Thursday, October 11, 2012


New Orleans, LA to Huntsville, AL
October 7, 2012

I woke up this morning with a layer of funk that seemed like an actual, tangible thing.  It wasn't cigarette smoke, and it wasn't a dirty-person smell, but I think it was a mixture of all of the nastiness that I came into contact with on Bourbon Street last night. It was more like I'd rolled around on the ground instead of just walking though. Ick.  I also awoke with my eyes hurting so badly that I could barely see.  I'm not sure what could have caused it, but it felt like my eyeballs and eyelids had a terrible sunburn.  It actually hurt to blink or  to even touch the skin around my eyes, and they were watering so badly that it looked like I was crying.  I guess it could have been smoke and whatever else had been in the air, but I'd never felt anything like that before.  Add to that the fact that I felt completely hungover (and I hadn't had a drop of alcohol during or after the reception, just in case you're curious) getting ready to go home today was hard.

I took a bath, not completely certain that soap and water was enough to get rid of the funk, and when I got out I was feeling a tiny bit more human.  Steve and I cleaned up the room, packed everything, and checked out.  I'll miss our little, purple hotel room, but I'll be glad to get away from the creepy painting.  Eeeeeesh.

We had forgone the hotel breakfast, deciding eat on the road instead.  I wish we'd stopped at one of the small restaurants near the hotel, but we didn't really think about it until we were already outside the city limits.  We'd actually planned on stopping at a store I'd heard about, but even with the GPS, we got turned around and couldn't find it.  We just decided we'd forgo it this time and just start home. We stopped briefly for a Cracker Barrel breakfast somewhere just past Slydell, and from there we were on our way!

I could barely keep my eyes open, and I know that Steve was having the same problem.  I hate going to sleep while Steve is driving because I'm afraid he'll fall asleep without someone to keep him talking.  Luckily we had some of those 5 hour energy things (yucky but useful) and we woke up a little bit more after that.

We stopped in Meridian, MS to get gas and stretch our legs, and getting out of the car was a shock!  It was cold!  We'd gone from hot and humid New Orleans, to actual, fall temperatures!  I was more than ready for that!

The rest of the drive was uneventful, and when we finally got home and got the car unpacked, we were exhausted.

I have to say that the trip for Sara's wedding was probably the most fun I'd had in a long, long time.  I told a friend that I hadn't even known I needed it, but a trip away from home and a little fun was just what the doctor ordered.  Now I think I just need a week or so to catch up on my sleep!  :)

I think I'm going to have wedding withdrawal now. I've been helping Sara make stuff for her wedding for the past year and a half, and now that it's all over, my project board looks sad and empty.  So, you know, if anyone needs anything covered in glitter...just let me know!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


New Orleans, LA
October 6, 2012

Our first mission, post getting ready and pre taking pictures, was to get Sara down the steep-ass stairs of the house.  I hadn't really noticed how steep they were when going up them in my flip flops, but going down them in heels, holding a 40 pound wedding dress train, while simultaneously holding the hem of my own dress and death gripping the rail so that I wouldn't trip and bring the entire bridal party crashing to their deaths wasn't easy.  Honestly, I had a weird moment of wondering if the original owners of this house ever fell down these stairs and got tangled in their petticoats. Luckily we made it all the way to the ground floor without any mishaps! 

Since Sara wanted all the pictures over before the wedding, they decided not to do the whole not-seeing-each-other-before-the-wedding-thing and instead, they decided to do a quick bride and groom only photo shoot in the tiny park across the street.  All of us helped Sara across the street, making sure her dress wasn't touching the dirty ground, but you'd think we'd shown up for their honeymoon by the way we were dismissed by the photographer.  We didn't want to intrude, of course, but we also didn't want her hem to drag through the mud.  We retired behind a car and just watched at a distance.

