US Road Trip Travelog: 8th March 2005

Ow. Someone turned up the brightness control in New Orleans whilst I was sleeping. Bastards. I need to put my sunglasses on just to open the curtains in my room.

No great plans for today, except to maybe buy a t-shirt I saw yesterday with 'Road Trip' on it, so I head back down to the French Quarter. Whilst wandering around I hear some loud English accents and remember that the Champions League football (soccer) matches are on. No chance of seeing Manchester United - just as well, judging by the result - but I can see the Chelsea vs. Barcelona thriller live in an Irish pub on Decatur Street. What a great game, but I'm not sure the beers whilst watching the match are a good idea or not.

Time to go for a bit of a walk then. I was half thinking about a visit to The Howlin' Wolf club tonight for some live music, and the streets there are fine in the daytime but I'm not too sure about much later tonight. On the way back into town I find Mulate's, a huge great restaurant. Being a bit hungry by now, I head in.

Why? Alligator on the menu, that's why. I'm not sure what I was expecting - maybe a chunk of tail with the scales still on - but these little bits of grilled meat aren't it. Still, it's pretty good and the jambalaya (rice with bits) that comes with it helps. The alligator meat itself doesn't taste of much, like the catfish I had last week, so I think the only real flavour is in the stuff added in cooking.

Bourbon Street, New Orleans
Bourbon Street, New Orleans. This is the obligatory photo with a balcony, some kind of voodoo shop, and a few tourists.

I think it's probably time to say a few words about Bourbon Street and the French Quarter. If you've ever been to any Disney resort then you'll have seen their version of New Orleans. The real thing is just like that except that there's loud music everywhere, big plastic glasses of beer almost given away, strip joints (topless, bottomless and female impersonators) and various other ways of parting you from your money. Oh, my mistake, it's nothing like the Disney version - it's a whole lot sleazier and a whole lot better. I would like my photo taken with someone dressed-up as a large rodent, however, which is the one thing it seems to lack.

After some time resting in my motel I head back for the evening. I'm not expecting a lot - after last night that would be just greedy - and that's just as well. If last night was 'rock' night on Bourbon Street then tonight is definitely 'soul' night. There are only so many covers of 'My Girl' or 'Hold On I'm Comin' that one person can take. It gets worse, though, when one of the more up-market places has someone doing Billy Joel covers. Surely not even Billy Joel is allowed to do Billy Joel covers?

In desperation I seek refuge in the Mad Ass Saloon. Whilst watching the - fairly average - band a young lady comes up and offers me some sort of alcoholic drink in what looks like a test tube. Thinking that this is a freebie from the club thanking me for my patronage, I go for it. She puts the test tube between her breasts, from which I'm supposed to (and do) take the test tube and drink it with no hands. She then tells me that this costs $5. There's one born every minute, and some some born over 40 years ago. Guess which category I'm in then? I finish my beer and slope off out, suitably embarrassed.

Time, I think, to head out of New Orleans. There are many things here that I've not seen but that is probably the way it ought to be. It certainly makes a great excuse for coming back in the future. A brilliant city, of that there can be no doubt.

US Road Trip Travelog: 9th March 2005 >