It’s time for another installment of “Places You Should Visit While You Can Still Bend Down to Tie Your Shoes without Making Involuntary Bodily Noises”!
This summer, my family decided to forgo our traditional swimsuit-rash beach trip in favor of a long weekend in New Orleans — also known as The Big Easy, The Crescent City and the Birthplace of Indigestion.
My wife and I figured that our three teenage daughters were finally old enough to appreciate the history and culture of an iconic American city best known for public nudity and unbridled debauchery.
Seriously, though, this was my second visit to New Orleans. The first was a business trip that resulted in a column prompting one unimpressed New Orleanian reader to describe me as a “poor man’s Dave Barry.” Of course, I thanked him for the compliment.
During our six-hour road trip through the bowels of the Bayou State, our desperation for snacks led us to share a large bag of Wavy Migos “Bar-B-Quin’ with My Honey” Rap Snacks potato chips my middle daughter purchased from a gas station convenience store in Lecompte, Louisiana. (I’m now considering the addition of Rap Snacks shares to my stock portfolio.)
When we finally checked in at the charming and historical St. James Hotel just outside the French Quarter, we all needed to use the historical bathroom, and when my eldest and most expensive daughter finished her turn, the historical door handle fell off of the historical bathroom door, trapping her inside.
I eventually got the door open in an act of fatherly heroism, but only after I made her promise to limit her souvenir purchases to items that didn’t require long-term financing.
We then headed out for our first evening on the town, and, naturally, we were starving, so we stopped by the famous French Quarter Gumbo Shop for several scrumptious Creole dishes we couldn’t pronounce. We were also served appetizers of gumbo and desserts of pecan pie à la mode, which I’m pretty sure is a New Orleans city ordinance.
To prove to ourselves that we were still semi-mobile, we decided to waddle up to the riverfront across Decatur Street from Jackson Square where we encountered a street performer singing an anthem of my teenage years, “Don’t Stop Believin’” by the 1980s rock powerhouse Journey.
Although I was thoroughly enjoying the show, my wife and daughters finally convinced me to leave when the performer offered me a dollar if I’d stop trying to sing along.
We caught a magnificent sunset view of Jackson Square and St. Louis Cathedral from the river, and took turns taking photos with a couple of passersby — my daughters making sure to position me so that my enormous melon could be easily cropped out of their Snapchat pics.
Our next adventure involved a harrowing stroll through boisterous Bourbon Street so our daughters could see what all of the hubbub was about and understand what happens when girl children don’t follow their dad’s advice about drinking, drugs, dressing modestly and snoozing in public walkways.
I’m ashamed to admit that I was almost tempted to visit one of the plentiful strip clubs along the fragrant boulevard, but I thought better of it since they probably wouldn’t hire me, anyway.
We topped off the evening with a glucose smack down at legendary Café Du Monde for some golden fried beignets buried in a tsunami of powdered sugar. Since we were still a little hung over from the gumbo and pie, we shared the beignets — meaning I basically ate all but one of them.
Our first night in vibrant New Orleans was only the beginning of a terrific vacation full of excitement for our family and digestive systems. Most of all, it gave us a chance to share some fun and laughter together, especially when I bent down to tie my shoes.
— Jase Graves is an award-winning humor columnist whose columns have been featured in Texas Escapes magazine, The Shreveport Times in Louisiana, and the Kilgore News Herald and Longview News-Journal in Texas. Contact him at email@example.com or connect with him on Facebook. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.