There are many times when my husband surprises me with adventures. Almost 99% of the time I am not thrilled about them. He pushes me way out of my comfort zone. Remember my honeymoon in Mexico? Well, a few months ago he surprised me yet again. This time it was a tour of New Orleans, The Big Easy, NOLA, N’awlins (okay, I know you get it). The catch was that the tour would be on a Segway. I was scared to death, y’all. I mean, I just couldn’t fathom how this thing on two wheels could possibly transport anyone as clumsy as me. And I couldn’t wrap my head around how someone with no balance could stay put on one. I went a bit reluctantly — cause I love and adore my man and all.
When we got there we met a couple of other folks who were also taking the tour: two moms from New York (they have funny accents) and a mother and daughter from Seattle, Washington. The tour guide was a bit surprised that we were locals. Apparently not many Louisianans tour their own cities. That is a sin and a shame.
One of the Noo Yawk (that is how the said it) moms took our photo before we got on the Segways. Just in case we wrecked it and ended up on the 10 o’clock news or something. Then the Noo Yawk moms took their turn practicing on this crazy piece of transportation. It was painful to watch. After Ryan calmed me down the tour guide began training us.
I made Ryan go first because if anyone was going to be maimed it might as well be him, right? It was his idea after all. Needless to say he lived and all limbs were in tact. Then they made me do it. *sigh*
I got on the thing. I wobbled a bit. I had to figure out how to maneuver it. I tried it. I realized that it is actually pretty easy to navigate and it was fun! I didn’t fall off even once and I promise you that I am not a graceful girl: think bull (as pretty and feminine as a bull can get) in a china shop.
After everyone completed their training and were comfortable with going forward (took all of 20 minutes) then we were ready for our two hour tour of the city. My oh my did we ever see some sites. Have you ever seen a house quite this colorful before?
That is one of many. Talk about a painted lady. Can you say madame? You really never know what you will find in New Orleans. We even saw cars painted to match the homes they belonged to. I’m.so.not.kidding.
Many homes are elaborately decorated too. Mardi Gras, anyone?
The Cornstalk Hotel was once home to Dr. Joseph Secondo Biamenti. We will just say that there is plenty of history, legend, mystery, and myth surrounding this one. They say it could be haunted but I won’t spoil the surprise for you but it is definitely worth visiting.
Now I can’t imagine how this naked balcony works. What if you flip a burger a little too far to the right? The neighbor’s dog would be eating well that’s for sure. And how do you sit up there and have a conversation knowing that a strong breeze could bowl you over at any moment? Goodness gracious.
This place has a bit of personal significance for me. I will get to that in a bit but first I’ll let you in on its history. This is the Lafitte Brothers’ Blacksmith Shop. You will find it on the corner of Bourbon Street and St. Phillip Street. It was built sometime before 1772 and this place is one of the few remaining original “French architecture” structures in the French Quarter (most architecture in New Orleans is Spanish). According to local legend, Jean and Pierre Lafitte operated this blacksmith shop to give the appearance of a legitimate business. It is said that their real “business” was pirating the wealthy and then selling those stolen goods to the common folk of New Orleans. Jean gets credit for being the mysterious and heroic one while Pierre was the public face of the Lafitte operation and was well known for his wit and charm. It was his job to handle the sale of their pirated goods. Rumor has it that their treasure is buried in everyone’s backyard. While there are numerous tales about the life of Jean Lafitte very little has been substantiated. It is almost as if he doesn’t exist except…
…except that he turns up in my family tree. Okay Jean doesn’t. Pierre does. He is like my great, great, great and on and on grandpa or something. I have no buried treasure but I also can’t figure out the history of these brothers. All I know is that I have found him in my Cajun French family tree and that is from several sources. I’ll have to tell you the full story of these French pirates one day soon. Some people’s ancestors, huh?
Here she is in all her beauty: The Natchez. She has never been beaten in any race. She is strong and proud just like her native creole sisters. She is the treasured jewel of the Mississippi River. Many of her crew have been with her since her maiden voyage. Men love a New Orleans lady.
The bottom line is that New Orleans is more than a place to visit. It is an experience to cherish. Here we are on Esplanade Street. It brings back memories of a song I’ve grown up listening to…
New Orleans Ladies
A sassy style that will drive you crazy
And they hold you like the light
Hugs the wick when this candle’s burning.
Them Creole babies
Thin and brown and downright lazy
And they roll just like the river
A little wave will last forever
All the way
From Bourbon Street to Esplanade
They sashay by… They sashay by…
You can listen here:
Next time you are in or near New Orleans you should definitely take the Segway tour. Or if you just need a break away then plan to come to New Orleans and try it. I might even meet ya! It was so much fun and I was able to soak up so much of New Orleans’ rich history. I mean it, after a while Ryan was eating my dust. I had a blast. I’m so glad we did it. Thanks, my love. You were right once again.