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When Living in a Camper Gets Hard, GTFO: New Orleans Edition

Life in a Camper can be pretty stressful sometimes.  Scheduling conflicts, constant breakages, tight quarters...  You get the idea.  So when my sister offered to watch our baby and my Mom made the same offer for watching our other two, you better believe Kate and I jumped at the chance to have a break.

We decided to ditch the camper for a bit and take a weekend vacation in New Orleans.  We booked a hotel last minute, dropped the kids off and hit the road.  No kids, no camper, ready for a good time.

We arrived in town Saturday around noon.  Our hotel wasn't ready yet so we checked our bags and dropped the truck of with the valet (they don't park giant road beasts often so it was kinda funny to see their reaction),  With the essential stuff stowed we set out on foot to explore the french quarter.

Kate and I like to wander.  Rarely do we actually plan out a trip.  So it was pure luck that the first place we stumbled upon was the famous Pat O'Brian's (  Walking in we met a couple dressed in island garb, complete with a coconut bra.  This set the mood for our entire weekend.

We ordered a couple hurricanes and sat at an outside bar talking to locals about places to see and things to do.  A small shower rolled in so we ducked inside the piano bar to wait out the weather.  The place was packed but we were able to get a seat next to the pianos really quickly.  I think we may have had the best spot in the place because we met TONS of fun people all seated around us.  We really didn't want to leave we were having so much fun but the rain stopped and there was more to see.

We wandered a bit and ended up in Jackson Square.  There was a lot to see here, art, statues, the beautiful stained glass of St. Louis Cathedral.  We saw a man doing wood burning with magnifying lenses which was really fascinating.

There were also a lot of homeless people around.  It was really sad to see such a high number of people there living on the streets.  I understand why they are there, temperate climate and lots of tourists to panhandle.  but it was quite shocking to see so many people sleeping on the sidewalk. Most of them were minding their own business, but we did run into a few people who would aggressively ask for money, a few belligerent drunks, a lot of people openly doing drugs. two homeless people laying on the sidewalk making out while spooning their dog and one woman dressed like a deranged clown with a huge bowie knife strapped to her hip.  You know.  Normal stuff.

The next place we visited was Cafe Du Monde (  To say that this place is overrated is a gross understatement.  Sure the beignets were good, but it kind of loses something when you are ass to elbow with hundreds of other people in what essentially is a tent while a toothless guy with neck tattoos barks at you that it will be 9 dollars and pours more coffee on the table than the cup.

Sugared up and ready for some real food we grabbed a bite to eat at The New Orleans Creole Cookery (  It had a nice quiet atmosphere and good food.  This was a much needed change so we could rest and enjoy the local flavors.  I had the jambalaya and Kate had a sampler with crawfish etouffee, gumbo, jambalaya, and red beans and rice.  Everything was delicious.

We had reservations for a ghost tour coming up so when we finished our meals we hoofed it over to the Voodoo lounge all the way on the other side of the french quarter.  We saw a few neat things on our way like The Dungeon, which is a cool dive bar that is tucked away down a creepy ally ( and we also got to smell the wonderful bourbon street, think dumpster fire, weed, and old booze.

Once we made it to the Voodoo lounge, we purchased our tickets for the ghost tour ( and headed into the bar for a few drinks before the tour started.  This is where we met the most interesting character of the night.  Ma.  Ma was a riot.  He/She (I don't know which Ma would prefer) was a cross dresser that had awesome style.  Picture a 1950s dad that liked to wear his wife's pink hat and accessories.  Ma kept talking about how if he had a dog he would name it girl so when it was lost he could go out side and yell "GIIIIIIRRRRRLLLLL!!!!!!"  Every time Ma yelled it the whole bar would roar.  It was kinda awesome.

As night fell the tour started and we yelled our goodbyes to Ma "GIIRLLL!" and started walking the spooky streets of New Orleans.  Our tour guide Justin was very knowledgeable of the history and folklore of the area and took us around to many local haunts.  The tour was fun but a little cheasy and Kate and I spent the evening cracking jokes and blaming everything we saw on vampires and laughing to ourselves.  The tour's finale was a look at the LaLaurie Mansion, former home of the notorious Madame LaLaurie.  If you have seen American Horror Story you will know the house.

After showing us the house of horrors and spooking us we were sent off into the night to make our way back to our hotel. On the way we took a detour down Bourbon Street.  The first thing you notice about Bourbon Street at night is the chaos.  This street assaults your senses like no other in the world.  Bright lights, loud noises, crazy smells.  It is just completely overwhelming.  It is almost too much to take in.  One second, you are looking at the people, next your wife is poking you in the side and pointing out the half naked guy dancing on the bar in a g-string.  After a bit we discovered the New Orleans Musical Legends Park.  It was a nice quiet place to take a break and listen to jazz while we gave our senses and our feet a rest.

Rested up we made our way back to the hotel and had a nightcap at the hotel bar and decompressed for a bit reflecting on our day.  It was wild, and loud, and it was now time for a nice long sleep.

We got up lazily on Sunday and decided to have a different look at New Orleans.  We started the morning with breakfast at Cafe Beignet on Decatur Street. (  The food was good and the atmosphere was really charming.  The wide windows were all open to the street and we sat and ate as little birds swooped in to grab crumbs.  The player piano sang away and made it a truly magical breakfast.  A stark difference to our experience at Cafe du Monde.

Once breakfast was done and our morning coffee and Bloody Mary had been finished (hey it is New Orleans after all), we got a ride on a bike taxi over to Frenchmen Street. This had a completely different feel to the day before.  As we strolled the old street we would stop in each location playing music and listen a while.  We heard jazz, blues, modern alternative rock you name it.

The first place we stopped was probably our favorite.  The Maison ( We were lured in by the sounds of prohibition era jazz and the sight of two people swing dancing.  It was fantastic so we sat a while and enjoyed the show.  Kate tried to order a pimm's cup in a pimp cup a la Archer.  The waitress couldn't help but crack a smile at that one.  We sat and listened a while and finished our drinks then we moved on to the next spot.

Next we went to another place called Vaso (  There was a blues band playing with a really good drummer so we sat and watched a few songs.  The singer wasn't the best so we left fairly quickly to find another place.  That was the amazing thing about Frenchmen Street.  We were able to wander around all day listening to different music.  Chatting about life.  People watching.  It was a wonderful area to explore.

After Vaso, we found a place called the Spotted Cat Music Club ( where we chatted with a couple from Dallas, TX who were very passionate about Jazz music.  We sat and watched a set by an amazing band that genuinely looked like they loved what they were doing.  It was great to see the joy on their faces as they played.

We took a break from the music and had a leisurely stroll around Washington Square and talked about the kids and life and what we are going to do next.  It was quiet and beautiful and just what we needed.

We continued listening to a few more bands at a few more venues but our time was running out and we needed to grab an early diner so we could head home.  We stopped in at Dat Dog ( where the extremely  entertaining bartender suggested we try the duck sausage.  It was the best wiener I have ever put in my mouth. Life changing good.  If you ever go there,  check out the upstairs decorations.  They are sci-fi themed and were done by a local Mardi Gras krew named the Krewe of Chewbacchus.  It was great.

We finished our food and rushed back to the hotel (we were running late).  Kate and I spent most of the drive back in silence.  processing the weekend.  It was fun, exciting, scary, relaxing, overwhelming, delicious and deviant.  It was everything we needed in a break from the RV life for a few days.


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