Even though I wasn’t able to go to sleep immediately after my relaxing bath, remember no television, I did relax enough to close my eyes and awaken early the next morning. I have to be honest, it was raining and I wanted to stay right there in bed for as long as I could. However, my cousin was calling me to help her in the kitchen all chipper and whatnot. And my sister was calling me for some unknown reason talking about turn my damn cell phone on. My response, “Please, I am sleep and I am not answering my phone when I am sleeping.” Okay, I said, “Bitch,…” If you can’t gleam from this short paragraph, I am not a morning person. At. All.
We were on a schedule because we were due at the community service site by 9:30 am, you know we were late. Have you ever tried to get a lot of folks in cars and ready? It ain’t easy. And remember when I said the folks got folders with the itinerary and other pertinent information in them? Why did only a few of us have the release forms completed before we arrived at the site? I swear…LOL!
Ever since Hurricane Katrina, I have wanted to do some type of community service because I come to their city and enjoy what it has to offer, but it was time to give back in any way I could and this project was great. With the Youth Rebuilding New Orleans, nonprofit organization. We helped to rehab a house that would be later sold to a teacher in the area. The folks overseeing the site were young people, who instead of doing what statistically folks think they would do, they are using their energy to give back and help the community they live in. It was a wonderful bonding experience for our family and quite fun. Some of us worked harder than others. Just saying Tiffany… LOL! We were tasked with painting, sanding, organizing, cleaning and building a fence. We did as much as we could bearing in mind it was raining cats and dogs and we kinda overwhelmed them with the sheer number of us volunteering. I painted and painted baseboards. I was a sweaty mess, but I enjoyed it. Watching the old and young folks giving back really did make my heart swell with pride.
We left the site after the rain showed out and we knew we weren’t going to be able to do much more and headed back to Napoleon Avenue. I couldn’t get in the shower fast enough. I was wet and sweaty, yucky!
I even managed to rest for a moment before hunger started punching me in the stomach. Again, gathering that many people together to eat is almost impossible. Add rain to the hunger and you have a recipe for disaster. We decided on Willie Mae’s Scotch House. I reminded them there would be a line, no reservations, no separate tickets and it wasn’t McDonald’s prices since EVERYONE was going. (Mind you all this information was on my restaurant spreadsheet for this trip.) Yes, we waited in line, in the rain, real close and under a tent that had seen much better days. Folks were antsy, and weren’t too sure it would be worth it for soul food. But baby, when they got us seated, we took up the entire first room and you started smelling the deliciousness wafting through, it was going to be great. And it was. Everyone enjoyed their meals and it was one of the best fried chicken meals I have had in a very long time. I ordered the three piece chicken meal with butter beans and it was amazing! In fact, this experience renewed my hope in NOLA’s cuisine because if you remember on my blogger review of the last time I was there, the food fell well below expectations.
While we waited to be seated I gave folks a brief history lesson on the area Willie Mae’s was located (near the Treme area) and how famous the restaurant was and still is. Sitting in the dining room looking out at my family, I was happy, really happy. We are an amazing group together, especially when we are truly together.
We left with full bellies and glad the rain was slacking up. We also realized going on the Swamp Tour would have to be postponed for that day, too much rain. So we went back to Napoleon and rested a bit and yes we were making decisions on heading to the French Quarter, more importantly to Bourbon Street and Harrah’s Casino for the gamblers.
We decided to take the streetcar on St. Charles Street. Unfortunately, we didn’t know the schedule or the fact the streetcar route was having some work done so we ended up taking a streetcar, a bus and another street car to get to Canal Street. How did we get into a Roll Tide and War Eagle chanting game on the bus, in NOLA? I don’t know but you should have heard that bus hollering Roll Tide and War Eagle a hot mess!
Let’s just say for the protection of the non-innocent, Bourbon Street is still debauchery and a den of sin. When we broke up the group to those who were ready to do up Bourbon Street and those headed to the casino things got different. Only three of us were sober, (I was one), someone threw up, someone had to throw beads back because they got flashed, someone fell more than once, catch phrase, “In dese streets!”, Krystal’s is still the go to after a night of drinking, folks will do almost anything for some damn beads, I still love petting the mounted police’s horses, folks still dress outrageously, one of my cousins looked me in the eye and said, “I am drunk.” I responded, “I know sweetie and it is okay, because I am not.” Since there are pictures I will leave it at that, LOL!
When we made it back to Napoleon Street after waiting on that damn streetcar what felt like hours, we got folks to their respective places and I took a long shower. And read because I didn’t have a television. As you can tell this was an issue for me. My cousins who went gambling were mad because it took them hours to get back to Napoleon Street. It seems that the streetcars don’t run as frequently after a certain time. LOL!
Rules for Family Vacations: Be willing to be flexible because with a lot of folks to get together to do one task can be a struggle. Don’t allow family members to take too much money to the casino. It really isn’t fun to always be the handler (you must stay sober) when going out, so suck it up and handle things when you are in that position. Teach folks how to drink and not use the bathroom immediately; otherwise it will take you twice as long to get off Bourbon Street due to the bathroom breaks. Have fun! Another thing when folks are on vacation, if at all possible, please do not call them with bad news. My cousin got back-to-back calls only to find out one of her friends had died.
I think I was so frustrated that night because I do not hang out late; I am too old for all that. I was tired and you all know my patience ain’t long and waiting on the streetcar was an impossible task for me. I will say this I enjoyed our Bourbon Street adventure, but poor Coy who had to listen to my sister and her husband talk and question him waiting on the streetcar, bless his heart…