We left Florida just in time as tropical storm Debbie sat brooding on the other side of the horizon. Throughout the drive we endured more temperamental southern weather as we marched on towards New Orleans, at times having to slow down below 35 miles an hour due to hydroplaning and poor visibility. We drove through the southern appendages of Mobile, Alabama and Pascagoula, Mississippi all the while making mental notes of the best places to unload that lemonade we had picked up in Tennessee.
At this point our cash was dwindling fast, and so was our dignity. We were beginning to allow certain shady characters into our lives… characters such as Ronald McDonald, the Hamburgler, and worst of all… the Grimace. I say dignity not because we are above fast food, lord knows I love me a nacho cheese chalupa, but I say dignity because at one point we were actually drawn into a gas station that advertised free chicken nuggets with every fill, and fill we did.
As we drove towards Louisiana, our concerns were growing over our funds, our ability to sell lemonade, and about where we were going to sleep in New Orleans. We hadn’t had much time to do proper recon on New Orleans, so we decided our best course of action was to find the nearest Public Library so that we could get a better idea of where to crash etc…
Our first night in New Orleans we did what any rational human beings would do, we set ourselves a limit on how much we would spend on hand-grenades and hurricanes, and we exceeded it with our first stop. At this point, we felt a little disappointed, we debated whether to go back to the car and crash out, or get more money… but there is something about the lights, the sounds and the sights of the French Quarter. We picked up more cash and walked back to a bar that we had noted on our way back to the car.
It was the COOLEST bar I have ever seen in my life. Pat O’Brian’s is one of the birthplaces of hurricane. You walk in, there is no cover charge, there are rooms on either side, to the left is a classy lounge area with dark hardwood ceilings, floor and countertop, to the right is an old timey piano bar. If you walk straight back, you’ll find yourself on the back porch with a lit up fountain, tables and waiters and waitresses making rounds to refresh your drink and keep your spirits high.
We each got our hurricanes from the back porch and made our way over to stand in line for the piano bar. As you wait in line there are posters of old school jazz scene hipsters with slicked back hair wearing casual suits with women sitting on their laps. Nothing like a poster to remind you of how little style you actually have.
Upon entering the piano bar you are blown back by the raucous bacchanalia bursting through the other side of a thick, nearly sound proof wall. People at every table are singing their hearts out as the classy man in tan casual wear tickles the ivories on a big copper piano on the stage up front. The room is entirely overwhelming. Two big pianos stand up front facing each other blasting off covers of Elton John, the Spin Doctors and Gnarls Barkley. Hats are flying, drinks are spilling, and people are shouting their best pickup lines over the cacophony of laughter and music.
It was three to a table so we made a friend at the bar and found a table. The whole night we wrote down song requests on beer soaked napkins and stuffed dollar bills in between the folds and sent them up to the front. We offered to buy our new friend a drink, he ended up buying us more hurricanes than we could handle.
Inevitably we left the bar with our last two hurricanes in hand and stumbled back to the van, lord knows how we found the car that night. At some point we decided we were hungry and so we dug the stove out of the car and got some water boiling. We both fell asleep sitting up in the van until a lady walked by later that night and woke us up and reminded us that our water was still boiling.
A hurricane is an aptly named drink. Over the course of the night we ended up spilling one and leaving a sticky red splotch on the passenger seat.
We pulled ourselves together and went to a café where we decided enough was enough and it was time to elevate our standard of living. We set up a couch surfer account and were fortunate enough to find someone to put us up in New Orleans that night provided we would cook for her.
Sensing the opportunity I attempted to edit more footage as Emily got caught up on more blog posting. Long story short, I still have a lot to learn about adobe premier, it’s a bit more technical than iMovie.
The next day was the moment of truth, would selling lemonade in New Orleans prove successful enough to enable us to climb in Colorado. After a long debacle finding parking and dragging our stuff all the way down to the French market we got set up. It was not long before we were shut down by security. However we were very friendly with him and in kind he was very nice to us. He put us in contact with the director of the French market who referred to us as Mr. and Mrs. Lemonade.
“Now I’m not going to tell you how to get around the law,” he said. But the director offered us all kinds of ideas for how: A. we could do this legitimately through the farmers market, and B. We could also just go right “over there” on the other side of the “Welcome to the French Market” sign which was out of his jurisdiction and where the city of New Orleans policy wouldn’t bother us anyways.
Unfortunately, people in New Orleans are far too accustomed to looking the other way at panhandlers and our business was nowhere near as successful as it was in Charleston… damn.
Eventually we gave it up and decided that at least the small amount of money we did make was enough to buy us dinner and pay for parking.
We ate some of the most amazing food we have ever had in our lives. Shrimp Po’Boy’s, red beans and rice (nawlins style), jambalaya, beignets and crawfish ettoufe.
After failing at the lemonade business, we decided the next day to just be average tourists.
It was a nice change of pace and a lot less stressful letting go of the idea of selling lemonade. We wouldn’t get to climb in Colorado, so be it. At least we had enjoyed the heck out of Joe’s Valley and Bishop, and now we had a timeline for the rest of our trip. We would spend the next couple days seeing New Orleans and eating beignets and then we would be off, headed back home once again.