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** New Orleans: PHOTO journal @ Western Caribbean & NOLA post-cruise (Sept. 2012) **

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We were ALL fascinated by the intriguing reality of Bourbon Street, our last stroll that Sunday.

 

"New Orleans swings

purple ladies of the night

bourbon street scandals

murmur lust lurking."

 

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As a blogger pointed out:

" with its anything-goes attitude," the city of New Orleans can attract "visitors looking to lose themselves in the party."

 

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"But where is the real New Orleans lurking?"

 

The one that has inspired poets, artists, and songwriters.

The New Orleans that charms with its beauty, hospitality, and world-famous cuisine.

 

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After taken to the beautiful French Quarter by day, we decided by night it was time to see for ourselves the same

joie de vivre @ BOURBON STREET!

 

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As a poet describes it:

 

"This street is a wordly sight,

Open twenty-four hours,

Especially wild at night.

 

Lots of tee shirt shops,

Tourists everywhere,

Money drops by the handfuls,

Music plays all day,

Whiskey, women, beer everywhere.

 

Bourbon Street is a world of its own,

The favorite one in N'Awlins.

Leather, lace some savor,

Bourbon Street goes on forever."

 

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"Tourists everywhere,

Money drops by the handfuls,

Music plays all day,

Whiskey, women, beer everywhere."

 

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“Leaving New Orleans also frightened me considerably.

Outside of the city limits the heart of darkness, the true wasteland begins.”

― John Kennedy Toole, "A Confederacy of Dunces"

 

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New Orleans, nicknamed "The City That Care Forgot" and "The Big Easy," has a well-earned reputation for excess.

 

And Bourbon Street is NO exception!

 

VIDEO (the lively Bourbon Street @ NOLA):

 

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BOURBON STREET @ NOLA -

 

"Open twenty-four hours,

Especially wild at night.

 

Lots of tee shirt shops,

Tourists everywhere"

 

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“Madame Lily Devalier always asked "Where are you?" in a way that insinuated that

there were only two places on earth one could be: New Orleans and somewhere ridiculous.”

― Tom Robbins, "Jitterbug Perfume"

 

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“He's got that New Orleans thing crawling all over him, that good stuff, that

We Are the Champions, to hell with the rest and I'll just start over kind of attitude.”

― Chris Rose, "1 Dead in Attic"

 

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“People don't live in New Orleans because it is easy.

They live here because they are incapable of living anywhere else in the just same way.”

― Ian McNulty, "A Season of Night: New Orleans Life After Katrina"

 

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“You knows dat in New Orleans is not morning 'til dee sun come up.”

― Tom Robbins, "Jitterbug Perfume"

 

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MOTTO:

 

“New Orleans food is as delicious as the less criminal forms of sin.”

― Mark Twain

 

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So here we are again - time to... EAT!

 

Well, after walking around @ Bourbon Street, we decided to try "Balcony dining."

 

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None of the recommended places was available without a certain wait period and we ended up

having dinner at the closest place in sight that had a table available immediately.

 

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After being spoiled for lunch @ "Crescent City Brewhouse" and later enjoying a magnificent view of

the Missisippi River and the French Quarter @ Galvez' Happy Hour,

balcony dining on Bourbon Street was simply not up to par...

 

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VIDEO (Bourbon Street - view from Balcony dining on a Sunday):

 

 

Was it terible? No.

 

 

However, nothing memorable, so what I personally remember the most was being fascinated by...

people watching @ Bourbon Street:

 

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“If there was no New Orleans, America would just be a bunch of free people dying of boredom."

(Judy Deck in an e-mail sent to Chris Rose)

― Chris Rose, "1 Dead in Attic"

 

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VIDEO (Tapping along @ Bourbon Street on a Sunday evening):

 

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Leaving the Balcony dining and continue to stroll along the Bourbon Street

on a Sunday evening (September 30, 2012):

 

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"There's nothing to toast

Just an empty glass

And a bottled up ghost

Down on Bourbon Street"

 

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BOURBON Street - where BEADS are flung from the balconies to revelers down below (year-round)!

 

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"There's a moon over Bourbon Street tonight

I see faces as they pass beneath the pale lamplight

I've no choice but to follow that call

The bright lights, the people, and the moon and all."

 

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"She walks everyday through the streets of New Orleans

She's innocent and young from a family of means.

I have stood many times outside her window at night

To struggle with my instinct in the pale moon light!"

 

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Though largely quiet during the day, Bourbon Street comes alive at night,

particularly during the French Quarter's many festivals (Mardi Gras anyone?).

 

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Still on "Upper Bourbon Street" - the most visited section of Bourbon Street

(an eight-block section of popular tourist attractions).

 

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"Come on in, mon amie!" Great food, music, wonderful ambiance -- we were told by the entrance door!

 

“Yes, a dark time passed over this land, but now there is something like light.”

― Dave Eggers, "Zeitoun"

 

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BOURBON Street - the vivid place where the LGBT community meets ordinary people ready to party, to have FUN!

