This post contains strong language and adult themes. If my mother ever reads it, I apologize in advance.
Pardon the strong language, but the fine folks of New Orleans don’t fuck around when it comes to a party.
My co driver and I have been trying to get a 34-hr restart for weeks. Our hours have been running on fumes, and we were getting tired of it, so through a little…strategic planning, shall we say, we finagled one in the Big Easy.
First thing’s first, I found a Walmart bordered on three sides by no-truck roads, and enough room for one truck to hide out behind the store. So that’s what we did. As soon as we were parked, we ordered up an uber to take us to Bourbon Street for some much needed R&R. Folks, Bourbon Street ain’t no joke. We show up and start shuffling wide-eyed down the fabled lane, when we decide that we should probably get some food down our gullets before we commence to drinking. So we had a couple slices of so-so pizza and it was off to the races.
From what I could tell, the signature drink of NOLA is the Hurricane. Served in a fish bowl and containing like four different varieties of rum, it seemed like just the thing to begin a night of shenanigans.
We decided our first order of business was to walk up and down Bourbon Street and kinda get a rough understanding of where everything was. This only served to screw me up more because it repeats about every other block. They’ll have the same bar bordered by the same souvenir shop and the same loud, undecipherable music playing from the identical buildings. Drunk John did not appreciate this one bit.
I don’t know if anyone knows this about me, but I am easily talked into doing things that I might shouldn’t be doing. This came into play a few times over the course of our evening. The first time was as we were walking down the street, this rather abrasive lady told us that we should take some tube shots. Well, when in Rome, y’know, so we acquiesced to her demand, and before I knew what was happening, she had stuck four tube shots in her mouth and given me some kind of an alcoholic version of the Lady and the Tramp spaghetti scene. Slightly abashed, we continued our journey.
Now some folks, like my own dear mother, might be shocked to know that there exists in the world a variety of venues where one can pay a small sum and enjoy the dancing performances of various semi-clad and not-at-all-clad women. Well, on Bourbon Street, they not only let you in for free, but they also let you bring in whatever you’ve already got to drink! Since I was already doing my part to provide clean fishbowls for the pet goldfish of America’s youth, I figured we could go in and sit down for a spell while I finished off my second bowl of pure alcohol mixed with sugar. Wouldn’t you know it, they had drink specials! So now I’m enjoying what I like to call a J&C&H (for the uninitiated, that’s a Jack and Coke and Hurricane) while watching what the most athletic woman I’ve ever seen tap her feet on the ceiling while holding on to a pole with one arm.
On a side note here, I would like to say that while I was obviously enjoying the fact that this woman had on scant but a smile, the entire time I was just agog at how strong her core had to have been. At one point I leaned over to my buddy and asked “Reckon what kind of core training she does? I don’t think I’d be able to do that in a million years!”
Rested and full of respect for the strength training it must take to do the things that those women did, we set off. I didn’t want to carry my (third) fishbowl and my cup of whiskey, so I decided that if I poured the one into the other, it’d be a good idea. This was not a good idea.
A couple things were happening to ol’ John by this point. After having consumed the contents of two and a half Hurricanes plus a Jack and Coke plus whatever else I’d had all day, I had to pee. Secondly, the alcohol and sugar were making me sleepy. As luck would have it, we found a bar that advertised they had a restroom! But it was only for paying customers. So, being respectful of the rules and sensing an opportunity to kill two birds with one stone, I got some Jaeger bombs! Also a Long Island iced tea to pay homage to my Buddy and co driver, who is from New York. After finding the women’s restroom and not the men’s, because of course I did, I decided that a Long Island Jaeger bomb was just the ticket, and I again tried my hand at amateur mixology. The result was better than my J&C&H, but only just.
Feeling energized and with our bladders newly emptied, we again struck out, only to find ourselves on the border of the very-famous LGBTQ area of Bourbon Street. I wanted to venture further, my experience being that drunk gay folks are a lot more friendly than drunk straight folks, but my friend was a little uneasy, especially considering that we were two dudes and I already looked like a Village Person who’d let himself go, so we compromised by having what must have been a lovely conversation with a rather interesting couple of three young men. I seem to recall them being from Missouri, but my memory from that point forward begins to get a little cloudy.