I'll be honest, my favorite part of any wedding is watching the groom see the bride for the first time.  I can't help it!  You can tell so much about how he really feels about the woman he's going to marry by the face he makes, and I'd be danged if I was going to miss it this time!  Ron had his back to her when she walked up, and when he turned around, it was just priceless!  Awwwwww!  After that we did leave them alone to do their pictures and we went back inside.  It wasn't very long, though, before we got called into the parlor (or Magnolia Room, whatever) to have the rest of the pictures made.  It turned out that it was so hot Sara couldn't deal with being outside to do any more photos, so the rest would be taken in that room. 

That's me trying very hard not to
destroy the wobbly antique chair I was sitting on.

There was the requisite million different family pictures taken, and after a while, the wedding party had their turn.  The photographers took some funny pictures, too.  Sara decided that she wanted the bridesmaids to to be in a picture with Ron, but the photogs didn't know how to pose it.  I took it upon myself to decide.  I slid across the floor and grabbed his leg in the cliched "Hero Pose" and everyone else joined in.  I'd like to apologize to Leia for making her get down there, as she seemed a bit reluctant, but she was a pretty good sport about it!  I wasn't thinking about the fact that we were grubbing around on the floor before the wedding even started, but Ron loved it.  :)

The pictures went on until the guests started showing up, so we had to smuggle Sara back upstairs to await the beginning of the ceremony.  She'd been pretty chill all day, but I think that's about the time she got nervous.  She paced for a while, and then she sat near the window and listened to the violinist as he played Beatles music while people were being seated.  I've known Sara since we were 4th graders, and when she went glazed eyed, I knew she'd pretty much gone tharn.  She swore she was ok, but I knew that look!  We all started singing "Can't Buy Me Love" or at least the parts of it we knew to keep her with us, and by the end of it, it was time to go downstairs!  Cue the hobbling downstairs bit again, and we were off!

The actual wedding seemed to go really fast.  By the time I'd made it from the front of the house to the back, the wedding coordinator was waving me down the aisle, and I was the last one before Sara and her dad came out.  The wedding itself was so sweet that even I, who prides myself on never getting emotional at weddings (unless they play the damned Butterfly Kisses song) got a little verklempt!  Ron had to read his vows off of his iPhone, and since I refused to let Sara have her phone at the altar, she had to read it off of a piece of paper, but they were vows that they'd written themselves and they were beautiful!  My shoes were killing me, and I had a terrible fear that I was going to drop Ron's ring and have to go chasing it around the courtyard, but that didn't happen and the whole ceremony went over without a hitch!

Then came the reception.  I have to say, this was easily one of the most fun wedding receptions I've ever attended!  Of course, a lot of weddings I've been too have been kind of formal and conservative, receptions held in a church, no dancing, no drinking, and older family members sit looking slightly askance if anyone dares act a little silly.  The whole thing here just turned into a big party.  It started out a bit confusing.  Sort of out of nowhere, the first dance happened, but they didn't finish their song before the DJ was calling for the father of the bride.  We had to literally snatch his plate out of his hand and shove him through a door to dance with his daughter, because they hadn't given him any notice.  There was also a bit of confusion because we were told they were doing a line up (?) of the wedding party.  We assumed that meant we'd walk out with the partner we'd had during the ceremony, but the guy just started calling our names and we sort of just walked out into the dance floor, willy-nilly.  Then he started playing a song, with what I assume was the idea we'd all dance together.  We all kind of looked at each other, because we didn't know what to do, so we all just started dancing like crazy people.  I, for one, can't dance, so there was a lot of spinning and jumping around for me.  I have a feeling the other wedding guests either thought I was drunk, or that I was probably Sara's mentally challenged cousin who she let be in her wedding, but if that detracts from the fact that I simply just don't know how to dance, I'm OK with that! There is video proof of my dancing, but I haven't decided if I'll share it yet.

Photo proof is OK.

After that I went looking for Steve, who had found a seat off too one side, and I joined him there. Jordan and his wife sat nearby, so I spent a lot of time talking and having fun with them. Occasionally I'd get up and "dance" to some random song, and once I grabbed Sara's 12 year old step-son and danced with him.  It was mostly just swinging each other around, but because the DJ had mixes of songs, it took me a minute to realize we were dancing to "Hot in Here" which struck me as kind of inappropriate. But since we weren't bumping up on each other, I pretended it was not a song about getting naked.  Sara's sorority sisters did some kind of candle ceremony where they passed it around in a circle and sang a song to her and Ron, and then she blew the candle out.  They explained it to me before the wedding, but I still don't quite understand.  It was sweet, though.  Steve even danced with me a couple of times, which was amazing, because as we all know he doesn't ever dance.  I didn't even have to shame him into it! It was his own idea!  :)  I danced so much that I busted the inner zipper on my dress!  It wasn't that the dress was too tight or anything, we just hadn't taken into consideration that I might dance, or at least move around the way I had been.  We fixed it, though.  The party went on, pretty much without diminishing, until 11:00 that night.  The whole thing was just a lot of silly, sans souci fun!

Our night wasn't over, however.  We'd promised that we'd go to Bourbon St. with Sara, Ron and a bunch of other people. Steve and I were beyond exhausted by then, but we still wanted to at least go for a little while, so we went back to our room, changed into comfortable clothes,  hopped into a cab and headed off into the wilds of downtown New Orleans.  Our first stop was just below Bourbon Street, at a place called Lafitte's.  It is supposed to be the oldest bar in our country, and it kind of looked it!  It was beyond crowded, and Sara grabbed my arm and pulled me into a tiny, dark place full of people.  There were no overhead lights, and it was extremely loud.  I purposefully photobombed some people for the second time in my life, but I think it was because I had reached the stage of tiredness where I just didn't care about manners anymore.  I finally had to get out of there, because I felt like I was being smothered by the dark and the constantly shifting crowd of people inside.  I found Steve, Leia, and several other members of our party outside and talked to them until everyone else got there and we could walk to Bourbon Street proper.

It wasn't a far walk to get there, and I had no idea that the city kept it blocked off from everything else, but it was an experience.  Let me just say...Bourbon Street is gross.  It smells so bad, and it is so loud, and there are so many people yelling around you that it's like drowning in flashing lights and music.  People stood along the balconies of the buildings, holding beads and hoping for reasons to throw them.  Don't worry, I kept my top on the whole time!  It didn't seem fair to get all the beads for myself, you know!  ; )  It was a block of complete, bright, insanity.  My first impression was that I'd fallen square in the center of Pleasure Island, from Pinocchio, but Steve hit it on the head better than I could.  He said it was like being on R rated Main Street USA right before the fireworks start.  That was actually more apt than anything else I could have thought of.  As we walked, I bunch of guys started yelling "Roll Tide" at us.  We couldn't figure out how they knew we were from Alabama, but apparently someone in our group was wearing a Bama shirt or something.  I'm not so sure yelling Roll Tide in Louisiana is such a great idea, but there you go.  Of course, some charming character in our party yelled back at them "F*@K THE SAINTS" and that's when we decided that we should probably move on quickly.  Oh, and I'm fairly certain I stepped in a puddle of vomit.   New Orleans, Ladies and Gentlemen!

It seemed to take forever, but we finally broke out of Bourbon Street and headed over to Pat O'Brian's, hoping to get in to hear the dueling pianos, but it was packed.  I'd forgotten my ID, so someone handed me their military ID which got me past the bouncer.  She didn't look anything like me, but I'm assuming I didn't look under 21, so that was ok!  We got stopped dead in the entrance tunnel, and we couldn't go any further.  Poor Leia was about to fall asleep on her feet, Steve had gone into a slight agoraphobic catatonia, and I almost had a panic attack due to the sheer pressure of people around me trying to get in.  We finally just had to admit defeat and leave.  We were so tired, and most of us were leaving town the next morning, so we had to tell Sara and Ron goodbye and grab a cab back to the hotel.  It took a long time to get that cab, but I'd never been so glad to leave a place.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not sorry I went, and it was fun to experience everything, but I was also very, very glad to get away.

