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New Orleans Stole My Ability To Remain Clothed
New Orleans (USA)
Member Name: KathrynMackinnon
New Orleans (USA)
Date: 26/09/01, updated on 18/02/02 (292 review reads)
Advantages: People, Atmosphere
Disadvantages: Violence, Smell
'Oh god, what have I done?', I lifted my mascara streaked head from the pillow to gaze upon a floor strewn with clothes, plastic beads and drinks cups.
The party city had struck.
I was innocently exploring the cultural diversity of Americas Southern states with a group of like-minded young individuals on a TrekAmerica trip this summer. Sure, we'd had a few beers around the campfire every so often, but nothing had prepered us for the Pat'O'Brien 'Hurricane' - containing everything that is bad for you and makes you mad.
My alcoholic tolerance was low due to the summers drought working in a kids camp for three months, my body was pure and unprepared for 2 Hurricanes and three Mint Juleps - but I gave them to it anyway.
Before I knew where I was I had my top off and was frolicking my way through Bourbon Street in the centre of the Latin Quarter during the Southern Decadence festival, with bubbles raining down upon me from the balconies above.
Decadence is a gay festival, Aug 31st - Sept 3rd approx, featuring many, many bad drag queens, may good ones and lots of old men in leather gear. Basically , the crowd is totall wild, and it rubs off. My trek leader managed to get his nipple licked by a gay man, I outed one of our trek members - who the next day had fairy wings henna tattoed onto his back! and got all of the girls to expose themselves to the revellers with me.
I have never felt like so much of a slut in my life - but nobody knew me there and you guys don't know where I live do you???
So the next day we decided to go out and find some culture - sticking to the Latin Quarter, we wandered the streets, stopping off to get our tarot cards read, to eat some yummy gumbo and get lovely henna tattos applied to our Florida sun-burnt skin.
During the day, Bourbon Street still had its drag queens and leather boys - alongside the nice cafes where kids sat in and the tacky shops selling mardi gras beads, mask
s and dildos. Very odd.
This is the thing I was intrigued by in New Orleans, the sex, poverty, drug problems, violence etc are not hidden away - it's all out there on the street and to me, that seems a more honest way of living - they maybe don't deal with it, but at least they don't shove them to the outskirts of everything as we do in Britain.
New Orleans is well known for for its music. On a more tame night out we dressed prettily and headed down to Preservation Hall and listened to some live old-fashioned jazz, sitting on cushions on the floor stroking cats. I felt so chilled out, despite the noise and really felt at home. It was tourist-tastic but I pretended that it wasn't and that was just fine.
There is a calm side to New Orleans, you just have to find it.
The people are lovely and eccentric and the place is steeped in lots of history which I failed to pay any attention to!
Anyway, just go! don't be shy and watch out for those hurricanes!
Oh, and it's only as expensive as you make it for yourself - all budgets can be catered to - just be sensible (am I joking? in New Orleans?)