The Monkey Is In.

So be prepared. Bring a banana.

I'm a writer of horror and dark fiction. I've been doing this since 1999 and believe me when I say, it's cheaper than therapy and safer for the world at large.

NOLA 2015...aka Where I Tag Along on the Hubby's Work Trip

A few days ago I returned from a trip down to New Orleans. I've always wanted to go there but never seemed to have a reason or the time to do so. My husband had to travel there for work  and, just like San Antonio two years ago, I got to tag along!

Now, some of you know that I've become a bit of a nervous Nelly when it comes to flying. But thanks to modern pharmaceuticals, I was able to enjoy the two hour flight without any issues. Even the bumpy return flight didn't get me all worked up. I even ate the provided meals without feeling worried I might hork them up. Thank you, Ativan!

We arrived super early and couldn't check into our room at the Hotel Monteleone. They do have a storage area, though, so we were able to drop off our bags and walk around the city for a few hours. It was a nice way to ease into the atmosphere of NOLA and gave us time to buy our trolley passes for the week (though, honestly, they weren't really necessary). It was this first day that we discovered the Absinthe House. Though the inside looked like it had been hosed down with black mold and 100 years worth of grime, I loved it. And I vowed to try absinthe for the first time on another day. Which I did. And it was awesome.

For the rest of the week, I was usually on my own every morning until about noon or 12:30, when the hubby was done with work. Though there was a reception each night, we were able to explore and eat on our own timetable and THEN be social afterwards (which was not my forte but I don't mind doing it when Robert has to network with colleagues - or just hang out with them for drinks).

The food was absolutely incredible everywhere we ate. There wasn't one meal that left me feeling 'meh'. Sure, some were better than others but none were unsatisfactory. I have to say the crawfish etouffe  was probably my favorite dinner and, of course, coffee and beignets for breakfast was necessary every day. Hey, if the Cafe Beignet is on Alton Brown's 'best thing I ever ate' list, that's good enough for me!

As you can see from my NOLA photo gallery, I took a tour of the Lafayette Cemetery. The tour was only an hour long so I ended up walking around by myself for another hour or so. I KNOW! They say not to do that but the LC had quite a few people milling around so I was never truly alone. Also the LC seems to be one of the less popular tourist destinations and isn't a draw for getting jumped. Not sure I could say the same for St. Louis #3 (or #1 - I forget which). I took over 100 pictures! I can't believe my phone didn't start yelling at me to calm the fuck down. But I just love cemeteries and the ones in NOLA are unlike anything I've seen (so far).

Robert and I also took a Ghost and Vampire tour one night. It only covered a mile or so and took about 2 hours but it was really fun. Very informative on the history of the city and pretty detailed in the gruesome nature of some of its past inhabitants. I'm looking at you, Carter Brothers and Madame Lalaurie. I have to say, though, one of the highlights was discovering the Gabriel Tigerman was on the same tour! Just not in our group (there were enough of us to split into three groups and we were in the yellow, he was in the purple). Dammit. I did tweet him later saying I saw him but was too chicken to say hi. He actually responded! Sweet.

My overall impression of NOLA - I completely understand the allure. Most of the buildings are hundreds of years old and are maintained to look like they did when they were originally built. So the contrast between the old world and the modern (cars, trucks, phone poles, electricity, etc.) give the entire city an otherworldly feel. Even the window shutters, doorways, some of the structures themselves look askew or are leaning one way or another which adds to the "can't quite put my finger on it" atmosphere.

When I first arrived, all I could see was the dirtiness of the streets, feel the humidity that soaked through my clothes within an hour (even if it didn't feel hot outside), and the crowds of party goers just had me cringing. But now...even now I can feel the pull of the city. It's almost like I left a part of myself down there, or maybe the city took it from me, and it's waiting for me to return.

Don't take my melodrama too seriously, though. I would never want to live there because it's just so crazy all the time. But I get it now. I hope I have the chance to return someday and reconnect with that snippet me that has become part of New Orleans.