I’ve heard many great things about New Orleans, and have wanted to go for some time, so when my friend Kelly mentioned a couple weeks back at a party that he was going there for Jazz Fest, the want was written on my face. He soon asked if I’d want to join him and some others for a trip to “Noleans” to which I quickly said yes. The following day I scored a round-trip for $11.80 and some points with Southwest and was soon making it to this wild city which I truly enjoyed.
I enjoy flying Southwest most of the time. The only hicup I have is the number of legs it takes to get places sometimes. My flights were really inexpensive, so I can’t really complain, but each way to/from New Orleans I flew three legs. PDX->Oakland->San Diego->MSY (New Orleans) there and then MSY->Dallas->Kansas City->PDX on the way back. Southwest sometimes does this deal where they say that this would only be a single stop, as they only count a stop as one where you have to switch planes. My stops in Oakland and my stop in Dallas were in the same plane so they don’t count it as a separate leg. So lame. Just extends each flight by an hour, but still annoying.
Overall though, the flights were great. No long delays even though the weather was pretty terrible, and even arrived early to PDX on the way back. I mostly slept on my way there and back as the flight there I got up at 5:30am to start packing, and my flight home I was UP until 5:30am before getting all my stuff together around 9am and flying out at 12. Almost 16 hours of flying, 10 hours of sleep, and two epic days/nights of the jazz fest and evening shows. So worth the rush of flights, and lack of sleep!
Each night lasted until 5:30am or so since New Orleans never seems to close. Scheduled shows starting at 2am in most venues. That’s crazy to think coming from a city where people are getting kicked out around that same time. Friday we didn’t get going until 7pm or so and Saturday we hit Jazz Fest around 3pm and the music carried through the night.
First Night in New Orleans
The first night we ended up eating some food in the French Quarter and seeing an epic show at The Howlin’ Wolf for checking out Rebirth Brass Band and Dumpstaphunk. This was the first actual venue we had scheduled to check out and it didn’t disappoint. The highlight for me was checking out Gravity A in their side stage The Den. These guys hit the stage around 2:30am and killed it. Love their sound and had a great time dancing with a bunch of others. Such a killer place. We left The Howlin’ Wolf around 5am and made our way back to the house we were staying in before crashing around 5:30/6.
Beignets At Cafe Du Monde
The next morning, I got up around 10:30ish and attempted to go for a run. The humidity however was much stronger than I was expecting and I made it a mile before running back covered in sweat. Sure wasn’t expecting that. Probably for the best as I wasn’t in NOLA (New Orleans, Louisiana) for working out. I cleaned up and Kelly, the one who got me on this trip, walked with me from our place to the French Quarter for beignets at Cafe Du Monde. The weather wasn’t looking good as a thunderstorm was coming in, and it really started dumping once we got to the French Quarter covered market. We made our way through looking at a few things here and there before arriving at this tasty place. We sat down, ordered coffee and our beignets, and sat listening to the rain and enjoying the comfort of doing nothing. Kelly and I soon after left, and made our way back to the house before heading out to Jazz Fest!
Enjoying the Toons At Jazz Fest
The walk back was still rainy, but only light rain at this point. We arrived Jazz Fest seeing the swarms of people and attempted to meet up with the rest of the people we were with, but it never happened. Just too much to see and so many people to move through. The ground was covered in mud at this point so I took off my flip flops and enjoyed the mud seeping through my toes while Kelly and I made our way around checking out all the different stages. There were some major performers there like this band a couple people have heard of, The Who. Yeah, I don’t know em either. 🙂
The rest of the fest was great and I got to listen to some excellent music all over the place. Different styles of jazz everywhere and I couldn’t have asked for more. Perhaps more time as the fest ended at 7pm. Just not enough time.
Saturday Night Funk
The final night of the trip was superb. We left Jazz Fest and made our way through the streets back to our place. The streets were filled with brass band music coming from every direction. So many corners of people playing excellent music that the trip to our house took probably twice to three times as long as it would have. Once we got back to the house we cleaned up, had some beverages on the porch, and went out for music and food back in the FQ. We got stamped at a place called d.b.a. (that’s the name) and Kelly and I went to this sausage shop and had some excellent grub. Once we were filled up, we want on back, and spent a few hours listening to some good tunes and walking the streets before heading in a cab to Tipitina’s for a show at 2am. While waiting in line to get my ticket figured out at will call, my phone fell, cracked my screen, and the guy I was talking to about the tickets, took pity on my and just said “that sucks…here’s your ticket…enjoy the show.” At least it still works for now and I’m planning to upgrade soon!
The final show I caught was Robert Randolph & the Family Band. These guys were excellent. The main guy, I’m guessing Robert Randolph, played a slide guitar with a broken arm. Pretty cool to watch him make some great music. The dancing was fun and we didn’t head out until around 5ish.
Thanks NOLA, I’m Out!
After a long cab ride home, I went inside, and quickly passed out. The next morning, I got up around 10ish, cleaned up, packed up, and took a cab to the airport before heading back to Portland. I slept most of the way back and drank a ton of water as I was still pretty groggy from the night before.
The trip ended getting picked up by my awesome roommates.
It’ll be quite a trip to remember and glad I can share it with you all.
Some other photos on the trip: