Wednesday, March 2, 2016

New Orleans: Part 2 - Back in the HugeParty Habit!

I didn't think my first time in New Orleans could be topped. My first HugeParty was epic!

Call it beginner's luck that we were so masterful on the first bachelor party to New Orleans. Or perhaps it was the extensive planning and reckless abandon. Either way, when my good friend Ryan told me his bachelor party was going to be in New Orleans, only 10 months later, I knew we were going to need to step our game up if we were going to come even close to the first time.

By the look of this picture, you'd think we did some sight-seeing.....

The one thing we had going for us was our group of guys on the trip. Dare I say, they were crazier than the first group of guys, a key ingredient to a HugeParty bachelor party.

The Bachelor, Such a Beauty

Instead of going over the same recommendations as last time, my goal in this post is to show you the new things we discovered. Combined with the original post, you have a game plan for a seriously epic New Orleans experience. 

6 Learnings from NOLA: Part Deux

1) Bourbon Street - Yes, we canvassed Bourbon St. on my maiden voyage to NOLA, and the same parties and haunts are still kicking strong. This time around, we stumbled into a new bar which I highly recommend. 

Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop is the oldest bar in America. It's dark, cozy, and has a different "no frills" aura which you won't find in the main area of Bourbon St. We found ourselves here for "just one drink", and ended up spending north of 3 hours there. Highly recommended.

Bourbon Street.... Still as Sleazy, Sweaty and Awesome as Ever!

2) Frenchman Street - On the first trip we had the best of intentions to make it to Frenchman, alas the demons of Bourbon St. kept us chained to the bars, and we never made it to Frenchman.

Live Music on Frenchman Street Alllll Night!

In "NOLA: Part Deux" I was insistent that we make our way over. Totally worth it. Amazing live music, plenty more locals, and bars spilling out onto the streets and balconies. Frenchman is where you go once you've exorcised your demons on Bourbon Street. But not before, in my opinion, because you can't appreciate the semi-cleanliness, friendly staff and awesome music as much.

3) Domilise's Po Boys - I didn't uncover this gem of the bayou on my own, I had plenty of help from Tv Shows and the Internet. Heralded as the "Best Po Boy" in New Orleans, I begged and pleaded to the group that we take a couple Taxis 6 Miles (!!!) away from the Bourbon Street Madness. I was able to convince half the group, and away we went.

Half Shrimp, Half Oyster. Fat Kid For Life!

The verdict? Worth the trip. Truly an authentic local experience, with one of the best sandwiches I've ever had, a half fried oyster/fried shrimp po boy!

Domilise's is a "dive restaurant", you're eating on paper plates, the place is attached to a house, and it has every bit of resemblance to your grandpa's basement. All of which make the joint a national treasure. Take a trip back in time and experience Domilise's Po Boys!

4) The Casino - Of course it was my bright idea to go to the casino at 2am. And of course I was able to get 10-12 guys to join along. The Harrah's New Orleans is just close enough to Bourbon Street to be dangerous. We spent less than 1.5 hours there, but the damage was done. My wallet hurt from the losses at the roulette table, but my spirit wasn't broken, as the bachelor ended up winning a couple hundred dollars, good for him.....

If I make it back to NOLA, I'll (hopefully) rethink any 2am casino dreams and either avoid altogether, or start our day out there if the weather was too humid. More on the weather a bit later.

5) The Second Line Parade HugeParty Miracle of 2015 - This story happened by chance, but it just goes to show you that if you put yourself out there, meet new people, and buy a couple rounds of beers, anything can happen.

In New Orleans there's something called a Second Line Parade. This isn't your regular celebratory parade with floats and candy. It's more like an organized walk, or a happy protest down the street. Read more about it here. All you need to know is that you better pray to the God of Awesome that you stumble upon one, or order yourself your own Second Line Parade Permit from City Hall. Anyways....

We were drinking in a bar just off of Bourbon St. when a large bachelor party (not ours) walked into the bar wearing a variety of costumes (French Maid, Construction Worker, Morph Suit, etc.). We made some small talk with one of the guys, which sounded like this:

Me: Why are you guys dressed up?

Guy: We organized a parade.

Me: Wait, what? Are you serious?

Guy: Yep, and we bought a 4-Piece band and police escort to take us down Bourbon Street. It was fairly easy paperwork to fill out at City Hall actually.

(Four guys in uniform with horns and drums walk up from a side street)

(A police vehicle approaches)

Me: Oh. You weren't kidding.

Guy: Nope. Wanna join?

Me: Hell. Yes.  (Orders 10 beers to go, passes them out to some of the guys)
Easiest. Answer. Ever. And best decision I've ever made on a bachelor party. Only two of us were around for this adventure, but this new bachelor party took us under their wings and away we went down Bourbon Street, waving, dancing, singing, drinking, and being awesome. Everyone watched, some people even joined in on the affair.

The Second Line Parade... Perhaps the Greatest New Orleans Tradition!

And just when you thought this story was boring... Midway through the journey we were approached by a sweet older lady who was with a group of people dressed in black. Her mother had recently passed away, today was the service, they were holding it in the house her mother grew up on on Bourbon Street. She asked us if we could stop the band in front of her mom's house and play "When the Saints Go Marching In". The leader of our group agreed, and we stopped at the funeral service for one of the most touching HugeParty experiences ever (I'm getting goosebumps just writing this). Everyone was so happy, tears were flowing, people were singing, it was truly a moment. Check out the video here, although it doesn't do it justice.

HugeParty Travel boasts a lot about crazy experiences, but this memory was a shining example of the power of celebration, which is what it's all about.

6) We went to NOLA in August - Dear Baby Jesus, that is the worst month to go to New Orleans, let this be your warning. The humidity is outrageous, the heat pierces your soul. You're sweating all day, but thankfully so is everyone else, so deal with it.

Luckily I came prepared with "Dry-Fit" shirts and plenty of clothes to change into. More wardrobe changes each day than an Oscar Host. That was a joke....

Final Quick Tips from the Trip

Taxi Sharing - If you're arriving alone and need a taxi, get in the queue and ask someone else to share a ride, you'll save about $15. Chances are extremely high someone you ask is going near Bourbon Street, and you really shouldn't be staying anywhere else.

Order take out from 24/7 a convenience store called Verti Marte - Wait, what? Yes, in the back of the tiny shop there is a deli/food counter churning out amazing meals. And let's be honest, you can only eat so many beignets.

Grilled Oysters at Mississippi River Bottom - Whoa. These were the best oysters I've ever had. Drizzled in garlic and butter. Splashed with hot sauce and char-grilled a couple feet away in the patio grill.... we had a dozen, for $18, then flipped a coin to see if we stayed for another dozen. We had another dozen.

Mississippi River Bottom's Char-Grilled Oysters!

There you have it. Combined with the first post I believe this is a serious portrayal of New Orleans and the HugeParty that can be found.

I'm sure there's plenty more to uncover (Mardi Gras, Jazzfest, Football at the Superdome, etc.), looks like we're going to have to go back!

Travel Quote

“New Orleans food is as delicious as the less criminal forms of sin.” 
~ Mark Twain

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1 comment:

  1. Epic post. I love it that you guys got to join a parade. How nice to serenade a funeral. Love New Orleans, it has been too long since I have been. Thanks for getting me motivated to visit again.


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