Sunday, April 30, 2006

Permanent tourist

We went back to the French Quarter again today to get dinner at the Louisiana Pizza Kitchen. It was good stuff and we'd both definitely recommend it.

Got a chance to check out Jackson Square along the way. They close the gate around 6pm but we got in just in time.






Jazz fest is still in full swing so most people walking the street are tourists. We try to blend in with the natives but me constantly snapping photos doesn't really help. Some horse drawn carriage guy asked us if we wanted to take a tour and we just walked by. We're not tourists!

The Quarter is definitely the place to go to eat now. There's just nowhere we like in the Warehouse district. This is gonna mean a lot more walking but it's worth it.

On the way home I found some more funny t-shirts.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Saturday statue tour - part two

We had to get in line to take this picture. Statue guy drew a big crowd down on Bourbon Street. He stood perfectly still for what seemed like forever. People took turns mugging for pictures beside him. Definitely the best statute of the day. He made a pretty good profit. People were constantly dropping dollar bills in his bucket.

Another excuse to post pictures

Here's the view of the CBD from the Warehouse district.

Here's the Warehouse from the CBD.

Huh huh, "minor" wisdom. What? Not funny? Says you.


A lighthouse in the middle of the city.

Saturday statue tour

I walked around the Central Business District (the CBD) today and took a few shots.



Friday, April 28, 2006

Jazz fest is very big here

I'm not very cool because I'm not at Jazz Fest right now. It started around noon and some people in my office took half days off. I knew it was popular but I was shocked when I stepped out of my office at 6pm only to find that the place was a ghost town. That has never happened! People here take this thing very seriously.

I guess I really need to check it out next weekend.

The New Orleans diet

I found a scale in the office and stepped on it today. It turns out I have lost a little over 10 pounds in the three weeks I've lived here!

I've had two big changes in my routine. First of all I walk at least 2 miles every day. That is a big jump from zero previously. I walk to work everyday plus I walk home for lunch. That's probably an hour and a half of walking. My feet always hurt when I get home but I make up for it when I think about my belt being too big for me. I don't have any more notches to go up and it's still too loose!

Also, I eat a lot less fast food. I know I've celebrated the fact that we found chain restaurants here in the city but the fact is that we rarely eat there. I used to eat fast food every day at lunch. I've never done that here. The only chain I know of that is reasonably near my office is Subway.

Living in the city rules. I don't want to ever move out to the suburbs.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Wednesday at the Square.

My XM radio died today as I was walking home. I was really bummed until I turned toward sleepy little Lafayette Square and saw what looked like about a million people packing the place out and dancing to some loud music. It's Wednesday at the Square! There were people up front doing what looked like some sort of square dancing. Then further back people were kind of hanging out like they were picnicing at the park. Everybody looked like they were having a ball. I was really impressed with the turnout. WATS is no joke.

I wish I had brought the camera. I guess there's always next Wednesday.


Cowboy Mouth will be there on May 31. I will definitely be leaving work early on that day!

Comment away

Apparently I had comment moderation turned on for some reason. I didn't notice it until I got an email about it. After I approved all the comments I turned it off.

Post away.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

This link pops.

It took me a long time to figure out how to do this so I figured I'd post it for any new bloggers who don't wanna waste all that time.

If you want to make your links open up in a new window add "target=(whatever)

Ex. < a href="http://www.nolaorbust.blogspot.com/" target=1 >Adventures in the Big Easy < /a>

becomes

Adventures in the Big Easy (pop!)


I did that for all my links in the sidebar. The next link is "target=2" and so on. There is a code to make every link pop but they'll just open in one window. This way each link gets it's own page.

Some people don't like this practice. Apparently they like to use their back button for some reasons. I personally like to click a link, check it out, maybe explore links on that page, follow those links etcetera and then go back to the original. New windows make that a lot easier.

The opposition:

THIS LINK POPS

THIS LINK POPS

THIS LINK POPS

I may get rid of all those pops sometime. For now, since this is my first webpage, I like to play around with html. Feel free to post your opinion in the comments.

We've been linked!

Wow. It only took a couple of weeks to get that traffic up. Thanks to Adrastos for linking to us! You gotta check it out. It's definitely the place to go to for NOLA election news coverage. I never get tired of reading about "gorilla Ron."

Welcome to all of our new readers. Hope you will stick around!

Saturday, April 22, 2006

NOLA mayor update

There will be a run-off in the mayor's race between Nagin and Landrieu.