 

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The popular Mardi Gras BEADS... thousands of them in all colors and sizes @ Bourbon Street in NOLA!!!

 

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Want to travel... in style? : - ))

 

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BOURBON Street - the place to be on Sunday night... for fun, great MUSIC and lots of food!!!

 

We started kind of a BAR Crawl, focusing more on listening to the music... and some drinking too;

and the tunes and the ambiances could not be more different from a place to another! : - ))

 

From Rock & Roll, Cajun Zydeco and Trop Rock Island style music, we did find music to keep our feet

tapping while enjoying one of the local fabulous cocktails!

 

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VIDEO (Live music at the Bayou Club on Bourbon Street, NOLA):

So come on in and get a Hand Grenade® Drink, or some of the other famous drinks

like the Shark Attack, Horny Gator® or Tropical Itch®

while you are in the French Quarter!

 

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VIDEO (Live music inside a club on Bourbon Street, NOLA):

 

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Local open container laws in the French Quarter allow drinking alcoholic beverages in the street.

 

Popular drinks include the Hurricanes, Hand Grenades and

Huge Ass Beers - a large plastic cup of draft beer marketed to tourists at a low price.

 

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VIDEO (Live music & colorful drinks @ club on Bourbon Street, NOLA):

 

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Now before entering the "red light district" section of the Bourbon Street,

we decided to stop at "The Bourbon SWAMP."

 

According to their website:

 

"Run up ‘n down Bourbon Street, you ain’t gone find another place like dis one.

The Swamp, right here at 516 Bourbon Street, got everything you lookin’ for:

 

... got da best French Quarter Courtyard full up with the prettiest bamboo you ever seen."

 

But watch out!

 

‘Cause somewhere up in that courtyard lies “SWAMP THANG“ the notorious mechanical Bull Gator."

 

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For couple of minutes, after walking through the pretty Bamboo Courtyard,

while seeping our drinks, we watched this guy who took couple of rides @

the mechanical Bull Gator:

 

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"You know some folks are even crazy enough… or drunk enough to try to ride that “SWAMP THANG” -

the Bull Gator!"

 

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VIDEO (Riding the mechanical bull in New Orleans, LA on a Sunday night):

 

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(Check out the rustic brick and aged stucco walls;

also the ornate wrought iron balcony and lush tropical French Quarter Courtyard)

 

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(Game OVER!)

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After hopping from bar to bar @ Bourbon Street, and after peeking from the street inside this one,

we decided to enter and sit at a table, listening to music over drinks.

 

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The dim lights and spooky decor were perfect for the electrifying music performances:

from jazz or blues, to rock and Country Western!

 

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Apparently, Town & Country describes CHRIS OWENS as

 

"BEAUTY IN MOTION TO A FRENETIC TEMPO!"

 

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Well, what can I say? As seen on the video clip posted below, we were very much entertained that night - no doubt!

 

VIDEO (Live entertainment @ Chris Owens Club on Bourbon Street, NOLA):

 

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“The sun goes down and it's night-time in New Orleans.

 

The moon rises, midnight chimes from St. Louis cathedral, and hardly has the last note died away

than a gruesome swampland whistle sounds outside the deathly still house.

 

A fat Negress, basket on arm, comes trudging up the stairs a moment later, opens the door,

goes in to the papaloi, closes it again, traces an invisible mark on it with her forefinger and kisses it.

 

Then she turns and her eyes widen with surprise."

― Cornell Woolrich, "The Fantastic Stories of Cornell Woolrich"

 

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Looking for another great bird’s-eye view of Bourbon Street?

 

Some of the clubs’ 2nd floor Balcony Bars have a wrap-around balcony overlooking Bourbon Street!

 

And they offer so much more than just a Balcony on Bourbon Street!

 

The warm atmosphere coupled with the interactive entertainment experience

takes the party to a whole new level!

 

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And then there is the Barely Legal Clubs area of Bourbon Street!...

 

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VIDEO (The always entertaining Bourbon Street in New Orleans, LA):

 

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“I'm not going to lay down in words the lure of this place.

 

Every great writer in the land, from Faulkner to Twain to Rice to Ford, has tried to do it and fallen short.

 

It is impossible to capture the essence, tolerance, and spirit of south Louisiana in words and

to try is to roll down a road of clichés, bouncing over beignets and beads and brass bands

and it just is what it is.

 

It is home.”

― Chris Rose, "1 Dead in Attic"

 

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So here we are... at the end of Bourbon Street...

 

 

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Crossing over into CANAL Street to return to the hotel after a long but pleasant day

(Disembarkation day in NOLA)

 

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With the popular Mardi Gras coming up soon, I would like to

wrap up our first day in New Orleans (post-cruise) with the following thoughts:

 

 

“To encapsulate the notion of Mardi Gras as nothing more than a big drunk is to take the simple and stupid way out,

and I, for one, am getting tired of staying stuck on simple and stupid.

 

Mardi Gras is not a parade. Mardi Gras is not girls flashing on French Quarter balconies. Mardi Gras is not an alcoholic binge.

