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Travel Photography | New York City

In October of 2013, I was registered to run a marathon in Washington DC.  I felt we would be remiss to fly to the East Coast and not visit at least one major city other than DC.  Boyfriend and I settled on New York City: he had never been and I was excited to visit with my old college friends who live there now.

When I lived in Texas, I would travel to NYC frequently since it was an easy non-stop flight.  I hadn’t been back since moving to the West Coast and I how I have missed it!  New York City is a special place: not one that I’d ever like to live in, but certainly one that I enjoy vacationing in.  From amazing food, to fun character filled bars, to gorgeous museums and parks, NYC has something to offer everyone.

When we first started planning the vacation, I firmly told Boyfriend that at least one musical would have to be seen.  He complained about everything from the unforeseen price to the unknown forthcoming experience until the show started.  On a tip from my friend Darbi, we bought tickets at TKTS for Once.  It was the BEST musical I’ve ever seen. 

Once is the musical adaptation of the movie from Glen Hansard by the same name.  When it debuted, the musical received eleven Tony Award nominations and won 8 of those awards.  Less than ten minutes into the show, we could see why.  The cast, which also serves as the orchestra, was absolutely outstanding on their minimalist bar-themed set.   During intermission, the audience can walk up onstage and order drinks from the stage bar!

 In addition to Once, we also went to see an Off-Broadway production of Avenue Q, which I knew would appeal to Boyfriend’s love of non-PC humor.

There is an unbelievably long laundry list of things to do while visiting New York City that I won’t even begin to attempt to start.  Instead, here were the highlights of this particular trip for us:

STAY: We have the good fortune of staying with friends for free, but if we didn’t, I’d totally utilize Airbnb to book an adorable room in an East Village Apartment or book a totally affordable room pod at The Pod Hotel, where a room will set you back as little as $95 on a weeknight. EAT BREAKFAST:

  • At any New York City Bodega, where the cream cheese is plentiful, the bagels delicious and the breakfast sandos are made to order for less than the cost of a Venti Drip at Starbucks.

EAT DINNER:

  • Swine - A gastropub with killer cocktails and an extensive and mouthwatering menu peppered with delights like bacon mac’n’cheese, chicken and waffles, and bacon wrapped dates.
  • Joe’s Pizza - I was tipped off to Joe’s thanks to Jimmy Fallon, who likes to support businesses he loves on Twitter.  The pizza was everything you want in a New York pie: hot, messy, and sold by the slice.  Established in 1975 by Joe Pozzuoli, who is originally from Naples, Italy (the birthplace of pizza), Joe’s Pizza is a “Greenwich Village institution” offering the classic New York slice for over 37 years.

DRINK:

  • Upright Brew House in the West Village serves craft beers on tap and in the bottle from New York, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, and the Bronx.
  • Jimmy’s Corner was an unbelievable find.  In a town of $14 beers, we managed to order two and a shot of whiskey in this dive bar and our total bill was less than $10.   Found oddly tucked away in the middle of tourist chaos in Times Square, as soon as you duck inside everything is quiet and calm.  There long narrow bar is covered in photos from Jimmy’s days as a boxing guru and the jukebox has nothing but jazz albums.  Other than myself, Jimmy’s wife Swannie was the only woman in the bar.

SEE THEATER:

  • TKTS - Do not do TKTS as the tourists do, which is to wait in line for hours trying to buy tickets.  Either mosey on down to the South Street Seaport late in the afternoon and buy tickets for whatever strikes your fancy OR mosey on up to the window in Times Square after 6:00 PM, which is long after the rush.  Sometimes theater’s will release additional seats to shows not available earlier in the day.

EXPLORE:

  • The High Line - The High Line is a public park built on a historic freight rail line elevated above the streets on Manhattan’s West Side.  It is maintained as a public space for residents and visitors to enjoy by a non-profit group that works with the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation and is open every day from 7 AM to 7 PM.

Destination Wedding Preview | Haley + Dave

 Is there anyone more beautiful and stylish than my best mate?

The answer is clearly and emphatically NO.