Nagin "won" but he didn't get the 50% he needed to win outright. That's kind of hard to do when you're facing 22 other candidates.

Lots of talk today about Nagin's inability to raise funds post Katrina. He raised something between 100 to 200K this year. Landrieu's numbers were in the millions. That's gonna change real quick. I bet people are shocked that Nagin did so well.

I still say the race is going to be tight. I know one thing - I'm gonna see these two guy's mugs on my TV constantly over the next month.

As far as who wins. Who knows? More voting will probably mean more votes for Nagin. People on TV act like race doesn't matter but it obviously does. Nagin crushed Landrieu in the black vote but the networks are saying the two "shared" 90% of the votes. That's true but Nagin got a MUCH bigger part of that share.

It's all gonna depend on how many people will come back out and vote in the runoff. More votes = move black votes = more Nagin votes. Landrieu supporters better hope for rain.

Une promenade par le Vieux Carre



Today we took a walk around the French Quarter (the Vieux Carre - en francais, or simply the Quarter as the locals call it) . There were a lot of people because there is a French Quarter festival going on. Lots of loud music and lots of tourists.

We checked out the Cafe du Monde first. It was packed! We found a seat and ordered beignets. They were OK. Nothing really to write home about. I'll tell you this, it's a sugar buster nightmare. They are basically pastries caked in sugar. It's really a touristy kind of place. I'm glad we went just to say we were there but I don't know that it's worth a 15 block walk. Also, it's another place that only takes cash. What is up with that around here?


After that we just walked around and checked out the sights. There were a lot of shops and people selling stuff on the street. Bands were everywhere so you could just stop and listen if you wanted. Election day is today so we saw a million campaign signs ruining the view. We saw Arnie Fielkow riding down the street in a bus with his supporters on megaphones telling everyone to vote for him. Arnie is a former Saints executive who's running for Councilman at large. This is one of the two councilman whose district includes the whole city. I don't know how many people there are eligible to vote for the guy but at least he's trying. I'll be glad when this thing is over.

We also got a chance to check out the Mississippi river. It was only about a block from the main street we were on. We sat down and watched a few steamboats go by.

Along the way I noticed that every street has three names. There is the Anglicized name, the French name and a Spanish name. For about a 40 year stretch early in New Orleans' history it was controlled by the Spanish. The French got it back during the Napolean times right before he sold it to America with the Louisiana purchase. The French version of the street is basically "Rue _____".
The Spanish version was "Calle d _____" You saw the Spanish name written in markers placed on buildings. They basically said "This road used to be Calle d ____". Also the spanish used "san" instead of "saint" (i.e. san pedro and saint peter). The street signs have the English name in big letters and the French name in smaller letters above it.

We walked down Bourbon street on the way back. It was interesting to say the least. We walked past about a million strip clubs. Hustler has three on one 6 block stretch. I never knew there were specialty strip clubs but apparently there are. We also walked past a million bars including a few gay bars. I patted myself on the back for recognizing them due to their huge rainbow flags hanging near the front door. Along the way we checked out the novelty shirts on the store fronts. They were pretty crude and therefore very funny. Most referenced either Nagin's chocolate city speech or made derogatory remarks about Hurricane Katrina. We laughed all along the way.

Unfortuantely we didn't walk though Jackson Square. We'll have to go look around when there aren't so many people.

Overall the Quarter is very cool. We'll definately be back.


BTW - I hope that title says "A walk through the French Quarter." If not blame http://babelfish.altavista.com. I changed the translation a little because that's how I roll.

Friday, April 21, 2006

I got Old Hickory's back


On my way to and from work I always walk through Lafayette Square. I don't know why but I really like it. It's surrounded by trees and has a few statues and plaques. One of the more interesting plaques is in French.



One of the statues is of Henry Clay. I don't understand why. It's seems really odd to have that here in a city that celebrates Andrew Jackson so much. Wasn't Clay the guy that cost the hero of the battle of New Orleans the presidency in 1824? The corrupt bargain? I'm no historian but I'm pretty sure Andrew Jackson hated his guts. They say the city put it up to honor Clay for the compromise of 1850, keeping the country out of civil war for another decade. There had to be other reasons. I think his brother lived here in the "Clay House" which is somewhere in the French Quarter. Maybe he had something to do with it. Who knows, maybe I'm the only history nerd who wonders about this.




Also in the square are statues of Benjamin Franklin and some local philanthropist but oddly enough, no statute of the Marquis de Lafayette. All they have is a plaque in front of a tree that says the tree was planted in his honor.