 

Mardi Gras is bars and restaurants changing out all the CD's in their jukeboxes to Professor Longhair and the Neville Brothers,

and it is annual front-porch crawfish boils hours before the parades so your stomach and attitude reach a state of grace,

and it is returning to the same street corner, year after year, and standing next to the same people, year after year--

people whose names you may or may not even know but you've watched their kids grow up in this public tableau and

when they're not there, you wonder: Where are those guys this year?

 

It is dressing your dog in a stupid costume and cheering when the marching bands go crazy and

clapping and saluting the military bands when they crisply snap to.

 

Now that part, more than ever.

 

It's mad piano professors converging on our city from all over the world and banging the 88's until dawn

and laughing at the hairy-shouldered men in dresses too tight and stalking the Indians under Claiborne overpass and

thrilling the years you find them and lamenting the years you don't and promising yourself you will next year.

 

It's wearing frightful color combination in public and rolling your eyes at the guy in your office who--like clockwork, year after year--

denies that he got the baby in the king cake and now someone else has to pony up the ten bucks for the next one.

 

Mardi Gras is the love of life.

 

It is the harmonic convergence of our food, our music, our creativity, our eccentricity, our neighborhoods, and our joy of living.

 

All at once.”

 

― Chris Rose, "1 Dead in Attic"

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Back to the hotel @ Magazine Street (off Canal Street... fairly close to Bourbon Street)... Sunday night!

 

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The hotel is convenient located in the heart of Downtown New Orleans, on Magazine Street.

 

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This historic hotel is comprised of seven 19th-century buildings, giving it a charming,

boutique feel that "artfully blends old world charm with modern comforts."

 

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Our rooms were spacious, comfortable, and clean, some of them are

featuring exposed wooden beams and brick walls, making them charmingly unique

(similar to the ones seen here in the Lobby area).

 

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Good night, NOLA!

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On Monday, October 1st was one of our friends birthday, so we showered her with gifts, B-day cards and a...

virtual Birthday cake

(that we found the night before in New Orleans while window shopping on Dumaine Street,

before reaching famous Bourbon Street):

 

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We enjoyed a complimentary breakfast at the hotel that morning and

took some time to explore the historic building too.

 

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This historic hotel is comprised of seven 19th-century buildings, giving it a charming,

boutique feel that "artfully blends old world charm with modern comforts."

 

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With its welcoming décor and plentiful amenities, the Country Inn & Suites Hotel by Carlson (New Orleans,

French Quarter) offered us comfort and convenience in the heart of Downtown NOLA!

 

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Monday was yet another CLOUDY DAY, so we were unable to relax inside the heated, outdoor pool...

 

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FYI - *Taxi fare to or from the airport is flat rate of $33.00 USD for two (2) people.

 

Additional adult rate is $14.00 USD, we were advised.

 

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Our Country Inn & Suites By Carlson, New Orleans French Quarter hotel's prime location on Magazine Street

placed us guests close to many popular New Orleans activities and attractions, including Harrah's Hotel & Casino.

 

The Concierge advised us that our B-day girl can get a free spin at the Casino that day,

so Harrah's became our next stop that late morning!

 

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So we left Magazine Street and passed by the luxurious Windsor Court Hotel

(before taking a first glimpse at Harrah's exterior).

 

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You can walk from here to history — from Windsor Court to the heart of the French Quarter.

 

The Quarter is timeless. And eternally gracious!

 

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Voila!

 

Harrah's - the 115,000 sq ft casino with approximately

2,100 slot machines, over 90 table games and a poker room!

 

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Harrah's New Orleans - the only land-based private casino with table games in the state by Louisiana law

(there are other casinos in the state with their gambling facilities

on floating boats and horse racing racinos with slot machines).

 

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Harrah's New Orleans is referred to in state statute as "the official gaming establishment."

 

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Our B-day girl got her free spin and she won couple of bucks that Monday @ Harrah's!

 

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With 104 table games and a world-class 23-table poker room, Harrah’s Casino New Orleans

offers card players an endless array of options to try their luck!

 

French Quarter-style décor, Mardi Gras floats, New Orleans artwork and

the occasional wandering brass band give gamblers a full dose of the Big Easy!

 

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Our B-day girl received from the Casino not only a free spin for her birthday and

also a complimentary voucher for the Buffet.

 

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All of us decided to dine comfortably in the 400-seat, seven-station buffet complete with some of NOLA's favorites.

 

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And due to the generosity of the Cashier, we were ALL able to feed our hunger quickly for FREE!

 

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Yes, FREE Buffet for all of us as the Cashier decided to kindly hand us a $50.00 USD voucher

left at the cash register by a guest who got lucky at the tables.

 

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Thank you, New Orleans & Harrah's!

 

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From the Pacific Rim to Creole and French fare, the Buffet @ Harrah's is complete with something scrumptious for everyone.

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Because of a Good Samaritan, we treat ourselves to several wonderful Buffet options @ Harrah's... for FREE !!!

 

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Finally, did I mention their famous "Sweet Treats" dessert bar?!

 

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With over 40 different items to choose from, one may have a tough time deciding!

 

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