New Orleans, day 1, au revoir!

After all the hype, I have to say my first impressions of New Orleans are not amazing.  Sensitive to energy, and almost always overwhelmed by large cities, I am already in need of a time-out – and I’ve only been here for less than 24 hours.

That’s good, too, since I’m on my way to Milwaukee for 4 days (including 2 travel days) for a seminar/conference on transgenerational trauma.  Never heard of it? I hadn’t either until a few years ago.  It’s (in simplified terms) an inquiry into how events of our ancestors (trauma, tragedy, injustice, imbalance, energy, and on and on) can be carried down through the generations, repeating themselves (mostly) without our knowledge or awareness.  Our lives then are a mix of our own free will and our invisible obligations or inheritances from the past.  Once we are examining our lives and histories in this way, we can hopefully break out of these soundtracks.  You know…. light and simple ideas 🙂

Anyways, New Orleans…

Probably 5 times bigger than I imagined, booming with sirens, traffic, concrete, and spinning energy, I need a stress ball in my pocket.  Once I get one, I think I’ll just hold onto it with my tense, sweaty palm.

Now, the campground – while a pleasant surprise in its comforts and appearance – sits under the highway and literally under two monstruous billboards.  That’s not helping anything.  And it’s a gated lot with barbed wire and a tall brick wall.  It evokes nothing if not a dark and sticky sense of fear, entitlement, and inequality.

But on positive notes, the sites are quaint and large.  I was expecting nothing more than a glorified parking lot, complete with faded paint lines.  Instead it is a quaint community of sites, featuring a cobblestone loop and driveways, complete with faux gas lights at each site, a well-kept grass pad, and the fanciest utility towers I’ve seen yet with a dimly lit dome top, hidden fixtures, and a hook to hang your cords.  A world away from the rusty holes in the ground we are used to.  There’s a tile pool and hot tub, exercise room that smells like potpourri, and a large rec room with a sectional and large screen.

Slightly out of our element, our 2004 trailer can only be described as “quaint, cozy, with character” compared to ALL of the other RVs here.  We are surrounded by mostly massive, shiny, dark, fancypants motorhomes.  There was even a guy with some sort of RV-washing business cleaning one of them for over an hour with a power washer and everything.  Whoa.  Needless to say I think the campers in our echelon are probably outside the city with their rusty holes in the ground.  Friends, we will be back with you soon!…..

But as I mentioned in a former post, we splurged on this one.  Campgrounds so far have ranged from $20 to $50 a night, averaging around 35 I’d say.  This one, AFTER the discount, is $80 a night, AND that’s the cheapest it ever gets.  When there are events in town, it can go up as high as $200.  Yikes.  But we’re a stone’s throw from the French Quarter.  Once I get control over my panic response, this will be awesome!

Speaking of panic response, we “braved” Bourbon street last night.  Honestly, I didn’t know it would be braving it.  I was going to walk there at 6:30 with Eli and Dave, happy to be only 15 minutes from our destination.  When I checked with the front desk about “should we turn left or right…?”  The desk clerk stared blankly at me and replied, “Oh, you want to walk?! You don’t want to walk.  You want to take a cab. Don’t walk…. And you’re taking your baby? No, don’t walk.”

Oh.  Okay…  Yay, New Orleans?…..

So, we cab it to Bourbon street and I’m instantly wondering what everyone likes about this place.  There are drunk idiots everywhere, the music is too loud even from the street, neon lights flash everywhere you look, and (as Dave points out) it’s only Thursday.  I should see it on Saturday, he tells me.  No, thanks.

Panic response, please leave me alone.  Just breathe, Susan.  I put my hands in my pockets to look casual and comfortable, but I don’t know if it worked.

I wasn’t a party girl even at the height of my formative years.  I was always the one at parties (of the 10 I went to in 10 years) sitting in the corner with someone I have never met before as they pour their heart out to me.  That’s my speed  🙂  If I actually did get drunk, then I was the one pouring my heart out to someone else in the corner, and not in a good way.

So this scene is almost completely foreign to me.  I know, it’s just Boubon street…  There is still so much more to see, and in the daylight.  I’ll get to that next week, I promise!

Eli wasn’t a fan of Bourbon street either.  Maybe because it was getting close to his bedtime, maybe because he’s like his mama, or maybe because one can only imagine how much there would be for a little one to take in around a scene like this.  He was a good sport and all, but he also didn’t wake up at all last night.  Yeah, buddy, I was tired after all that too.

And then there was dinner.  Hmmm….

We walked around for quite a while trying to find a restaurant we were both interested in.  We settled on a small place that shall remain nameless.  The tall, old, french-door style floor-to-cieling doors that surrounded this corner building disguised the mediocrity inside.  With a decent looking menu full of locally favorite dishes (and another toddler inside – always a helpful sign), we sat down.

Now, know also that I am a total snob about waitstaff service.  After 10 summers of fine dining service experience, I know that there are very simple and basic things you can do that make a dining experience comfortable and seamless.  They failed at almost all of them.

We had to ask for water, napkins, silverware, a high chair, butter for our bread, a soup spoon for dave’s soup, and our server was so passive and slow we had to take the reigns on almost everything.

Then there was a bug in our appetizer.  Ew.  But I’m actually not snobby about stuff like that.  Bugs happen, especially with windows open everywhere.

The manager insists our entire meal is free.  I know she has to do this, but it’s not reasonable.  We ask only from free drinks and no charge on the appetizer.

The entrees were okay.  I got crawfish etouffee and Dave got the sampler, complete with gumbo, jumbalaya, and a few other things.  But almost everything had a quality of cafeteria food, or as if their entire kitchen consisted of a pantry of canned soup, a freezer, a microwave, and a crock pot.  Meh.

Eli enjoyed the stale bread, so that’s a plus.

But I’m going back to my homeland now!  Ah, the good old midwest.  I dreamt last night of snow and it was a beautiful thing.

And I just have to mention that I saw a woman this morning in the airport putting syrup on her cheese omlette and that this is simply wrong.

Well, off to the next flight carrying me to Milwaukee!  Then I’ll be back to New Orleans Monday evening.

I think a psychic reading is in order.  And lots of beignets.

One Response to New Orleans, day 1, au revoir!

  1. Mom


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