It's a quiet little place whenever I walk by but I learned today that they have music festivals there every Wednesday during this time of year. I haven't seen anything. Maybe I'm walking by at the wrong times.

Surrendering to French culture

You don't have to go far in New Orleans to see a French flag. It's really odd to see them with politics the way they are today. Insulting France today is almost as American as apple pie. They really celebrate French culture here though, for obvious reasons I guess (being founded by the French and all). I think it's great and makes the city really unique. It's just odd to adjust to.

Of course one of the most famous places in New Orleans is the French Quarter.

We ended up driving around the French Quarter today at lunch. BIG difference from the Warehouse district. Lots' of foot traffic. Mostly because there was some kind of festival and a lot of loud music. The buildings are a lot different as well. As soon as you cross Canal Street it's like you are in a different city. We went the wrong way on some small one way while down there so that was fun! Luckily there wasn't any traffic on it. Some festival security guy stopped us to let us know. I guess that's a good thing.

We plan to go to the Cafe du Monde tomorrow. I've got to work for a little while tomorrow though. Hopefully we can fit the cafe and the D-Day trip in during the daylight hours.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

NOLA mayor's race

Lots of talk about the Mayoral election this Saturday. Everyone thinks it's cool that that debate was nationally televised. I don't know how many people watched it though. It was MSNBC after all. I doubt 24 had much to worry about in the ratings.

Here's the cliff notes version of the race that I've learned from talking to folks around town.

There are really only four major players. Nagin, Landrieu, Forman and Couhig. Couhig is a Republican though and NOLA is solidly Democratic.

Nagin, the incumbent, basically had everyone's vote last time. He was a businessman who appealed to both white and black. The city has about something around a 70/30 - black/white ratio. Nagin managed to offend almost all of the white people with his "chocolate city" speech. Basically he told a majority black group that he intended to keep NOLA a "chocolate city" and that he didn't care what the white people Uptown thought about it. Most of the people in my office are white people who live Uptown and they're really upset. The funny thing is that most of them voted for Nagin last time.

Landrieu, the current Lt. Governor is a career politician from a political family. His dad was mayor of NOLA and his sister is a Senator for Louisiana. He seems to appeal to both white and black people which is critical. His dad ended segregation in NOLA so his family has a lot of support in the black community. Most people I talk to will vote for him and think he'll win.

I know one thing, he has a lot of money. His commercials are on 24/7.

Forman is a businessman responsible for the Audobon Zoo and a bunch of other big projects. He used to be a Republican but changed to be a Democrat when he started working with Nagin's administration. He's been friends with Landrieu for a long time. Forman encouraged him to run for mayor instead of governor. When Landrieu did decide to run for mayor Forman stayed in the race anyway and now he's running attack ads against his buddy. I don't know who's voting for Forman. Maybe conservative Democrats who refuse to vote for Nagin. He's kind of like this election's Ralph Nader. He's ruining it for Landrieu.

As far as Couhig he's the Republican's choice. That means he'll lose.

It think it comes down to Nagin and Landrieu. Probably depends on how many displaced voters send in votes. Should be a tight race. I say Landrieu by a hair.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Authentic New Orleans cuisine

Aubie is the best person in the world.

Today she discovered that McDonalds, Burger King and Wendy's are all just a few blocks from our place on St. Charles Avenue. We never go that way because frankly the traffic is a nightmare. I don't think we'll be going there all the time but it's good to know that if we just want to walk somewhere to get a burger we don't have to stop at a bar.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Something to fall back on

The job market down here is awesome for service sector jobs. Everywhere you look there are signs offering at least $10 an hour for restaurants and stores. I saw a Starbucks that was offering full benefits for working 20 hours a week. I just wish there were enough people to take advantage of it.

Lots of places close around 7pm here. This is very difficult to adjust to. Some stores haven't even reopened yet because they don't have enough workers to justify opening the doors. Some big chain stores are open but only a portion of the building is available. The news coverage of Katrina has died down nationally but rest assured that the people here are still living with the consequences of it. I know it's inconsequential in comparison to the tragedy that took place immediately afterwards but it's just really odd to have places you expect to be open 24/7 close down.

I don't think I've gone a day without someone mentioning the storm to me. It's the number one topic of conversation for obvious reasons. I feel really awkward since I wasn't here before then. They always try to compare it to Ivan but you really can't. The main problem here was water not wind. Everyone talks about how devestating the flooding was. It's not surprising then that local news is wall to wall Katrina aftermath coverage even seven months later.