After a nice chat and respite, and after narrowly missing the projectile vomit of two poor young women, we decided to strike out once again!
This is where the night took a turn for the expensive…
We stopped at a little vendor for refreshments, as I was thoroughly parched after my 100-yard walk, and wouldn’t you know it, they didn’t take credit cards. They had an ATM, though! I decided that my budget for the rest of the night would be $100, so I went ahead and withdrew it there. And got another fishbowl! This time with an extra shot, though, because who needs a liver? Or memories? Well, we’re walking down the road with our refreshments when, all of the sudden, I hear a voice from above saying “Hey cowboy! Show me what you got!” and, upon looking, noticed a very attractive young woman waving some beads at me. Well, ever the gentleman, I obliged the lady and whipped my shirt damn near off right there in the middle of everyone. In return for my display of my pure masculine form, she chucked down some gold beads, which I currently consider my most prized possession.
After intimidating (I assume, because c’mon, who can handle all this?) every guy in a fifty-foot radius, we decided to get off the street, lest all of the women begin flocking, as they do. Well…and here’s where the younger readers (or my mother) might want to duck out of the room for a spell…the nearest place to go happened to be another arena of scantily-clad dancing. Had no idea. That’s a total lie; we aimed right for it. Well by this time, it’s getting late, probably, so the bar isn’t as full. There was a one-drink minimum, so we got a couple shots of whiskey and toasted each others’ health.
You remember when I said that I get easily talked into doing things I mightn’t oughta be doing? Because I did. Oh boy, did I.
Since there were few folks at the bar, several of the young ladies who made the place what it was came and sat by us. Well I got to talking to one of them, and coincidence of coincidences, we happened to have a ton in common! She’d ask a question, I’d answer, and lo and behold, we thought the same way. I’m told that never happens at those establishments. Well since I’d obviously found what Drunk John thought was true love, I was more than happy to oblige when she casually brought up something called a “Champagne Room.”
Y’all, the Champagne Room is where money goes to die. My $100 budget was shot before we even got up there, and we spent two hours up there.
I would like to take this opportunity to say that nothing illicit or illegal went on, lest y’all begin to think me a dishonorable man.
Two things saved me from having to sing for lunch money after last night. One was that the card that I get a portion of my paychecks deposited to, which I save for special occasions like whiskey or souvenirs, got declined. After spending a couple months’ worth of rent, turns out they get suspicious. The other was that I forgot the PIN number that accompanies said card. I just always run it as credit.
That Chanpagne Room ain’t no joke, y’all.
So after I was politely and sternly told that I was outta money, I decided to go find my buddy and head back to the truck. Turns out he got bored while I was hemorrhaging money, so he’d already left. I decided then to wander around a bit and see if I couldn’t make friends with someone and hang out for a bit. Drunk John is a social butterfly, turns out. I happened upon a group of guys who were all drunk and attempting to poll the random passers-by about everything from their political leanings to their sexual proclivities, and decided to hang out with them. We polled the masses for a while, amassing a wealth of information that has now been forgotten, and for some reason or another–probably because we very nearly got our asses handed to us by the less-than-jovial boyfriends of women they mistook us for flirting with, even though it was all done in the name of sciencific research!–I decided it was time to leave. Luckily there was a cab nearby who knew right where I meant when I slurred out “Do you know where the Walmart is on Chef something street?” and off we went!
A very curious thing happens to those who spent long periods of time in a truck. When we get into a car, there is a very weird feeling of being way too low to the ground and of taking turns and curves way too fast. Combine that with a level of drunkenness that could have stunned a rhino, and I was a hot mess the whole way. My cab driver noticed, and so in the middle of the ride, he shut off the meter and we stopped for beignets and coffee! Turns out he was a flatbed driver for years, retired, and runs a cab on Bourbon Street just for shits and giggles.
So somehow I managed to get back to my truck behind the Walmart on Chef-something street, into bed, and I didn’t get robbed, dishonor my ancestors, get in a fight, or even hurl! ‘Twas a night to (hopefully, one day) remember.