I can’t wait to share photos with you from our wonderful weekend in Temecula to celebrate her marriage to a man that I also love very much.  I’m so happy they found each other.  I’m so happy they wed.  I’m so happy she hired a really talented photographer to shoot the ceremony and reception because it meant I got to dance so hard I got blisters on my toes.  I’m so happy I was able to wine and dine and play and laugh and love with my friend and her friends on such a special weekend.

Until I finish, there’s this to tide you over.

Reason #4,876 why Haley is my best mate: she laughs as loud as I do.

Wilson-Musial-6325

Brunch with Friends in Austin

After spending a week in New Orleans, we flew to Austin, TX to celebrate a good friend’s wedding. It was a bit of a whirlwind weekend, just to carry on the party vacation theme, and we ran ourselves ragged by going to my favorite new music festival, Fun Fun Fun Fest. Boyfriend was happier at this festival than I’ve ever seen him, primarily because he had an entire stage dedicated to him (see: black). Boyfriend would arrive each day and promptly head to his stage where there was a steady stream of metal, punk and “friendly, violent fun” aka moshing and then every once in awhile he’d run over to my hipster stages, out of breath and dirty, and say, “Girlfriend, I need a beer! It’s INSANE over there!” and then away he would go, disappearing for a few more hours.

Austin City Limits Festival has always been my go-to fest. I had been every year since the beginning until this year, when my schedule got the best of me and I had to sell my ticket. I was awfully sad but in hindsight, after hitting both Voodoo Fest and Fun Fun Fun Fest, I think I may be done with ACL Fest. I think it has outgrown me.

See, for me, the beauty in a music fest is the ability to wander aimlessly and discover new bands and new music. ACL Fest, however, has gotten SO big that even the smallest bands on the list are well known and the crowds are SO out of control that it’s hard to get from stage to stage. It has, in short, become a bit of a chore. I didn’t realize this until I attended Voodoo fest, where even at it’s most crowded you could still walk almost all the way to the front of the stage with very little hassle and the number of bands I didn’t know far outnumbered the names of bands I did.

Fun Fun Fun Fest offered the same atmosphere, but packaged in a slightly alternative box: complete with a comedy stage, wrestling ring and a huge skate park, all within the confines of the fest walls. First of all, we had the opportunity to see legendary rappers Run DMC. Seriously! First show in 13 years! How rad is that?! While Boyfriend was moshing, I also got to check out The Head and the Heart, Real Estate, Surfer Blood, Icona Pop, Helio Sequence, STRFCKR, and my favorites from the weekend, Nick Waterhouse and Tanlines. Fun Fun Fun Fest and Voodoo Fest reminded me of why I love music festivals in the first place and how ACL fest no longer meets those needs for me. Fun Fun Fun Fest may just have to be my new Austin Fall Festival. Boyfriend certainly will not complain about that!

While in Austin we were able to visit with the Brooks’, who always open their home to us, dance at my friend Jason’s wedding at Green Pastures, spend dinner with my ATX climbing crew that I always travel with and have breakfast with always adorable and gorgeously put together friend Liana and her husband Terry. I am traveling with the two of them to Music Fest, a Texas themed music fest and ski vacation in Steamboat Springs this January and I can’t wait!

After a week of rich, fried food in New Orleans, I thought I was getting scurvy so our meals were veggie and fruit filled. For brunch, we had a veggie egg scramble, homemade pancakes and a huge fruit salad. It was just what I needed. The Brooks’ are fans of the Chemex Coffee Maker, supposedly designed by a chemist to “Brew A perfect cup of coffee everytime” through “fractional extraction of only the desirable parts of the coffee bean.” It does make pretty damn good coffee, though I’m not sure it’s any better than my beloved thermal carafe.

Despite the quick trip and whirlwind weekend in Austin, we had a blast. I didn’t get to see as many folks as I hoped but they know I’ll be back. I always have time for Austin.

And coffee.

And fruit.

New Orleans: City of Dreams

New Olreans, Street Car, Garden District, St. Charles St

The St. Charles Streetcar

It was our last full day in New Orleans. Unfortunately, the Maple Leaf had given boyfriend the wrong credit card back. It was about a 45 minute bike ride from the Treme. We decided to take advantage of the need to return to that side of town by taking a ride on the iconic St. Charles Streetcar Line.