I don't know if things will ever be back to normal here but I hope for an uneventful hurricane season this year so things will get as close to that as possible.

Anyway, the original point of this post is that I have a new appreciation for the folks who work at the restaurants and shops. If my boss decides I'm not needed anymore I may try my hand at making frappuccino's.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

One week down

One worry that we had about living in the city was safety at night. There's been a lot of talk in the news about rising crime. One week in and I feel like we are OK. I've seen a couple of homeless guys but only during the day. We walked home tonight and it was really cool. There are lights everywhere and a bar at almost every corner. From Poydas to the river is a good spot.

One thing I've notice is that there aren't a lot of people walking around. Maybe everyone is moving back into other parts of the city first. I know that housing prices in this area are inflated. Another thing is that we live near most of the hotels and I imagine there's not a lot of tourism these days. Jazz fest is coming up at the end of the month and that's supposed to be a big deal here. Maybe that will change things a little.

It's only been a little while but the warehouse district seems like a great spot. It's exciting to be a part of the new New Orleans.

Kenny Rogers is alright with me

Finally we left the house!

We left with the intentions of taking pictures of the city but it got dark fast and our pictures look like garbage. As we walked we ran into Harrah's casino. We decided to check it out.

It was my first time in a casino. The place was huge and it had wall to wall video poker machines. We walked around and looked at them and watched people play. Finally we decided to throw down $2o and test our luck.

I looked longingly at the blackjack tables but couldn't justify throwing down the minimum 15 dollars it took to sit down. It was on to the slots.

First thing. No matter what type of slot you play you have to throw down $5. It doesn't matter if you are playing penny slots, you just get a bunch of turns. I watched Aubie play unsuccessfully for a while before I tried it myself. I played some game which I probably will never understand. Anyway it was a nickel slot and somehow I ended up winning $14 on my first try! I played a few more times and didn't win $14 again so I cashed out and moved on.

Eventually I moved on to a penny slot with Kenny Rogers on the front. I put my $5 in and COULD NOT give it to the casino. I kept winning. I never made more than $6 but I never had fewer than $4. You can spend the entire night at that thing. It was pretty fun. I cashed out with $5.02. Take that Harrahs!

Aubie lent me 10 dollars when I walked into the place and somehow I walked away with around 20. I don't think I lost more than 1 dollar total the whole night. I had an old professor who insisted that the house always wins. I guess he never met me! OK, he did but he was wrong.

The bartender got a some of my winnings though. Plus I tipped a lot because that's how I roll.

When you talk to people they tell you that you get free drinks. What they might not tell you is that those drinks are horrible. I decided to go and get a real drink from the bar. The guy up there is quite a story.

He seemed to think he was Tom Cruise in Cocktail. He flipped vodka bottles and popped beer tops so that they would fly into the air. I wasn't that impressed but felt like I had to act like I was because the poor guy was trying so hard. Plus he was really confident. I guess that's how you pull it off. He also had dumb jokes like asking me if I had another credit card. I said no and he said good, I wouldn't need one. The guys at the bar yukked it up. We all had a good forced laugh. Good times.



All in all it was a fun experience but I don't think I have to worry about any gambler's anonymous meeting anytime soon.

No news is good news

No posts lately because we've finally settled into a routine of eating at home and watching TV all the time. Good times!

Yesterday I got a chance to see Metarie, a NOLA suburb, for the first time. The traffic was a nightmare and it took way too long to get there. I don't know how we made it all the way there and back without a traffic accident. NOLA drivers are aggressive to say the least. We had dinner at some place called O'Henry's (sort of like Logan's Roadhouse if you know what that it). We saw a guy with a Bama hat sitting at the ... wait for it ..... BAR! The streak lives! Side note: this is the second Bama hat we've seen this week and no LSU or Aubie hats.

The purpose of our trip was to go to Walmart. Unfortunately the Walmart we went to was a regular Walmart and not a Super Walmart. I can't believe that there are still regular Walmarts. They are pretty much worthless. I need socks and a gallon of milk in the same store. If you can't do that then you are dead to me. That might be the last time we go to Metarie. The same stuff is in Harvey and Gretna which are like 5 minutes away.

We tell ourselves we're going to the Riverwalk tomorrow. Got to get to the D-day museume too. Don't know if it's open on Sunday. We'll see.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Feet don't fail me now

Aubie and I aren't very active people so it's not surprising that we are really tired from all the walking you have to do in the city. We are just pitiful. All we do is complain about our feet. We have to keep reminding ourselves to suck it up.