Once we got back to our room, I was finally able to pull my hair down and get comfortable.  This is what a day long wedding and trolling the streets of New Orleans does to a person:

And yet, the makeup was still there. Amazing.

It had been a wonderful, exciting, happy day!  I'd had so much fun.  I was glad it was over so I could finally go to sleep. 

Notable Sightings:  Sara looking gorgeous on her wedding day, Drunk guy at the wedding embarrassing his wife on the dance floor, Drunk lady being carried - Weekend at Bernie's style - along Bourbon Street, A 7 foot tall drag queen,  a man in his jockey shorts humping the back of some guy's head, and 3 women wearing full on wedding gowns as they stumbled along the streets of New Orleans. 

Tuesday, October 09, 2012


New Orleans, LA
October 6, 2012

Today was the big day!  *Insert girly, ultrasonic squeal here.*

Bridesmaid duty started early today, when we all gathered at Sara's hotel room around 8:30 to pack up the cars and hie ourselves thither to the wedding venue.  It sounds like much more of an epic journey than it actually was, because we were actually only staying about a block away from the place, but we couldn't carry everything all at once and we had a lot of stuff to do!

Sara and Ron were getting married at Margaret Gardens, an antebellum home in the Garden District.  When I first saw the place, I was a little taken aback, because it didn't look like a place people would get married in, but once you got inside...oh my!  The place is absolutely gorgeous, although in my opinion, they could have used more art! :) After we carried all of our things inside, we began to unpack the decorations that we had brought and put them around the parlor.  Sara and I had made most of the things that she was using, so I was very proud that everything looked so nice!  I can't take much credit for what was there, though, because Sara (who swears she doesn't have an artistic bone in her body) actually told me what she wanted.  I just made it flesh, so to speak.

After unpacking and making the owners of the building move tables around to our satisfaction (hee!) we headed out towards Cafe Amelie, an awesome little restaurant on Royal Street.  Hilary, another one of the bridesmaids, picked it kind of at random, but it couldn't have been a better place for us to go.  We were seated inside, because it was still hotter than the armpit of hell outside, and we got to have a nice, relaxed brunch.  The food was so very good.  So very, very good.  If you're ever in the area, I recommend this place!  I have a new, and completely unexpected love of grits now, and I've got to figure out how to make them like they do in New Orleans.  Also, and I'm not proud of this, I had dessert after what was essentially breakfast, but it was worth it!

Leia, Sara, Anna, Me, Hilary and Baby Rose!

 Once we got back to Margaret Gardens, we went upstairs to get all of our stuff settled.  We would be getting ready in the Bridal Suite, the bedroom and sitting room on the second floor of the building where Sara and Ron would be spending the next couple of days.  The room was set up with soda and  champagne, so we were ready to go!  Unfortunately, almost the minute we got inside, I sat on the bed and it collapsed!  I broke the honeymoon bed!  I don't know what happened, I promise!  I didn't jump on it, or take a flying leap, I just sat down and the mattress hit the floor!  We tried fixing it, realizing that the mattress had somehow fallen inside of the bed frame, but we couldn't lift it.  Leia, the bridesmaid who scared the wedding coordinator so badly, went out and found someone who worked there.  I'm not sure exactly what she said, except that the word unacceptable was used, but someone came up, post haste, and fixed the bed.  They even had to go to a hardware store for something to make sure it wouldn't fall again, but Leia cracked the whip and soon the bed was fixed AND remade. I suppose it was lucky I'm the one who broke it, instead falling down later that night.

