time for another installment of "Places You Should Visit While You
Can Still Bend Down to Tie Your Shoes without Making Involuntary Bodily
This summer, my family decided to forgo our traditional swimsuit-rash
beach trip in favor of a long weekend in New Orleans, Louisiana-also
known as The Big Easy, The Crescent City, and the Birthplace of Indigestion.
My wife and I figured that our three teenage daughters were finally
old enough to appreciate the history and culture of an iconic American
city best known for public nudity and unbridled debauchery.
Seriously, though, this was my second visit to New Orleans, the first
of which was a business trip that resulted in a column prompting one
unimpressed New Orleanian reader to describe me as a "poor man's Dave
Barry." Of course, I thanked him for the compliment.
During our six-hour road trip through the bowels of the Bayou State,
our desperation for snacks led us to share a large bag of Wavy Migos
"Bar-B-Quin' with My Honey" Rap Snacks potato chips my middle daughter
purchased from a gas station convenience store in Lecompte, Louisiana.
(I'm now considering the addition of Rap Snacks shares to my stock
When we finally checked in at the charming and historical St. James
Hotel just outside the French Quarter, we all needed to use the historical
bathroom, and when my eldest and most expensive daughter finished
her turn, the historical door handle fell off of the historical bathroom
door, trapping her inside. I eventually got the door open in an act
of fatherly heroism, but only after I made her promise to limit her
souvenir purchases to items that didn't require long-term financing.
We then headed out for our first evening on the town, and, naturally,
we were starving, so we stopped by the famous French Quarter Gumbo
Shop for several scrumptious Creole dishes we couldn't pronounce.
We were also served appetizers of gumbo and desserts of pecan pie
à la mode, which I'm pretty sure is a New Orleans city ordinance.
To prove to ourselves that we were still semi-mobile, we decided to
waddle up to the riverfront across Decatur Street from Jackson Square
where we encountered a street performer singing an anthem of my teenage
years, "Don't Stop Believin'" by the 1980's rock powerhouse Journey.
Although I was thoroughly enjoying the show, my wife and daughters
finally convinced me to leave when the performer offered me a dollar
if I'd stop trying to sing along.
| St. Louis Cathedral
photo, July 2022
| We caught a
magnificent sunset view of Jackson Square and St. Louis Cathedral
from the river, and took turns taking photos with a couple of passersbymy
daughters making sure to position me so that my enormous melon could
be easily cropped out of their Snapchat pics.
Our next adventure involved a harrowing stroll through boisterous
Bourbon Street so that our daughters could see what all of the hubbub
was about and understand what happens when girl children don't follow
their dad's advice about drinking, drugs, dressing modestly and snoozing
in public walkways. I'm ashamed to admit that I was almost tempted
to visit one of the plentiful strip clubs along the fragrant boulevard,
but I thought better of it since they probably wouldn't hire me, anyway.
We topped off the evening with a glucose smack down at legendary Café
Du Monde for some golden fried Beignets buried in a tsunami of powdered
sugar. Since we were still a little hung over from the gumbo and pie,
we shared the beignetsmeaning I basically ate all but one of
Our first night in vibrant New Orleans was only the beginning of a
terrific vacation full of excitement for our family and digestive
systems. Most of all, it gave us a chance to share some fun and laughter
together, especially when I bent down to tie my shoes.