She met me for lunch today and we went to the tallest building in the city - One Shell Square. It's on Poydras street. There's a buffet place somewhere on the first floor. Wish I could remember what that place is. It's good stuff. They had chinese on one row and ribs and sides on the other. The perfect place for us! I hate chinese and she loves it. Now we can have the best of both worlds.


Also in the city, there is an election going on and I'd like to meet the person here who doesn't know about it. Every single commercial on TV is a political ad and there are 1 million candidates. Everything from Mayor to city council to sheriff. I'm just waiting for the commercial for dogcatcher.


Elsewhere on the tube, the weather guys on the news constantly talk about how wonderful the weather is and I'd like to slap them. It's really hot. I miss winter!!! I guess I'm really lucky that it's not raining.


As for the sights, I hear a lot about the French Quarter and we've never been near it. There are a bunch of places we haven't seen so I guess we can just add that to the list. Luckily we've got a long time to go explore. I really like living in the city. It's kind of like being on vacation except for all the time we have to waste at work.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Bill W. is spinning in his grave

If you ever find yourself wondering what the fine folks in the city of New Orleans are doing at any given moment, the odds are pretty good they are getting drunk.

Every restaurant we've seen so far has had a bar and every stool on those bars have been taken.

Today we went to the Ugly Dog Saloon (http://www.uglydogsaloon.net/). The place pretty much lives up to it's name. Here we are getting a burger surrounded by a bunch of drunks. I've got to tell you that it's a really odd experience to sqeeze yourself up to the bar and ask for a coke refill! We aren't very cool.
I like the layout though. There are a bunch of tables and there wasn't any loud music. There were some tv's at the bar showing sports. Hornets and Braves. Braves were winning. I hope they don't blow it now that we're home.


I noticed that we live near the D-Day museum. I've got to check that out some day. I bet it's cool. Another destination is the Riverwalk. It's only two or three blocks. That might be something to do this weekend. That or TV. We'll see.

Everyone at work said we were really lucky to get an apartment in the spot we did. It's really tough to get a place to stay around town these days.



BTW - The walk to work wasn't that bad. Only 15 minutes. I might actually get into shape living here.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Figures

After I post that the Giants come back and win in the bottom of the ninth. We jinxed the boys......

The most important thing...

The most important thing in any city is of course TV. More importantly, can I watch the Atlanta Braves every night? The answer in New Orleans is no. I saw a game on fox sports the other day only to learn that it was the Texas Rangers (we get fox sports southwest not south). Then I go to UPN and another game only it's the Astros. What? Two teams that I wouldn't mind seeing contracted are on all the time over here.

Luckily there is still TBS. I can mute Chip Carey and enjoy the mighty Bravos.

A sign perhaps today. The Braves were getting their hats handed to them and I told Aubie I was ready to go on our walk. We get back from Lucy's and they are winning!

This can only mean one thing. We will be spending all of October at Lucy's.

Sunday

Today we went on a test "walk" of our daily one-way commute. It wasn't so bad ...about a 16 minute walk to Bama's office (10 blocks), a little less for mine (7 blocks).
On the way back, we picked up supper at Lucy's Retired Surfer's Bar and Restaurant. http://www.lucysretiredsurfers.com/ It had a welcoming atmosphere, so we might make it a weekly treat.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Home Sweet Home

We're finally here!

We were scared that there would be rain but there was only a little for the first 10 minutes of the drive. It was sunny the rest of the way.


The apartment seems bigger then we orginally thought. Maybe that has something to do with the higher ceilings. We set everything up pretty quickly. Aubie set up the wireless internet in a flash.

First trip after we finished unpacking was to go eat. We stopped at Mother's. It was convenient to get to, right on Poydras. The walls are covered with newspapers articles about Mother's and autographed photos from celebrities. You get in line and give your order to a guy behind the counter. Then they call your name when it's ready. We all had PoBoys. The sandwiches were really good but the bread pudding (which is supposed to be a big deal there) was overrated. I didn't finish mine and I don't do that often!

Overall a good choice.

On the drive home I'm convinced that I saw former wrestler Bill Goldberg at an intersection. He was the spitting image and he had a photographer walking with him.


We got a digital camera today so pictures should be coming soon.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

T minus 2 days

Everything's set up. We've got our apartment and we're ready to go to work. Can't wait for Saturday.