them to get off my lawn. I may have to find an Advil patch I can slap directly onto my forehead for the screaming headache I’m going to have. Some people would say that, at 35, my wild partying days are behind me. Well, I never had wild partying days in the first place. I’ve got one decent tequila story in me, which involved passing out, casually puking onto some guy’s carpet, then being carried out of the party by two friends on mine. That was roughly 15 years ago. Other than that, I’m sure there are nuns that throw down harder than I do. I’m not going to pretend I don’t drink, I do enjoy a frosty beverage, but I never venture outside the safe confines of fuzzy lucidity. The kids who I’m going to encounter on Bourbon Street black out so much, their memories are patchier than the AIDS quilt. Luckily, I’ll be able to find some measure of peace and quiet at the casino. I’ll hide from one degenerate vice beneath the underbelly of another. Which reminds me, I still have to pack.

See you Friday.

Filler, Buster…

Hey there, ‘Redheads… I’ll level with you, I’ve got nothin’. This is just being written to fill space, so I may keep the streak alive. So, let’s see how long my stream of consciousness can go ’til it runs dry. Speaking of the streak, it will be coming to an end. March 4th is going to be my last planned consecutive entry. Pending a few details to be worked out, I’ll be on a plane to New Orleans for a double shot of debauchery, a buddy’s bachelor party and Mardi Gras, the next day. I don’t see much blogging getting done up through Fat Tuesday. Rest assured, you’ll get a big fat hungover entry of all of my fuzzy memories and thought out alibis from the trip.

I’m not sure what to expect. I’m excited, but I’m also filled with dread. Sure, this crosses Mardi Gras off my bucket list, but I don’t want to be puking into that bucket. I’m looking to have a good time, not a sequel to The Hangover. I’m an old 35, and most of the people down there will be hammered twenty-somethings. My heavy drinking days are behind me and I hate being caught in loud teeming mobs of drunk people, I don’t care how many boobs are involved. I may try to treat the trip like a safari. New Orleans is the natural habitat of the drunk tramp. It’s fitting that so many guys will attempt to track their mating habits. So, this will either be an amazing time, or my own personal hell. Many consider New Orleans to be the devil’s waiting room anyway. So, we’ll see. Nothing’s official just yet. Like I said, I’m just trying to fill space.

Before I sign off, Happy Birthday to Thomas Edison. Somehow it seems wrong to put candles in the cake.

Have a good weekend. See you Valentine’s Day.