Since we ate lunch so late, we opted for dinner of the liquid kind and we all gathered at Pat O’Brien’s for a Hurricane (or the non-alcoholic version: Eye of the Hurricane). Located on Bourbon Street, this place had a magical (or maybe it was the alcohol) vibe to it and we sat outside (in January!) under a string of lights sky. www.patobriens.com I opted for the non-alcoholic Hurricane as Spirits and Spirits do not mix well with me 😉 . After downing our drinks, it was a surreal experience as we all walked down one of New Orleans most famous streets on a Thursday night. Men holding signs advertising, “Big Ass Beers” and the tourists stumbling down the cobbled road made for some fun people-watching. The streets are literally littered with a colourful strings of beads even though Mardi Gras had not officially commenced. We slowly realized that you did NOT have to lift your top to get some beads around your neck and we came back to the hotel room with arms full! (Still fun 😉 )
My attempts at sleeping that first night seemed futile and the spirits won. Loud bangs and scraping sounds from a “chair” above me (even though the rooms are FULLY carpeted) kept me awake for most of the night. Harmless, I’m sure. :/ The next morning, we were going to Cafe Du Monde (New Orleans most popular and famous cafe) to try beignets and there was nothing going to stop me from that! Visions and recollections of snipets from the Disney Movie, “The Princess and The Frog” kept playing over and over in my mind. I felt like that annoying Princess who was screaming for more beignets and kept getting powder all over her face. I ended up eating THREE of these messy suckers but trust me when I say: OMG BEST. DONUTS. EVER. Even though they weren’t what I was expecting, I was so happy to experience them. Tim Horton’s who? It wasn’t just the donuts that thrilled me. It was the whole thing. The people I was hanging out with, the energy in the tented cafe, the sounds of the lone trumpeter at the door singing his heart out without a care in the world…I was definitely not in Kansas (Shelburne, ON. )anymore.
We went back to the hotel to retrieve our sleepy friends who missed out on the heavenly taste of this breakfast (anytime, really) treat so we could have more adventures. My roommate had arrived now and we split off into a group of four females ready to embark on whatever was waiting for in the Big Easy. Our first stop was a beautiful gem shop and I found the most beautiful ring I had ever seen. First purchase, done. Easy peasy. Right? Wrong. Our next stop at a Voodoo shop across the street would be my first lesson in trusting your powers of the intuitive kind. From the look of the sign and the feelings/energies at the front door made me squeamish and uneasy to say the least. But, I was determined at this point to experience as much of the culture as possible and so I trudged through. Just a side note: Voodoo isn’t negative at all. It’s actually used in conjunction with Catholicism. My Uncle the Bishop would LOVE that <insert eye-roll here> I could feel the energy of the shop not wanting me in there at all or maybe it was me who didn’t want to be there at all. The more I browsed, the more I felt physically ill. I felt a darkness hanging in the air and none of the books or items called to me. In fact, they mostly repulsed me. Funny, because I knew voodoo isn’t meant to be dark at all. But if someone decided to throw in some of that dark magic that New Orleans is also historically known for, I can see how it may be misconstrued as evil.
Voodoo dolls lined the shelves and a curtain with a small table (I swear I saw a crystal ball) and chairs showcased for all to see around this tight space. Basically, I just felt yucky. Like some slime had been thrown on my back and it was past time to check the eff out of there. I decided that I wasn’t making anyone happy by forcing myself to stay and so I bolted for the front door. Now I could breathe. Looking back, I wish I had trusted my gut. Not just at this one particular shop, but all of them. I would have saved myself a lot of trouble and stress. I just had it in my head that I wanted to embrace all of it. For now.