Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Bourbon Street

Bucket List -- Bourbon Street check! Granted the last time we were in New Orleans we came early before getting on a cruise and did visit Bourbon Street then. But that was the year after Hurricane Katrina and some of the bars and restaurants had not been reopened yet. This time everything was open and there were people everywhere. If it was this busy in September I can just imagine how crazy it is during Mardi Gras! If I were 20 years younger I would definitely want to experience it during Mardi Gras but now? I am ok with just seeing it when it is relatively "calm"!

We actually took the New Orleans city bus from our campground to Canal Street and then took the streetcar down to Bourbon Street. You pay $1.50 per person and can get a transfer that is good for the next 2 hours and transfers to the streetcars. While we were waiting for the bus at the bus stop two neighborhood people came and waited with us. The guy told us to be careful on Bourbon Street if someone says that they bet you they know where you got your shoes. He told us to just ignore them which is hard for me as I have even talked to the pimps on the Strip in Vegas - with Bill continuing to walk away at a very fast pace (Hey, I've got to practice my Spanish somewhere!).  Anyway, he says that if you answer them at all they will say, "You got them on your feet!" and expect you to pay the bet. It can get a little nasty if you don't pay up! Of course this guy had somewhat of a shoe fetish because when we were talking about jobs and unemployment all he kept saying was how much his shoes had cost.

Then came the bus. It was an interesting ride to say the least as the bus was standing room only because they run less buses on weekends. We were standing near the front when a very, very large African American lady decided to get into it with an African American guy who had just gotten on. She was a bit loud and riled to say the least. The guy next to me said "You're not from around here are you?" Ummm...no. He then said that if that had been two guys getting into it the best thing would have been to get off the bus right then and there. He said that you never know what will happen then and it might be knives or guns that would be pulled out. He said very clearly, "This is N'awlins baby!" Yes, it sure is.

I was thinking about adding some music to this video but I thought it would be better to present you with the real sights and sounds of Bourbon Street on a Saturday night.

Just a heads up when you are using your credit card anywhere of course, but especially somewhere such as Bourbon Street. We had the credit card numbers lifted from one of the locations that we visited where we used a credit card to purchase adult beverages. Yes, we could have avoided this by using cash but cash can be stolen and then you have no recourse. This is the 4th time since leaving home that we have had one of our credit card numbers stolen and each time the bank has voided the transactions and we were not liable for any fraudulent charges. The most you could possibly be liable for is $50 and we have never run into that scenario.  The same protections are not available when you use your debit card either so in my opinion, using a credit card is the best protection you can have in a Bourbon Street type situation. We believe it happened at a bar called Huge Ass Beers as their charges never did post to our card and we believe it was because Capital One knew that is where it happened and they void all transactions originating at that location so that the merchant employs better card security. Capital One hinted as much to me on the phone but was not able to give me all of the details due to "security reasons".

The other thing I was a bit disappointed in is that the last time we had visited Bourbon Street there were at least three or four bars that had Cajun or Zydeco bands playing live music. This visit there was only one bar that we found that had a Zydeco band. The rest were playing classic rock or hip hop. Not that I have a problem with classic rock and some hip hop, it is just that it is sad that the traditional music of a location seems to be disappearing in favor of mainstream culture and music. And of course, I luva de Zydeco! I decided that I wanted to stay at the bar that was playing Zydeco for most of the night and Bill was nice enough to stay there too -- not that he could have gotten me to leave! I even had the opportunity to go in front and play the washboard with the band! I woke up the next morning with my smile muscles hurting as I don't believe I've smiled so much in a really long time! Next time we are in the area we will probably bypass Bourbon Street and look for a smaller, local bar that has live Cajun or Zydeco bands playing. STILL on my bucket list - learning to play the Celtic and Cajun fiddle!!

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