Monday, May 3, 2010

New Orleans Rent-al

At fifteen, I couldn't wait to shake the parental units. Fast-forward ten years and I can't wait to hang with them. Who knew they were so cool? (k - well I did - but I would never have said while they were within earshot.) So when Dad and Kim bit the bullet and moved down south, cutting my flight time for a visit in half (it was for me after all - not Dad's work assignment- chuh) - I kicked my self into high gear and managed to finagle a weekend of hang time in. What's not to love -down time with the big kids, not to mention - being the only child for the weekend. Plus, I was able to line it up with Jazz Fest - what has been defined by the locals as the authentic New Orleans holiday (as opposed to the imported Mayhem of Mardi Gras).

I hadn't been to the whoodat nation since aforementioned shit show. So the plan was: fly in, burn through my magazine stock on the flight (2 months behind), hang with the parents, get fat, do some jazz fest, and roll out. The real success of the weekend was I made my flights - both of them - shocker.

I rolled in alright - completely exhausted from the week. All I wanted to do Friday night was pjs and sleep. But Dad and Kim were so flipping adorable. I was expecting to the obligatory rolling curbside pick up. But as I come down the gang plank - there are these two little faces peeking out from the Useless TSA Forbidden items/threat level placard. Damn near scared the crap out of me. Loved it.

I was so hungry that Dad vetoed Mother's (a highly recommended diner) and opted for a local dive in Bucktown called Deanie's. EVERYTHING on the menu was deep fried. So I thought I'd combat that with a salad and share some shrimp off Kim's plate. Only their small servings could feed three. Shamelessly I waddled out. Mission accomplished.

The next morning - Kim and I got up early to get our walk on to hopefully clear some room for the rest of our gastro-weekend. I think we may have spent more calories gabbing than striding.  They're neighborhood has three lakes - and I kid you not - Kim knows every web footed resident. Bonus Mom gets bonus points for trying to pawn me off on the single neighbors, quaking and otherwise.

The plan was to hit the jazz fest - but I had been whining about my quickly depreciating caffeine levels - I was demanding a Starbuckios sippie cup. So to shut me up - Dad pulled over. Only my green headed maiden was not the Seattle goddess - she was a Frenchie caked in powdered sugar called Cafe du Monde. I'd been to the sticky dive in the French Quarter last year - but who knew the powdered sugar, cash-only palace was a franchise! I split the beignet and splurged on my big cup o' joe.

Not only did they look at me like I was crazy - the clerk openly judges, "You gonna drink all that?" Before I could fire a witty zinger back - Dad jumps in with a, "hell yeah - she's from DC." To which the line (clearly eavesdropping) understandingly nods in unison. Once again the caffeinated cheese stands alone.

Wholly unprepared for the our next stop, we make our way to the Jazz Fest. Couple of notes for next time - not media, flip flop, definitely not conservative Palin-loving-parent-friendly and if you didn't pack your umbrella/camp chair/ or rain boots - not Jen friendly. It's a great deal - $60 for a full day of awesome performances but when Dad offered to drop me off rather than buy into activity, I started making plans to go next year with my sissie and our matching Koozies instead.

Instead we headed back to the French Quarter. Dad insisted on taking me to see Marie Laveau's tomb. I'm thinking dead people over covers of the Grateful dead? Really? But I have to say - the man did his research. He's zipping between tombs (totally creepy btw - there are over 600,000 people burried in this graveyard the size of a city block) firing off facts like an ipad loaded to a Wikipedia page. Thirty minutes later we finally get to Marie Laveau's - the voodoo queen's, tomb. I could go through all the info but here's the important part - everyone comes here to make a wish on her tomb. And there are quite a few "thank yous" on there too. Say what you will about throwing salt over you shoulder - but this diva's got something going on when people are coming back to say thanks. So here Kim and I are marking x's and spinning around like fools. If you told us to hop on one foot and say the alphabet backwards I bet we would have done that too. Not the highest point in my wishmaking career.

Then we hit Canal Street for a little shopping and more food! Don't judge - I said FAT! So we split a muffaletta at Central grocery and a pellegrino. Then swung by the tourist trap - Jimmy Buffet's for a Mojito. I've had better - but Daphne the bartender was HILARIOUS. If your in town say hi for me!

On the way back - it occurred to me where I get my frugality - Dad insisted we play in Harrah's casino for 30 minutes so we could get free parking. BRILLIANT! They even won $30 between the two of them. I lost $10 but earned it back in cocktails. Should have brought my own sippy cup - shake shake. Just sayin. had these big plans to cap the night with a movie and ice cream but Kim and I fell asleep as soon as our purses hit the couch - let alone our bums. I'd like to blame it on couch commando and his NHRA but we were whooped.

Day two they tried so hard to keep me entertained. I have to be honest we could have driven in circles and I would have been completely happy.

They drove me through the Garden District and like a good real estate agent - told me how perfect I would fit into these multimillion dollar estates. "Look Jen - there's even a Land Rover. You could move down here and work for the news media (guess who else listens to talk radio) and cover the corruption. That's a hot story." Thanks Dad I've still got my work cut out inside the beltway. The sad part is - I think he was serious.

As the tornado watch burned we had breakfast at the original O' Henry's and toured the neighborhood.

Then it was time to catch the ugly flight - N.O. to Chi-town and red eye into BWI. Stupid Jen...Stupid Stupid Stupid. What part of red-eye did I miss? I had just enough time to drop my suitcase - change into work clothes and head into the District for work.

Apparently Pres. Obama had the same idea I did, because on the way to the airport, Air Force One was taking off right over our heads. He was in town for the oil spills. And while Dad and Kim were dumbfounded - I'm thinking - wait- come back - I need a direct flight back to DC too.

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