20320724 – Lafayette to New Orleans
I had thought choosing a nicer hotel would equal better rest. I was wrong. The hotel hosts a bevy of Filipino offshore oil rig workers when they are not working. They have a basketball hoop and a pop up canopy and a grill. They also have a penchant for smoking and yelling outside my window at 2 in the morning. They also yell down the hallways and empty the ice machine at 2:15 am. We headed out of town at second light.
It turns out we were thirty minutes from Avery Island, home of Tabasco. I love the smell of Tabasco in the morning, it smells like victory. We did the tour. We ate some food. We cleared out the gift shop.
The self guided tour is truly one of the best I have ever seen. It is very well done. There is also a jungle gardens where you drive around and see many Asian plants and such. It was also nice. We saw wild alligators and Spanish moss and cool trees and birds. There is a lot of bamboo. It grows like a weed on Avery Island.
We listened to a zydeco CD bought in the gift shop all the way through once.
The Wilco Marsh Runner is basically the riding lawn mower of the future. It has two tracks, passenger seating and an optional brush cutter. It has a top speed of 8mph on land and 1mph on the water because it also floats. Convenient financing is available and basically this thing could be easily towed behind my truck back to St Louis. I saw one being trailered last night. It was love at first sight. Who doesn’t want a tank for around the house?
I had in mind that it would be fun to stay outside of New Orleans on Saturday night. It was not going to happen today. I did stop in Morgan City. It is one of the small towns that dot US90 on the way to NOLA. There was a crafts fair on the main drag next to the sea wall. There was boat racing at a lake and a BBQ competition with live music and vendors underneath the overpass. Merryweather and I got homemade pies. I could not persuade my travel partner to hang around for live music or more food. We got back on the road.
Parts of the US90 highway are not very smooth. The truck gallops like a horse at 75 miles an hour. It is a about 100 bpm bounce.
We finally pulled into New Orleans with no solid plan. I pulled over in the shadow of the Superdome to find a hotel. I got something figured out, but the hotel was on Canal at Bourbon Street. The valet line was a block long. We talked to one of valets. He said come back in an hour and a half. So I updated the GPS for a diversion.
We drove over to Willie Maes Scotch House. The last time I was here. It was the year after Katrina. Time magazine was doing a follow up photo shoot on New Orleans. The kitchen was in the weeds. Lunch took more than an hour. It was still excellent. The original location was closed today. They sent us to the new second location in the Market at Pythian.
Merryweather got a shrimp poke’ bowl from another vendor. I got fried chicken and butter beans. It was delicious. The butter beans and white rice look boring, but the flavor is a surprise. Very spicy, balanced, delicious. The fried chicken is exceptional.
After food, we headed back to the hotel to check in. You can see Bourbon Street from the window. The visually impaired need not worry, you can hear Bourbon Street just fine. Not planning on being well rested tomorrow either.
We went out to check out the French Quarter.
I think the most interesting thing I saw was how comfortable some people are with their bodies. There is NO mystery in a single layer of Lycra or spandex. Some folks just let it all hangout but just cover it with a little stretchy fabric. New Orleans is also apparently also too hot for undergarments. Good for them! Maybe? I am keenly aware of my deficits in form and dress to minimize them. As much as I am shocked by the outfits people will wear out in public, I try to not to be judgmental. Lord knows I got some judgements. I got lots of opinions. Gentle Readers, Miss Manners taught me that silence is the better part of valor.
We gave some money to buskers. I gave some money to a bartender. We got some steps in.
Tomorrow will be bright and early for Cafe Du Monde or breakfast.