From Gulfport it was a fairly quick drive to New Orleans. We arrived early afternoon, parked downtown, and strolled Canal Street until check in. It felt great to be in a place with some grit and energy after so many sleepy southern cities.
We popped into an outlet mall near the casino to escape the swamp-like humidity. I bought Mtuseni a Fossil watch for his birthday. He was thrilled; it’s practically a luxury brand in South Africa. He’d never heard of outlet stores and was fascinated by the concept. The rest of the trip he could spot an outlet mall sign a mile away!
After recharging in the hotel, we skipped over to Bourbon Street and quickly came upon a trumpet player and drummer jamming on a corner. The street was packed with people in various states of lucidity — all grooving and smiling and having a good time. Let the party begin! I’d never been to New Orleans but certainly knew what to expect. Mtuseni didn’t have a clue; he was wowed.
After a while we grabbed dinner where I introduced Mtuseni to gumbo, which I love. Then we went back out into the crowd — even livelier in the dark and after who knows how many drinks. People-watching galore!
Mtuseni isn’t a drinker, and I’ve become a lightweight over the years, but we both are crazy for music. I was psyched when we came upon some zydeco, and gave Mtuseni a probably half-assed backstory. But all you really need to do is hear it — and feel it! Zydeco just makes me happy. Mtuseni said his mother uses a washboard to wash clothes, not make music.
We saw a few bands in different bars before finally heading back for the night. We had another long — and hot — day ahead of us.