We decorated and did some last minute detail work until the hair and makeup ladies came by to get us all skanked up! This was some serious business.  The makeup lady had an air compressor in her arsenal because we were going to get the full airbrush treatment!  It was so weird!  She asked me what I wanted her to do, but I had no idea what to tell her because I tend to apply my makeup in the traditional manner, so I told her to do whatever she wanted as long as she didn't make me look like a drag queen.  It was cold and it tickled!  I also came within an inch of having a panic attack when she sprayed around my nose and I couldn't breathe in.  In case you're wondering, airbrush makeup is supposed to last longer and photograph well, and since we were getting ready roughly 5 hours before the wedding so that the pictures would be over before the ceremony began, we needed something that would last.  The makeup job looked great, as long as you didn't get too close.  Up close I looked the way a dead person at a funeral looks, but one was going to get that close, so I was ok!   The hair stylist came next, and she curled and pinned for what seemed like twelve hours, but she did a good job!  Well, at least I think so.  The front looked great, but even though I did the "two mirror reverse look" I couldn't tell what the back of my hair looked like.  There just wasn't enough light.  Eh, everyone said that it looked fine, so who was I to argue?

 I assure you I'm wearing pants.

We finally got dressed in our official bridesmaid attire, and while the photographers snapped away, we managed to get all 800 yards of Sara's gorgeous wedding gown on her body.  I've never seen such a cloud of beads, tulle and satin, but she looked absolutely perfect! I basically had to crawl under her skirt to get her shoes on, and after a few more pictures and final touches, it was time for us to go downstairs and begin taking photos with the rest of the wedding party!


Monday, October 08, 2012


October 5, 2012

This morning I awoke at what I'm pretty sure was the deepest crack of dawn with my eyes swollen up.  Apparently, there is something outside that hates me and wants me to die, starting with my eyes. I looked like Admiral Akbar.  Schexy!

We got up, got ready, and went to breakfast!  We were soon joined by the rest of Sara's party and after everyone was done, we left to head towards the French Quarter to do a bit of looking around.  Poor Steve had to stay behind because he had to catch up with the work he'd missed while he was on travel, and he had two conference calls to do.  Boo.

No, we didn't get Pat O'Brian hurricanes at 10:30 am, but we did get hats!

We grabbed a cab and made our way downtown, and then began our walk down to the French Quarter for coffee and beignets.  Along the way we stopped to look at the art along Jackson Square.  I saw tons of gorgeous stuff, but I couldn't afford any of it!  I wish I could have gotten one of the paintings, but I generally don't keep that that kind of scratch on me.  Someone in our party actually bought something, and we had an interesting talk with the artist while he wrapped everything up for her. He told us about Bill Traylor, an Alabama artist, which was very interesting!

Sigh.  One day...

We also got filmed for some sort of thing, but I don't know what it was for.  There was a guy who worked as a living statue, and we all grouped around him and wore weird hats while they filmed, so if you see us anywhere, let me know what was going on!

I will never be able to get my hair clean enough after wearing that hat!

We stopped at Cafe du Monde, and it was so hot that the thought of eating a sugary donut was too much for me, so I just got an iced coffee.  I swear, Cafe du Monde is the only place I can drink the coffee without sugar!  Delicious!  We moved down to the French Market, which is a big, open air place that sold all manner of things, and we shopped there for a while.  I got a couple of really great pieces, both locally handmade, so I was glad!  After we left there, we decided to to go to lunch, But the place where we wanted to go was kind of far off. I'm not sure how long we were walking around, but as we went I started to realize that I was getting sunburned!

NO!  You have no idea how careful I've been this summer, trying not to get a weird farmer's tan.  The sunblock, the big t-shirts and hats that I've worn while mowing the lawn, the sheer not-going-outside!  I knew that I'd be wearing a strapless dress and I didn't want to have stripes!  I didn't even think about getting sunburned while walking around down here, because it's October and it isn't supposed to be hot and/or sunburny!  So I did the only think I could think of and I ran to the closest store I could find and I bought a hat.  I bought a comically huge, Eliza-Doolittle-At-Ascot hat and wore that around for the rest of our walk.  It was dead sexy!  I looked like a chubby lamp with a huge shade.

