"To strive, to seek, to find and not to yield"
- Alfred Lord Tennyson, 1833

"live deep and suck out all the marrow of life"
- Henry David Thoreau, 1845

"Some guys, they just give up living
And start dying little by little, piece by piece
Some guys come home from work and wash up,
And go racin' in the streets."
- Bruce Springsteen, 1977

"...to the heart, there's no time for you to waste.
You won't find your precious answers now
by staying in one place."
- Frank Turner, 2009

"The best things in life aren't things.
They're living and breathing."
- Michael Franti , 2011

"I owned every second that this world could give,
I saw so many places, the things that I did"
- Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic, 2014

All written content and photos by Rob Fulfer unless otherwise indicated.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

New Orleans comes to Nashville...and then Nashville goes to New Orleans

Thursday, May 16 - We had some excellent prep work to get in a "Big Easy state of mind" before our anniversary trip this year thanks to a fantastic show by New Orleans' own, Big Sam's Funky Nation, at Exit/In with local groove-meisters, Captain Midnight and their self-described style of "waterbed rock" opening for them.  We caught BSFN for the first time a few years ago (almost two years to the day actually) down in Gulf Shores, Alabama (previous blog) and they were good then, but this show was even better despite a fairly sparse crowd on a weeknight. Thanks to our friends, Chris and Tarryn, for going with us, just as they did two years ago (but no cars were towed
following the  show this time, thank goodness!!).

Big Sam Williams is a singer, dancer and most of all, a kick-ass trombone player (formerly of The Dirty Dozen Brass Band), who works hard for the money on stage as you can see from the sweat around his collar.

Saturday, May 18 - We took a short afternoon flight down to New Orleans today with our friends, Danny and Brenda, who were also celebrating a wedding anniversary this weekend.  Our friends, Tiff and Brenda (yep, another Brenda), had come down earlier in the day from Chattanooga as well.
Per Tiff and Brenda's recommendation, we stayed at the very cool Place d'Armes Hotel in the French Quarter just off famous Jackson Square.  The place contains great New Orleans charm and history, along with all the modern conveniences including a very nice courtyard and pool.

Our "junior suite" was huge and we loved the exposed brick and the great view of the pool and courtyard.  The room's location at the end of the hall on the third floor (308 for future reference) made it nice for hanging out, entertaining and meeting some of the other guests.  We met some great folks from North Georgia the first night and some other nice folks from Canada the next night.
Beautiful Jackson Square was just a 5-minute walk from our hotel.  We ate dinner and had dirt-cheap drinks on our first night in NOLA at Cajun Mike's Pub & Grub out on the fringe of the French Quarter.

Sunday, May 19 - Happy Anniversary from New Orleans! We spent a fairly lazy 12th Anniversary Day sleeping in and then grabbing a delicious low-country lunch at Chartres House near our hotel. 

We wandered around The French Quarter in the afternoon and wound up for drinks at The Carousel Bar in the Monteleone Hotel. This beautiful and famous watering hole actually does actually rotate at a slow pace (seems faster once you are seated at the bar).  With a little patience all six of us were able to sit together on the spinning libation counter plus our friend, Brad, who moved back down to New Orleans recently and was able to join us for the evening.  We got a great to-go dinner from the tiny and busy Coop's Place and ate back in the courtyard of the hotel (and, no, I did not wait 30 minutes after eating before getting in the pool!)  We had a ton of left-overs which we finished off over the next couple days thanks to the fridge and microwave in our room.

Monday, May 20 - Well, enough of this being lazy.  We got up bright and early (well, "early" for The Big Easy as least) and walked over to Saint Louis Cemetery Number One for a 10 AM tour hosted by Save Our Cemeteries.  This non-profit organization is dedicated to the preservation of several historic "all raised tombs" cemeteries throughout the city.  SLC #1 is one of the oldest and "most beautiful" in New Orleans.  The two-hour tour was informative and interesting.  Some of the highlights included the graves of the first, as well as the first African-American, mayors of the city; the voodoo queen herself, Marie LaVeau; as well as an unoccupied tomb owned by actor, Nicholas Cage.  Many of the tombs are in terrible (and shameful) disrepair, and it felt good to know 100% of tour fees would be going to help and try to honor the many lain to rest here in a more respectful way.
The city-block sized "City of the Dead" is loomed over by the hustle and bustle of downtown New Orleans.
We had a great "tri-anniversary" dinner tonight at GW Fins which has some amazing seafood.
Tuesday, May 21 - I was scheduled to fly back home today while Ashlee was going to pick up a rental car and work over in Mississippi (one of her new territories she's been assigned) for the rest of the week.  But before my late afternoon flight, we had enough time to go check out the relatively new National WWII Museum.  What we thought was going to be just an OK time-killer turned out to be on of our favorite parts of the trip.  This huge, beautiful museum is done right, and they have a couple of interactive add-ons to the entry price that are well worth the money including a 4-D (yes, 4) film narrated by Tom Hanks called "Beyond All Boundaries" that is outstanding, and an impressive and nerve-racking submarine experience called "Final Mission."

That's a full sized bomber hanging in the National WWII Museum.  Check out the people on the walkway above it for scale.  This was just one of several draw-dropping indoor displays.
We walked back to our hotel from the WW II museum along the mighty Mississippi River.

This little darling to me captures the essence of New Orleans: a full belly and a relaxed state of mind.  I took this photo right outside of Cafe Du Monde as we were munching on their famous beignets.   We love you, NOLA, and we can't wait to get back to see you as soon as we can!

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