Today, we woke up late and went to The Pharmacy Museum in downtown New Orleans. High key, this is the best bang for your buck when talking about New Orleans museum.
After finishing up my work and getting ready to leave on Saturday, I decided to go to the French Quarter to photograph Southern Decadence.
I was out taking photos and this dude started talking to me (check out photos here).
He was not visibly drunk or hitting on me. He told me he was a tour guide with a Cajun accent and his beard did not wrap around his chin. In other words, he looked completely harmless.
This complete stranger asked if he could show me around, with him being a tour guide, I figured I would learn something. He settled in for following me while I took my pictures and pointing at things. Once again, my red flag of supposed womanly intuition did not raise. We were in extreme public and he had yet to even try to touch me.
An hour into our exploration of drunken bodies and alcohol, he had to leave. I thought that was it, but instead he asked for a hug.
It seemed like an acceptable motion between two strangers.
He pulled me in and when I tried to back away, his hand gripped my back. Next thing I know, his head is angling and his eyes close. Again, I try to back away but his grip tightens and he kisses me. My face froze and I just took it.
I’m not sure if it was the shock factor that I did not automatically knee him in his groin but all I did was push him away with force. I turned and walked away as fast as I could while trying to keep what little dignity I felt I didn’t have.
The kiss happened without warning, without me giving any inclination that I wanted him to feel me up. It just happened.
So I had my most uncomfortable and unnecessary kiss of my life in New Orleans.
I ran to Cafe Du Monde after that. I hate men.
At Cafe Du Monde, I ended up hanging out with a local man. He was singing on the side of the street and told me about his life.
He was a choir singer at a local New Orleans church but lost his house (I think from Katrina but he was talking so fast, I may not have got it right).
But he sang me church songs, while I sat there getting fat with my beignets.
The beginning of the French Quarter was awkward and filled with stupid horniness and ended with me meeting an interesting man who could sing with all his heart.
I am of firm belief that New Orleans is one crazy, weird city.
I have not put out a blog because I truly have not done anything interesting for the past couple of days. Tuesday was me recovering, I put one half-assed article out before passing out and throwing up for the rest of the day. Just call me Glamorous by Fergie, right?
Wednesday was me working. I sat in a coffee shop, working for 8 hours. The coffee helped and gave me an idea for an easy work article.
Thursday, I was about to force myself out of bed and get my friend to accompany on a coffee binder. We explored the drip coffee options in and around New Orleans. Ranking them on a number of issues such as atmosphere, cost, hipsterness, and parking. If you want to read what I wrote about the New Orlean’s coffee scene, look The Best Coffee in New Orleans. Because let me tell you, the parking in New Orleans is crazy stupid. This entire town has transportation issues up the wazhoo.
But we went to about 5 different shops before I started getting sick from all the coffee. Jp and I hung around Who Dat Coffee Shop (my favorite in the area).
We ended up going over everything from the past 3 years. So here is the tea. Jp, stopped talking to me because his ex was jealous of our relationship. This wouldn’t have been bad except I introduced them and both were supposed to be some of my best friends. The girl had also tried to get with my ex (while I was with him) but you know she wasn’t a bad person, she high key just needed someone stable there for her. Short story, this was the first time talking in years. He apologized and we moved on.
It was like no time had passed.
The rest of the day, I was online writing and working. I tried to explore some of the city but honestly the roads kept me away. There also has not been a day when that hasn’t been any rain. When people said it never stops raining in New Orleans, it wasn’t a lie. Also, fuck Katrina.
I never knew the damage that had happened. To me it was just an enigma that had happened on the news. It is so odd to see the aftermath or hear the stories from people.
The x’s on the wall are from when rescuers where looking for survivors. The top number are the people alive and needing help.
The bottom number are the amount dead. They had to write it and come back later.
The city is still scarred and people are still talking about seeing death, rape, and other horrible things in the Superdome.
Since then, it is now my firm belief that New Orleans has become one of the first anarchist cities in the U.S. The police, don’t care. The government is apparently so corrupted, people have given up.
New Orleans, a city that is supposed to be a party in a city. I met up with one of my friend’s, JP, there. A little background over our friendship, we were best friends till about 4 years ago when a girl made him choose between him and I. This is our first hangout and even long conversation since then. Totally weird and I went into the situation unsure of what would happen.