We also found a Lush store, which I didn't know had a branch in New Orleans!  While we were looking around, Sara's step-daughter held up a bubble bath thing that was covered in gold glitter and asked me to smell it.  My depth perception was off and the dumb thing hit me right under my nose and left a very sparkly Hitler mustache.  I tried wiping it off, but it just spread around on my face, and my clothes, and my arms!  With the glitter and my hat, I looked like a deranged drag queen. Eh, when in NOLA, amiright? 

We had lunch at Acme Oyster House, and I ate the best shrimp po'boy I've ever had!  Oy, it was good.  By the time we'd finished eating, we were exhausted.  We decided to go back to the hotel and rest a while before the rehearsal later that evening.  Unfortunately, we didn't really have enough time to rest.  I had to shower and change, and almost immediately start getting redressed.

Steve and I decided to walk down to the wedding venue once we were ready, not realizing we were supposed to wait on everyone.  Oops!  Luckily they weren't that far behind, and we were able to get everything worked out as far as the ceremony went.  Sara's wedding coordinator wasn't there on time, but Leia, one of Sara's other bridesmaids, saved the day!  She was awesome, and I think she terrified the wedding coordinator into submission and all but had him on a leash by the time it was over.

We left the venue and walked over to Zea's, the restaurant where the rehearsal dinner was held, and it was great!  Everything turned out so nice!  The only dark spot, for me at least, was the toast I gave.  I've never done one before, and I got nervous.  Everyone else was being so heartfelt and weepy, and I wanted to say something awesome.  However, I'm fairly sure it was the worst toast ever given.  I honestly don't remember exactly what I said.  I suddenly got nervous, mentally blanked out, and when I came back to myself, I just know that I felt like I said something weird and probably inappropriate.  I don't think I ever want to do a toast again. Ever.  I hope Sara forgives me.  Eeeesh.

After the dinner, Steve and I came back to the hotel and now we're winding down.  Tomorrow is Sara's Big Day!  I'm so excited!

Oh, and my feet hurt.

Notable Sightings: Two living statue guys, who scared me stupid. I hate those guys. 

Sunday, October 07, 2012


Huntsville, AL to New Orleans, LA

Steve and I left home this morning after kind of oversleeping a bit.  Oops!  He'd gotten home from Albuquerque near midnight after a work trip, and so we'd gotten in bed later than we had intended.  We had to jump up and get everything ready to go, since we were bringing some of Sara's wedding stuff down for her, and we finally got on the road at about 9:00.

We started out with a big WTF this morning when we stopped for gas.  We pulled up to the pump, and right in front of us was a lady with a big leather glove on her arm.  She was holding a giant red tailed hawk!  Wha?  That is not a normal sight at our local Chevron station!  That alone would have been weird, but Steve made it weirder.  When we both saw the lady and the bird, we looked each other and then back at the bird.  Out of nowhere I heard Steve mutter in this tiny, scared sounding voice say, "All I need is to get some gas."  I looked back at him and he was still staring, wide eyed, at the hawk.  I wasn't sure what was wrong, but I thought he might be scared the bird lady would bring the thing over to him while he was out of the car and the bird would attack him.  I had a bad moment thinking he was going to freak out because of a heretofore unknown avian phobia.  Fortunately, he was just zoned out, having an inner monologue, and for some reason he said the last bit of it out loud.

When we finally got on the road, the drive was almost uneventful.  We did see a white, convertible hearse filled with flowers, which is not something you see everyday.  I also got sick to my stomach, which is always a great deal of fun when you're on a road trip.  Luckily I had some medicine with me, so that was almost gone by the time we hit New Orleans.

We're staying in an awesome hotel called Masion St. Charles.  It's an odd little place, owned by the Quailty Inn folks.  The website says that parts of the hotel used to be Antebellum homes, but I'm not sure our particular building is one of them.  THe room has very high ceilings and unusual dimensions, but it could have just been built to look like an old house, I guess.  The room decor is unusual, but more fun than a regular hotel.  We have black and purple striped carpet that makes it look like Tim Burton might have been the interior decorator.  Also there is this painting, and it scares the heebies out of me.  It'll be fun trying to sleep with that guy watching me!

