For some reason I remembered Waffle House being awesome… was this the first time I’d been in one sober?
Decidedly undercaffeinated we pressed east toward the state commonly known as Little Weeziana and the legend that is New Orleans.
As soon as we crossed the border the lush flatlands of Texas gave way to swamp. The first giant puddle we saw was literally stagnating below the “Welcome To Louisiana” sign. By the time we had driven fifty miles in I was convinced we were going to get passed on the right by a fanboat.
Birdie scanned the terrain for something to Instagram and commented; “I’m not sure this place is inhabitable.”
I was inclined to agree, as we had yet to locate a Starbucks within reasonable distance from the highway.
Determined to have an authentic Louisiana experience by lunchtime, I scanned Google for the deep south’s favorite chicken and biscuits- Popeye’s.
Actually I was hoping for a Bo’Jangles, which is a superior purveyor of basically the same thing, but we wouldn’t be in their territory for another few days. It’s like being stuck with Krispy Kreme when all you want is Dunkin’ Donuts.
So we ventured into the bayou, wedged our Cali-registered Mercedes between a Silverado on 33’s and a Taurus that looked like it spent all twenty five years of its existence under water.
Territory remained unfamiliar as we tried to order. The chick behind the counter was speaking some dialect of English I was sure couldn’t exist outside of parody skits about this region, and yet…
Anyway we got the chicken and got the hell out of there, charging into a torrential rainstorm on the way to our final destination.
Birdie’s mum had been exceptionally kind and sent us a first world care package in the form of a couple nights at the Loews Downtown. Our rig would be getting valet parked for the first time since W163 was the current M-Class chassis code.
The place was spectacular- and downright majestic in comparison to the Dallas Motel 6 we had inhabited the night before, where I had tried to microwave Ramen noodles in the ice bucket in an effort to conceal the dead-body odor emanating from under the beds.
We hit the hotel bar before we met up with a bro of mine for just long enough to spot no less than four Tommy Bahama shirts. I was surprised we didn’t see more, considering that there were five dudes in the place.
With that scene exhausted we caught a cab uptown to a place I can’t remember the name of and linked up with Cliff, an old friend from my archaeological field school. He’s a NOLA native who works in cultural resource management in town.
Giving us an expedited rundown of the city he told us that while Bourbon Street and the French Quarter were worth seeing, the city’s life spread far beyond what I’d seen on Girls Gone Wild. From what I could see he was right… but I wasn’t that concerned with seeing how the locals lived. Bring on the beads.