Bywater, New Orleans, Breakfast, Praline Bacon

Elizabeth’s in the Bywater: breakfast all day.

That being said, we couldn’t be running around town without the most important meal of the day in our bellies so we started with an unbelievable breakfast in the Bywater at Elizabeth’s, where everything is made from scratch and the bloody mary’s are huge and spicy. Elizabeth’s is known for something a little quirky: praline bacon. I was nervous to order it at first, being that I don’t care for sweet things, but the numerous rave reviews on yelp convinced me that I should. It’s a very strange but unbelievably addicting fusion of smoky crispy bacon and cane syrup, brown sugar and pecans. It was perfectly balanced for my discerning taste buds: not too sweet and just salty, peppery and smoky enough to balance it out.

Elizabeths, Bywater, praline bacon, New orleans

The bloody mary at Elizabeth’s in the Bywater – worth the trip!

After venturing all the way back to Oak St, I lamented that we should stop into Snake and Jake’s, a dive bar so divey that it’s Christmas year round and holds residence in a garage, but didn’t. Instead, we choose to participate in another New Orleans tradition: happy hour at the Columns. I dare you to sit on the porch of the Columns sipping wine or Abita and not imagine sitting on that very porch at the turn of the century.

Garden District, New Orleans, Happy Hour, bed and breakfast

The Columns Hotel.

After a quick cheap dinner at Killer Po’Boys, which offers unusual twists on the standard New Orleans fare from their tiny kitchen tucked in the back of the Erin Rose Bar, we hit up Frenchman St for a brief hour to watch the Halloween chaos ensue. It was only 9 pm but the street was already so packed you could hardly walk and there was a street party duel happening between a DJ with a grocery cart and the Red Bull Truck.

New orleans, street party, Halloween, Frenchman Street

Frenchman Street Party on Halloween

We returned to our little house in the Treme early. We’d been in New Orleans one week: we ate, drank, partied, and danced every night. We were tired and filled with fried food and praline bacon and beer and remoulade to the brim. It was one of the most fun weeks of vacation I’ve had in my life and I’ve traveled extensively. Everyone needs to visit New Orleans. It’s my favorite city in the world. It’s a special place where people are happy despite the odds, where life moves at a slower pace, where the fried chicken is crispy and the music goes on all hours of the day. Visit New Orleans and fall in love with the spirit of the city.

You can see all the photos from our trip here.

New Orleans, Marigny, Bywater

Let’s fly down,
or drive down,
to New Orleans.
That city,
‘so pretty,
it’s so extreme.
I’ll take you,
I’ll parade you,
down Bourbon Street.
You’ll see all the hot spots,
you’ll meet all those big shots,
down on New Orleans.

If you want to visit New Orleans, here are my recommendations.

STAY: Rick and Liz in the Treme will make you feel like a local. Their house is wonderful, full of character and conveniently located for all your adventures. They have two private rooms they offer that include cruiser bikes to explore on. I can’t recommend Airbnb enough. A hotel cannot match the charm, comfort, and character of staying in someone’s home, especially in a city like New Orleans.
Choose from the private room we stayed in or the other private room they offer in the same home.

EAT BREAKFAST:

EAT DINNER:

DRINK:

SEE MUSIC:

EXPLORE:

BEST TIMES TO GO

CAN’T GET THERE? WATCH FOR THESE BANDS TO COME THROUGH YOUR TOWN

New Orleans, Marigny, Bywater, Jackson Square, French Quarter

I Feel like Funkin’ it Up

New Orleans, Music, Street Bands, French Quarter, Jackson Square

I feel like funkin’ it up feel like funkin’ it up
I feel like funkin’ it up feel like funkin’ it up
I feel like funkin’ it up feel like funkin’ it up
I feel like funkin’ it up feel like funkin’ it up

We had two days left to explore New Orleans and wanted to make the most of it. Thankfully, it was Tuesday and Tuesday in New Orleans means one thing and one thing only: Rebirth Brass Band plays at the Maple Leaf. The Maple Leaf is just north west of the Garden District on Oak Street. It’s dark, long and narrow. It’s hot and sweaty. And when Rebirth gets the party started up in there, people push to the front, dance on top of each other and climb up on the benches with their hands in the air.

