By Brandon Jamil
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New Orleans, a city that I call home. This city is near and dear to my heart. Having family ties that goes back to the 1800’s; I know a thing or two about this vivacious city. As the rumor has it, New Orleans is a broken city that hasn’t recovered since hurricane Katrina. The city was that once known for it’s electrifying jazz scene, openness, friendly, and accepting attitude is now vulnerable and desperate for major repair. I hadn’t been to the city in over ten years, so I questioned were the rumors true? Had New Orleans lost it’s way? If so what is the new way?
Of course, I did some research to see what exactly other people had said about the city since the devastating natural catastrophe, but the truth is—I needed to explore the city on my own terms and draw my own conclusions.
My friend and I arrived to this beautiful city and like any tourist person, we rented out an Air-BnB two blocks away from the French Quarter. Which is the heart of New Orleans.
Our first stop was Oceana Grill which is located in the French Quarter one block away from Bourbon street. On a Friday night, you can expect to wait anywhere from 30-50 minutes to be seated. This lively restaurant serves fresh sea food among other house hold favorites, delectable, and refreshing drinks. We decided to get the New Orleans sea food platters which comes with: fried catfish, fried oysters, fried shrimp, and fries.
You can’t possibly come to New Orleans and not drink, so we ordered the “Money Mike” margarita which is served over dry ice to give the chilling and airy affect. Oceana Grill is known for it’s food and welcoming environment. In-fact many celebrities that come into town make it a point to stop at Oceana Grill.
The next stop was Bourbon street. Where exactly do I start? I mean… Bourbon street is full of festivities that everyone can afford and partake in—it truly doesn’t matter what your budget is. This street has night clubs that are open until 3am, non stop partying, great local food venders, bars, strip clubs, stores, and dare I mention bead throwers. We can’t forget the most amazing, soulful, and heart tugging Jazz music—which is played through out the entire quarter.
During our nightly stroll on Bourbon street, we stopped at many of the night bars and danced with many of the locals and some tourist. I wanted to do some more venturing, but my partner mentioned that we aren’t twenty one anymore, so let’s just say we ended up coming home before 3am.
However, the next morning we decided to come back to Bourbon street, and we made a pit stop to Marie Laveau’s Voodoo shop. After watching American Horror story; I wanted to check out the voodoo queens shop and see what all the fuss was about. To my surprise, this shop had just about everything a voodoo priestess could possibly need to conjure a spell, cast protection, and invite abundance.
Thereafter, my friend and I moseyed on to Jackson square. Jackson square houses local artist that display there art for a reasonable price, many side show entertainers and tricksters.
The man is the photo has trained his dog to remain in statue form all day, and the dog obeys. The only question I have is: How much does this man charge for dog training? I mean seriously.
That’s not all, as lovers of Tabasco sauce, theres an entire store that has a variety of Tabasco products. My friend loves tabasco sauce and let’s just say we spent over $50.00 on suckers, sauces, and other random supplies my friend wanted.
Once we left the Tabasco shop, we ran into this man that pretended that could swallow a sword. The objective of his game is to get the crowd excited and invested into the idea of swallowing a sword. Once he has the crowd on edge he takes the sword and places it an angle to give the illusion that he swallowing the sword. Needless-to-say, he never swallows the sword, and we all walk away feeling like we were played like fools for placing our money into his hat.
The next day, we slept in (Almost the entire day) and decided to get some local fast food to recover from the prior night. Though, once we were completely sober, we’d decided to grab some beignets and hot cocoa from Cafe Du Monte. Ah such as delightful sweet treat— the sweet gooey dough that’s deep fried and topped with powdered sugar. Sweet baby jesus! You must come and try these bad boys. Afterwords we ran into the Erin Rose Bar, which serves a variety of alcoholic beverages and Po boy sandwiches. If you’re wanting to frequent a home style bar without the extra flare and inflated prices Erin Rose is a nice change of pace. The food menu option is limited, however the Po boys are to die for.
Later on that evening my friend and I headed back home from the French Quarter. As we migrated through the crowds of people, we stopped just to watch these little guys beat their drums and share their story through sound.
Alas, in this eternal city of much chaos and pain there was equally an amount of passion and kindness. The little guys in the photo reminded me that sometimes we can’t control fate or stop destiny in it’s tracks. But, we must in-fact be willing to pick up our drums and be willing to share our own story. Sometimes that means starting over from the beginning.