Christmastime in New Orleans

In case you're curious, the first thing you should know about New Orleans is that the French Quarter is full of loveable weirdos. 

Like this guy.

In all my years of spending time in New Orleans, this is the first picture of me in Jackson Square. (I'm not a tourist, psh.) And I had to cut it off because my former favorite shirt makes me look about three months pregnant. 

(At first I said nine months pregnant but Y, in his infinite medical wisdom, assured me I only looked three. This is still disconcerting because I am definitely ZERO months pregnant.)

Here's a tip if you find yourself eating at the famous Commander's: They're going to push your chair in for you. Do not -- I repeat, do not --  put your full weight on the chair. It won't go anywhere. It will be embarrassing for all parties involved. Clearly I'm not used to eating at fine dining establishments.

Tip #2: order the cheese grits. For the love of God, order the cheese grits. 

Two views of Larry Flynt's Hustler Club.

Christmastime in New Orleans = 85 degrees and 85% humidity. It never seems to affect my friends who somehow can wear pants in that weather, but I had to wear as little clothing as possible and I still sweated far more than is appropriate for a lady. Thank goodness the glow of the Roosevelt's Christmas lights made my hair look presentable. 

(Just kidding, I photoshopped my stringy bangs. My blog, my rules.)

Louisiana road trip

There's a highway that takes you from central Louisiana to south Louisiana, a highway that I've driven more times than I can remember. I can tell you which bathroom smells the best. I can clue you in to where the police are hidden just waiting to pull you over. I know which gas stations have Starbucks Frappucino drinks, and which only have Red Bull.  

Usually this highway is a means to an end; just another leg of a long, boring drive. But this time, in our rental car that smelled of stale smoke and a desperate whiff of "new car smell" air freshener, we decided to treat it like a proper road trip.

Which, let's be honest, just means that I took out my camera.

Rule #1 of road trips: you don't choose your road trip music... it chooses you.

These abandoned FEMA trailers have been sitting on the side of the highway for years. 

Good sunglasses are a must. Many thanks to Y's dad for donating these slightly used (read: have been run over by a lawnmower) Ray Ban wayfarers. 

Sugarcane fields as far as the eye can see. 

My road trip partner in crime -- we've driven across the country together twice (and then some) and still kind of like each other.


 My only complaint is that he never lets me stop for roadside fruit.

mardi gras blues

Dear friends from home,

Your countless photos of king cake might seem harmless, but they're making me sad. So even though today is not Fat Tuesday -- just another regular-old-BMI Tuesday -- I present you with an ode to Louisiana (which also happens to be an ode to my new favorite font, Nevis).

southern hospitality; minnesota nice

"You'll miss it down here, " they* said, "the people up north aren't as nice as in the south."

(*They being the same people that felt compelled to remind me that it gets cold up north.)

I disagree. And to prove my point, here's a story:


This is the face of a murderer:

Well, an attempted murderer. Last weekend, Ike half-killed a mouse. He plucked it out of the bushes, carried it across the yard, dropped it, and stared at it. Because I have a terrible habit of personifying my dog can communicate with Ike, I know that he was innocently wondering why isn't it playing with me?

At this point, the mouse was pretty much dead. In fact, I thought it died. So I went to a yoga class, and decided I would deal with it later.

Sidebar - my shavasana was completely ruined. All I could picture was that poor mouse.

When I got back, I ran immediately to where to mouse had died. It was gone! It had lived! It was a miracle!

And then I realized it had managed to crawl a few feet away and dig itself a hole in which, I'm assuming, it could die peacefully. It was pathetically sad. Also, the mouse was still alive, gasping for breath.

I knew I had to put it out of its misery, but I couldn't do it. Luckily, my neighbor was outside.

"Excuse me," I called over my fence, "Ike half-killed a mouse. I don't know what to do."

My neighbor wrinkled her nose. "I hate mice. Bash its head in."

"I can't," I admitted meekly. "I can't do it."

Before I could make sense of what was happening, she was in my backyard with a shovel and the mouse was dead.

I will not hesitate to give this woman a cup of sugar should she need it.

A similar thing happened in Shreveport. A few differences:

1) it was a squirrel,
2) I maintain to this day that Ike found it already half-dead and did not participate in the killing, and
3) our neighbor let Y borrow a gun to finish the job.

My point: Minnesotans are just as nice as Louisianians, but with fewer weapons.

North Louisiana Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras in South Louisiana is different than Mardi Gras in North Louisiana. The differences are subtle - king cakes tastes less like king cake and more like a cinnamon roll, little kids scream over here! instead of throw me something, mister!, no one gets off work on Mardi Gras day, and the parades are a little less impressive. These pictures are from our big day-parade.

It starts with a band. Pretty standard, right? There were a few more, but this was the only marching band that had more than 5 members.

The band was followed by the Spam float, naturally.

"Hey, how can I find you during the parade?"
"Oh, I'll be on the float most likely to offend someone."

Continuing the processed meat and processed "meat" theme, this float threw freshly made hot dogs.

No sarcasm here - I was a fan of this float.  Moonbot Studios is an animation studio based here. I love seeing Moonbot stuff around town because I think they bring some creativity to a city that has such potential for a little more personality. Their animated short "The Fantastic Flying Books of Morris Lessmore" is actually nominated for an Oscar this year.  Check it out here.              

           The aftermath of parades is the same in every part of Louisiana.

Don't get me wrong, it was a fun parade. I was with these guys, and we tend to have a pretty good time together. (And if you're really desperate, we do have drive-through daiquiri stands up here.)

Daniel Tosh has a joke in his stand up:

"Parade or fireworks -- which do you go to? Fireworks! Of course! I don't even have a joke for the moron that yells 'parade!'. Yeah, I would go to a parade. I'm here alone because I make horrible decisions. You don't even know when a parade's finished - you're like, 'oh, is that it?'"

I think Tosh needs to make a trip to Louisiana.  North Louisiana or South Louisiana, I'd pick a parade every time. 

(Oh, and there's a police car at the end. That's how you know.)