Beignets. Gator Gumbo. Slight confederacy movements. Da South Continues.
New Orleans is a rite of passage, in my most humble opinion, for many an American. Thoughts are conjured up that include masquerades, colors, sweat, gamey food, spicy food, wonderful food, pastries, witches and voodoo. Who wouldn’t want to explore this actual riot of zesty life? Well, we did.
MP (mom) and me were meandering the gritty streets of NOLA when we came across a total tourist trap that had to be taken advantage of. It was time for the swamps. All those shows that portray a backwards America, living sneakily in the swamps of the South and getting away with all types of things. I had to see what was good!
We paid something around $100 for the two of us and drove to a far out souvenir shop that doubled as the starting point for this tour, as a river was flowing right behind the place. Naturally, we got lost using iPhone GPS – what else is really new though? The joys of the road trip. We waited around for others to join (late as usual) and gingerly placed ourselves in the motorboat. The vibe was slightly anticipatory, but also nervous – like a gator was going to somehow move so quickly and plop into the boat whereby all that would remain would be blood and fleshy remnants. Fascinating.
The driver revved up the boat and we got going down the river, enveloped by massive trees that eerily blocked out the sun, making the scene seem very ominous yet appropriate. Unshockingly, MP and me were sitting up front right under the driver’s chin. When he started talking, thank the universe we were because his volume two Southern drawl was already difficult to discern, I couldn’t imagine what the end of the boat was hearing. Nonetheless, he introduced himself as Steve and welcomed us to his boat and his part of America while everyone was still whispering their own sweet nothings. A woman volume ten’d from the back, “are we going to see any swamp people, like from the shows?” Ugh, eye roll.
“You’re looking at one Miss.”
Welp, guess that shut everyone up.
Houseboats were cropping up at this point with a window blind opening here and there to show that existence was in these homes, but wanted no part of us. Confederate flags were sprinkled about along with morning hunters and their guns. This all fascinated me. My head was on a swivel trying to take everything in when suddenly Steve asked if we wanted to see something, whispering to me and MP. Duh.
He pulled out a baby gator from his pocket and plopped it in MP’s hand. Yeeessss this was way lit! Naturally the boat got wind of the excitement and the poor little guy was passed around like Auntie’s subpar casserole on Thanksgiving. Yipes.
In sum, NOLA was super lit. Over six days, we explored: swamp people, ate gator, held gator, loved gator, had coffee and beignets at Cafe Du Monde, asked if we were really related (eye roll), attended an Easter Parade in Metairie, saw the ninth ward post Katrina, checked some witchy shops, sat on terraced balconies, got our palms read, watched street performers, and ate almost everything.