Pleasant Dreams.

When we finally got checked in, we had dinner at Voodoo BBQ, which was delicious, if you like barbecue, and I do.  There were quite a few of the wedding guests there already, so it was a little awkward at first. There were so many new people to meet, but we still had fun getting to know them.  I'd also like to mention that New Orleans is freaking HOT.  I forgot how absolutely humid it is here, and even though it probably wasn't more than 85, maybe 87 degrees, it felt like 95.  Yuck.

Our first outing that was planned was a ghost tour, done by the Haunted History tour company.  We waited forever for our cabs to arrive, and we wound up getting there right before the tours started.  Unfortunately, Steve and I almost immediately got separated from the rest of the group.  We payed our admission first, and we thought everyone else was behind us.  By the time we started walking with our tour group, we realized that everyone else had been put in a completely separate group, and no one knew where we had gone.  Apparently, Sara panicked when she couldn't find us (Sorry!) but we finally got in touch with each other by cell, so she knew we hadn't been kidnapped and sold for parts on Bourbon Street! :)

Our tour was very interesting, although it would have been better if we could have heard everything that the guy was saying.  New Orleans is so freaking loud, even on the quieter streets.  One of our guides was a psychologist/sociologist (I think) that specialized in human perception, which is one of the reasons he is involved in the whole paranormal thing.  He actually works with ghost hunters as the person who goes over their data instead of going on the actual hunt.  Since he isn't tainted by the spookiness of the actual hunt and he knows the things that simple psychology can explain, he can look for truly unusual things without getting floor creaks and regular noises confused with paranormal activity.  He seemed like a fascinating man, and I think he'd be interesting to talk to.  The only bad part of the tour was this jackass (sorry, Aunt Brenda) who thought he was so funny, and he really, really wasn't.  He was annoying, and he kept making bad jokes and being a jerk.  Luckily he, and his drunk girlfriend, left before the tour was over.  Yikes.  At any rate, we heard some really good stories, one of which still gives me chills.  It had nothing to do with anything paranormal, and everything to do with the fact that the people involved were tortured and the husband killed in such a terrible way by people they knew.  We also saw the LaLaurie Mansion, which is famous in ghost lore and supposedly a very haunted house.  I'd read about it many times, and never expected to roll up on it unexpectedly, even on a ghost tour!  The history behind what happened there is awful, but again, mainly due to the human inhabitants of the house rather than the ghosts.  In fact, I'm going to say that the tour, while interesting, didn't really seem like a ghost tour to me.  I mean, yes, we got ghost stories and info on supposed hauntings, but it seemed like we got more regular history about the buildings we saw than anything really spooky.  I'm OK with that, because I enjoyed the tour, but I would have liked a few chills about things going bump in the night!

New Orleans in a truly interesting city, and I wish I could have learned more about it on our tour, but they only had specific places they talked about.  I've also learned that New Orleans smells SO BAD.  Oh, it was horrible.  I have an almost super-human sense of smell, so it was an assault on my nose that almost made me faint.  Luckily we moved around so much that I wasn't enveloped by any particular stink for too long.  The place is dirty, filthy, and completely amazing.  

We finally met back up with everyone and made our way back to the hotel.  We are now chilling - literally- by our excellent air conditioner and are about to go to bed.  I can already tell that this place, like Athens, GA and Savannah, GA, is going to be a two shower a day town. I just hope I brought enough underpants!


NOTABLE SIGHTINGS:  The gas station raptor lady, a convertible hearse (in north Alabama, not in NOLA), two Eastern European hookers in shorts so short and tight that everyone picked out sympathy wedgies, the looks on Ron's kid's faces when they realized the two women were were hookers, and a cockroach the size of one of my middle fingers crawling in an empty margarita cup. Seriously, I could have forgone the taxi and ridden that guy back to the hotel!

I will never sleep again.