But it ended up feeling like there was no time between then and now.
We ended up going to Felipe’s, Museum of Death, and Museum of Voodoo.
“I’ve lived here for 11 months and haven’t done this much stuff in one day.”
We then went back to his place and he smoked while we waiting to go out to the iconic Bourbon Street.
(NSFW moments from here on out, I’m looking at you mom)
The rest of the night was out of a movie it felt like.
We grabbed our first gallon drink and I saw a cabaret. Let me start by saying that I have never been to anything like that. I imagined walking into a Christina Aguilera-themed burlesque show.
Well, we had to chug our drinks and JP needed to smoke. I don’t ever smoke. It makes me anxious and I over analyze every move I make. I went into a bar blaring music that allowed us outside drinks in. The music was decent but then I spotted stairs. Whenever I see stairs I have to go up them.
We ended up finding an empty upstairs bar and we went out to the balcony. GET THIS, he lit up overlooking Bourbon Street. Standing there we drank, he smoked, and we judged the people walking below us. Peasants, am I right? (just kidding)
Once finished, we went to the cabaret. Okay, like I said, I thought I was about to enter a carnival-esque wonderland where females are praised for their bodies.
THAT WAS A HARD NO
It was a strip club. Like a strip club with naked people. I sat there with my mouth open. I accidentally walked into a strip club and JP thought it was the funniest thing.
“I thought you just wanted the full Bourbon St. experience.”
After another drink I started appreciating the dancers for what they were doing.
It wasn’t until men began lining the stage and the girls put on shows for them. It turned from an art form to sleaze real fast and we chugged our drinks (#2) and left.
Going in and out of bars with music, we were just trying to find one that vibed with us. I even bought a fishbowl because I wanted to have the full experience.
We walked into the Cat’s Meow, a karaoke bar that we saw on the second floor balcony. This was the best decision we could have made. I prepared myself for knocking off another bucket list item of singing in front of strangers. I ended up taking double shots before and after getting on stage.
Like any good bar movie, I then met a bunch of ladies in the restroom.
I can now say, I formed a girl pack and that is the greatest form of feminism I could do in New Orleans. I signed up for another song, had a couple shots paid for me and next thing I know, my super social and networking self popped out. Whenever you take me out and I start drinking, I turn into the most social person you will ever meet.
“You Give Love A Bad Name”, came on and I pulled all these girls on stage. We sang and danced to Bon Jovi like we were a Russian girl group.
We left the bar and went to a place to dance and I had a dance off with strangers in a crowded bar.
I feel like I could end the post and it would still be the traditional let’s get messed up New Orleans night. But we ended up getting lost for like an hour trying to get food. In this hour, we have the talk. Basically a drunken cry on my part about how I lost his friendship because of a girl and how we missed each other.
Lame but it needed to happen and what better time than with homeless people surrounding you lost in New Orleans at 3 a.m.
Whenever there was an open door, I walked through it and I introduced myself to every single person I met on the street. I wanted to know everyone’s story.
We finally made it to Daisy Duke’s, a 24-hour diner. After eating food while watching Parks and Rec…
(Technically I’m homeless…..)
We jammed out to emo music and I passed out the second I laid down. Overall, it was one of those nights that I want to remember.
I honestly did not expect to enjoying doing work as much as I do. My days are mostly working and then a couple hours of exploring. It works out best in my opinion, really hard to get bored or sad that way.
So on Sunday, I decided to have a Louisiana day. Church, brunch, chill (or work at a relaxing pace).
The biggest impact came early in the morning, something told me to go to church. Mind you, I have not been other than Christmas since the day I turned 18. I was raised in a very Catholic household including Catholic school, Sunday’s spent all day at the church, youth involvement, choir involvement, mentoring, and whatever other minor thing that comes with Catholicism. I had noticed that a key thing to do in Lafayette was to visit St. John’s Catholic Church. So I went.
There will always be a soft spot for cathedrals. Just the architecture and glass windows makes me want mediate over every bad decision of my life. But this was me just experiencing the mass. Before, I was always forced and what the priest seemed irrelevant and stuffy at best.
