Friday, December 26, 2008

Snoop Dogg Does Nawlins'

(NOTE: This story was originally posted February 2008 on my personal website.)

Woodrow and I had to go to New Orleans on business, and we decided to drag Snoop Dogg along. The majority of our time there it was freezing (high temps in the 40's or low 50's), some days with rain and/or 30 mph gusts. So, without a car, you didn't feel like walking around the city too much.

The first night, Snoop and I settled into our room and chilled. At the Quality Inn in New Orleans, they don't leave mints on your pillow; they leave spicy chips on your pillow...

Snoop Chillin'


They didn't have our rooms ready in time, so they upgraded us to suites. Snoop and I had a suite all to ourselves, while the guys had to share rooms... 

My room


I think it was our second night in town when all of us from work headed on foot down to Bourbon Street. We met downstairs in the hotel lobby and headed out. I got a shot of our company president, software programmer, and Woodrow while we waited for Scott to finish a phone call...



Outside the hotel our rooms faced a large building...


I didn't expect such large buildings around here.


We walked the way to Bourbon street, in search of a place to eat. Just down the street is the Ritz Carlton.

Ritz Carlton


Before too long, we hit the infamous Bourbon Street...



Just a little ways down Bourbon, the debauchery began seeping in. Snoop pleaded with us to stop at Hustler, but we refused... 



We stopped near Bourbon and Canal for dinner at the Redfish Grill, and enjoyed a very nice dinner and drinks for everyone!

Redfish Grill

That's all of us there. Snoop is hiding behind my head...

Gang at Redfish


Afterwards, Woodrow, Snoop and I decided to go down Bourbon Street and see what all of the excitement is about. When we separated from our group at the Redfish Grill, our software programmer pointed down the street and said, "Sin is that way. I'm going THIS way." And off they went back to the hotel while Woodrow and I set off to see what this Bourbon Street is all about.

What did we find? That it's not about much. There's all of this fanfare surrounding Bourbon Street that makes it seem almost magical. In actuality it's a dirty, narrow street strewn with every kind of depravity known to man. Even given the things that I have seen and done in my lifetime, I found Bourbon Street one of the most unsettling things I've seen.

Bourbon Street


You can't really make it out here, but there was this beautiful, almost haunting and yet unsuspecting moment as we walked down Bourbon and spotted at the end of this long stretch of street what appeared to be a sillouhette of Jesus with arms outstretched...


It was created by lights shining on a statue in front of a church. It was really beautiful, especially when a horse and carriage then stopped in front of it.

We continued down to the end of Bourbon, and then headed back again...

End of Bourbon

Bourbon activity

Huge Ass Beers


Woodrow and I then headed on back to the hotel. However, we didn't know what we were getting into when we decided to do that. We wound up walking through some pretty bad areas, and even passed what appeared to be two rival gangs (groups of young folk, each group dressed in the same colors, yelling and screaming and shoving one another). Woodrow and I thought we might die. We finally made it back to the hotel, and swore we would never do that again! (Actually, one of our guys said that a relative of one of his in-laws had made a trip to New Orleans the week before us, and had been killed while visiting.) 


Our last day in town, Woodrow and I got off early and headed over to the Aquarium.


Inside aquarium

Shark entrance


We watched the penguin feeding...


This was a cool, HUGE eel as big around as my arm...


We saw a huge aquarium filled with sharks, manna rays and sea turtles...


I even got to pet a stingray and a baby nurse shark. The stingrays were funny little guys. They would come up and lift their bodies out of the water and try to climb up the wall of the display to see you. 


And there was a big albino gator...

Albino gator

One of our favorite displays was the jellyfish displays. They had some really neat ones... 


Jellyfish grouping

Big jellyfish


That evening, after the aquarium, we had a chance for one final walk around the hotel...

City view

I had to get a shot of my "falcon guy", located on a building next to the hotel...

Falcon bldg

Falcon building


Then Woodrow and I walked around trying to find someplace to eat for dinner. The problem was, we were situated in the "business district", and it was Saturday night. Nothing was open. Even places like Subway were closed. They closed up about 7 PM on Friday, and didn't open again until Monday.

We found a restaurant not far from the hotel. We went in and sat at the bar while we decided whether we wished to have dinner there. We asked to see a menu, and this was the kind of place that sold liver pate, duck and pig cheeks. We decided to skip dinner, as we didn't want to run a $100 dinner bill on the company card. When we went to leave, the bartender asked whether Woodrow wanted to take his drink to go. I just couldn't get used to the fact that in New Orleans you can get your liquor in a "to go" cup!

We finally gave up, freezing and tired, and headed back to the hotel. We asked the concierge for some menus for restaurants that delivered, and headed up to decide what to order for dinner. On the way, we ran into the company president who invited us out with him and some of our affiliates. We accepted, and all of us piled into a car and headed out in search of food.

We found ourselves at Mother's, which is apparently a well-known New Orleans restaurant...


Yep, that's Snoop on the table. Mother's was established in the 1930's, and is known for their plate dinners ("plate dinners" seem big in New Orleans).

Afterwards, we piled back into the car (all six of us) and were terrorized by the driving talents of our affiliate Tom (distinguished older gentleman in the pic up top). His driving is insane!

We tried to figure out what to do next. We thought about doing a movie, and headed over to the theater located in a small mall. We found the mall mostly closed down (even though it wasn't very late), and not much of a movie selection. We piled back into the car again, while we tried to figure out what to do. We finally decided to head over to Harrah's Casino. I've never been to a casino before, so this was a new experience for me.

Woodrow and I headed out to the slots. He told me how to use the machine, and I pushed the button, and won $11 on the first try! We continued on for about another hour. I had decided that I would allot $30 to the slots, and after almost an hour I was down to my last couple of dollars. Woodrow had already lost his $30, so I decided to max out on my final bet. I hit the button, and the chimes went off, and I won $37.50! So, I wound up finishing the night up $7.50. Not bad for my first time on the slots! 



So, that was our last "hurrah" at "Harrah's". We flew out the next morning, and came back to our normal lives and I returned to work the next day. It was an interesting time, but we have all agreed that we have no desire to see New Orleans again.

Hmmmm...where next? 

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