Actually, the priest started off by talking about the latest scandal in Pennsylvania. The cases of molestation from inside the church. It was one of the most beautiful homilies that I have seen. This young priest started off saying he was re-thinking his job in the church. That this was disgusting and he was angry at the church, at the priests, at the whole situations. It was candid and truthful. Something I had not expected from someone in the Catholic church, call me a cynic.
After that, my day went mostly to working and trying some foods. Prejean’s in Lafayette was not all it’s cracked up to be. But I did spend some time downtown shooting which you can check out here.
So Shark Tank and I had a good 10 hour run. Sat there with it on the background and I was just plugging away at writing. After a few hours, my hostel host came in a hung out with me for awhile. He is the professor at the local college and travels with the AirBnB money. He told me about a bunch of places to stop by and his travels around the world. He reminded me of a Cajun Mark Walhberg to be honest. One of the places he recommended was the Mountain Light Sanctuary, which I totally booked right then. It is in the forests of North Carolina and I am staying in a bungalow with a babbling creek and forest right beside me. Can you tell I am excited. But if you are interested in some good ideas for hostels and stuff check out his travel blog.
I had my first experience with my weird, deathly-fearful of the night. Growing up, my family thought the best way to teach morality lessons (besides the church) was to basically tell horror stories to a child. Those stories have kept me in check more than once but they also attributed to my unhealthy fear of the night.
Last night, alone in the hostel, I freaked myself out. I did not even have one of those hair-raising or intuitive moments, nope. It was just being alone in an unknown household. Hopefully along this trip I can get rid of that debilitating fear but keep the healthy respect of any supernatural side.
Let’s see how New Orleans goes….
I started off in Gibsland, Louisiana. Let me tell you, I was ready to leave. The quiet was great but the mixture of moisture, slight twinge of racism made me ready to leave.
The next city I went too, was a memory lane trip. Monroe, Louisiana. It is the most known for Duck Dynasty. Need more than that name and the fact it’s in Louisiana, check out this video of the semi-illiterate uncle.
I spent my 1st-5th grade here, but only 4 years. I was able to skip 4th grade (a small fun fact that most people don’t know about me). The only place I could still navigate to was the Catholic private school I went to. Leftover Catholic guilt, a special place in my heart; who knows. Our Lady of Fatima, is a tiny school that still looks like it could be in a Tarentino movie. I tried to walk into the church to offer some sort of balance for all the Eucharistic wafers I used to eat there while alter serving, but the doors were locked. All I was able to see was the statues that I took my First Communion pictures on. Maybe I will upload them later on because this girl was an adorable Mexican child.
I decided after, that it was time to leave Monroe. There really was nothing left for and I don’t really give a “duck” about it..
Moving on from my weird childhood experiences, I drove to Lafayette. Let me tell you, this is a beautiful drive with some sad sights. A lot of ghost towns and going through Alexandria (my surname) was what death looks like for a city. Is this why I am an emo girl?
Arriving to the great Lafayette, movies are filmed here, zydeco was born here. But I need to start lowering my expectations with cities I suppose. It’s hot and humid. I tried to go through downtown and take pictures and although beautifully laid out, it was not the metro hotspot I was expecting.
It did provide a good time to catch up on work but as for a culturally hub, it was a let down.
Something that was not a letdown, the hostel I stayed at (www.cajunhostel.com). My first experience with a hostel and I felt wary. I’ve seen the movie “Hostel” and read about Natalee Holloway. But this experience was clean, it smelled like a bakery and I ended up having the room to myself. There was another couple staying in the room besides me and other than hearing them either fighting or having intense sex (or both), they were private and British. The only details I really got out of them.
It was a quiet day with minimal interactions. I love those days, call me an introvert.
*Side note: the man from yesterday was not as pure of heart as I thought. I woke up with a ‘hey beautiful, hope you’re doing well babe’ text. He then proceeded to text me all day long with no response about him golfing and how he wanted pictures of me because he thought I was catfishing him.*
Second day’s seem to be infinitely better. Like in high school, on your second day that is when you get the feel of things. Like your new teachers, the friends you could make, and if you really needed that sparkle pen set.
That is kind of how it was for me. I jumped in and now, I felt like I could handle anything. Still camping in northern Louisiana in Minden. Found this amazing spot out there called Beaver Lake. If anyone wants to go there, I highly suggest it. Because A freaking 1.
Camping is $9.50 with a pass, and you wake up on a lake (hopefully not as humid as I went). I did yoga in the morning and my whole pre-mediation that puts me in the right headspace. This seems kind of odd, I know but it has helped me focus and pull my thoughts together. I visited the Bonnie & Clyde Ambush Museum, which was awesome. A little pricey for my taste but it went to Gibsland Historical Foundation.
I will through my ass in a circle for any historical foundation.
I found a cute little dinner, Bon Temps, in a gas station. The line was out the door and no seating. I ended up having to sit at the end of a table with some cool guys. They didn’t say much the moment I sat down but posi vibes, right.
The rest of the day was devoted to working. This means me moving about 100 times in 7 hours because I can never sit and work. At one of these points I was outside my tent, working on a newsletter, when this guy came up to me and just sat right there. Now, I am from Texas and shyness is strange to me but this was different.
He starts talking as if we know each other and honestly, he was an interesting man. He told me how he put his kid’s through LSU and they are finally understanding what it means to not be “sucklin his teat” (his words). And then he asked if I was political.
I could feel myself shrinking but said yes, I keep up pretty well.
“Oh, well I’m guessing you’re one of them liberals”.
“Yes sir, I would consider myself that.”
We then had a thirty minute conversation about our beliefs mostly politically. It ranged from government handouts, welfare programs, to immigrant policies. We never yelled and we both made concessions. At the same time, I did have to steer conversation away when it became a stalemate, like when we talked about ICE.
But by the end of the conversation,
“You’re too smart to be a liberal. Are you sure you won’t consider being a Republican?”
“No sir, I have to many differences to ever be considered that.”
He then invited me for supper at his camper, with his family and said goodnight.
Then about an hour later, the park ranger pulls into my campground driveway and comments on my cooking. Veggie burgers, broccoli, and potatoes.
He kept saying, “I’m a meat and potatoes only type of man.”
The questions weren’t long and he did not stay there for awhile but he did have a lasting impact.
“Where you going?”
“Heading up to New York right now.”
“I could never go there.”
“You want to know why?”
“Because of all them damn fagg*** living up there. I couldn’t handle watching them with purses on their arms.”
I smiled and said, “Well, I am looking forward to going up there. I find Northerners to be more accepting.”
Turning my back, I busied myself with some cooking. I just could not get over the difference in these two men. Both obviously Southern, both about the same education level, but one who was respectful and the other who was a park ranger. Wild is all I could say.
Today was a day where a lot of minor things kept happening. All of them separately and I would have handled them like a pro. Spit-balled them out, used a think tank to come up with ideas to break out of them. But instead, they happened back to back. Leaving me wondering if I should just turn around and head back for Texas.
The day I woke up and found out I drove to the DMV for no reason- minor inconvenience, right. The day proceeded with bad, over priced gas station food (I never realized that was a thing) and me stopping at Walmart for a lot of items I had forgetton. It was not till I hit Shreveport, LA at a post station when I was truly mailed to the wall (ha pun).
My starter just stopped. So, like any millennial I tried to get it fixed but I did not want to pay for towing. But damn it, I am a strong independent woman who don’t need no mechanic. So I bought a starter and attempted to take apart my car. Background: I know nothing about cars and have only put oil in my car previously. I literally was that meme of a girl hitting a wrench to her car to make it open up but at least trying to follow YouTube videos.
About 4 cars passed by me, each with a single male yelling, “Hey honey, you need some help?” or variations of that, this include; darling, sweetie, sweet looking. I needed help but my feminism pride and suspicion of these fellows left me alone.
Then a man in a huge decked out truck just got out and started to help me. Didn’t even ask, and the best part he had a wedding ring. He ended up doing all the work for me, while I just sat there.
Every time I tried to help, I was met with a, “ oh honey you are just going to get in the way.”
He fixed my car and refused the money I tried to pay him for it. Pulling out of the driveway, I literally sat in my car and thought,” Thank God for Southern men.”
I made it to my campsite before dark and was able to set up my tent, relax, and get started on my next assignment before I passed out at the earliest I have ever passed out: 9:30.
All in all, I figure that somehow that was a sign. Whether it was a sign saying, shit is like this so keep moving or yeah, you’re anxiety is not going to be able to handle this trip. Regardless, I made the decision to keep on moving.