In college, when we used to drive to New Orleans frequently to party, I spent many a Tuesday night at the Maple Leaf. I was thrilled to take Buddy there and give him a taste of a New Orleans tradition.

Rebirth was on tour this week so we were treated to their stand in, the New Birth Brass Band, which features members of the now defunct Olympia Brass Band and includes Tuba player Kerwin James, the younger brother of Philip and Keith Frazier, who are part of Rebirth Brass Band.

New Orleans, Creole Food, Oak St

We started our night on Oak St with dinner at Jacques-Imos, where you walk through the kitchen to get seated in a tiny shotgun house and may get the chance to peek at Samuel L Jackson, a frequenter of the joint. He was there the night we were, wearing a track suit, arriving on foot. Buddy and I, learning from our previous nights dinner where we ordered WAY too much food, split a rabbit appetizer and the smothered chicken entree. All the meals start out with some of the best cornbread I’ve eaten (parsley and garlic in it!) and the restaurant is lively and vivacious. We arrived just before the evening crowd, but if you happen to get there late, you can go drink in the Maple Leaf Bar and they will come find you when your table is ready.

Earlier that day, we also visited the Presbytere, part of the Louisiana State Museum. Admission is a whopping $5 and there is an exhibit on Hurricane Katrina and the history of Mardis Gras. After you visit, grab a muffuletta sandwich at Central Grocery, where the secret is in the olive salad and the charm is that you order either a half sandwich or a whole. The whole is big enough for four, the half for two. It’s ridiculously over sized, much like all plates of Southern grub. If you have extra time, eat your sandwich while you walk through the French Quarter Farmer’s Market, aptly called the French Market. It was the only place all week we found frog legs on a stick to eat and were entertained by not a brass band, but a jug band.

French Market, Street Music, French Quarter, Jackson Square, New Orleans

Jug band performs for folks in the New Orleans French Market.

French Market, Farmers Market, French Quarter, Jackson Square, New Orleans, Street Music

They got music
It’s always playin’
Start in the day time, go all through the night

When you hear that music playin’
Hear what I’m saying, it make you feel alright

Grab somebody, come on down
Bring your paintbrush, we’re paintin’ the town
There’s some sweetness goin’ ’round
Catch it down in New Orleans

Exploring Frenchman Street

Marigny, New Orleans, Frenchman, Brass Bands

Frenchman St in the Marigny

Want to know what Creole-Italian is? Head to Adolpho’s. Dining there is an experience best imagined as a marriage between your Italian Grandmother’s kitchen and a dive bar. Find it by climbing rickety stairs through a bar on Frenchman St to the upstairs room with less than 15 tables. Be adventurous and start off with fried alligator which tastes like a chewy, albeit delicious, chicken. If you’re a pescatarian, any of the fish of the day dishes topped with Ocean Sauce is the way to go. Cash only!

Adolphos, Frenchamn St, New Orleans, Creole-Italian Cuisine

Fried Alligator in Remoulade

Follow it up with a stop into the Spotted Cat Music Club to listen to the sounds of jazz, where there is never a cover and the Abita Amber is cold and cheap.

Frenchman St, Brass Bands, New Orleans, Street Music

Young Fellaz Brass Band gigs for Frenchman St passer-bys.

On your way down the street, you might get derailed by the sounds of the Young Fellaz Brass Band who can often be found gigging on the street corner. Don’t be fooled by the name: the band’s enthusiasm and talent far exceed it. Order their last album here or find them on facebook here.

New Orleans, Street Music, Frenchman, Brass Bands

New Orleans, Street Music, Brass Bands, Frenchman St

New Orleans, Street Music, Brass Bands, Frenchman St

It’s hard to tear yourself away from amazing music, especially when you find it on the street corner, but another act and more Abita is vying for your attention over at d.b.a. where the Stooges Brass Band (or via facebook) is setting up.

d.b.a., Frenchman, new orleans

The Stooges were incredible! They tour nationally so keep an eye on their events page and don’t miss the chance to boogie with one of the most hardworking and talented brass bands in the nation. I am so thrilled we stumbled upon them!

New Orleans, Frenchman St, Marigny, d.b.a., brass bands

These are a few of my favorite photos from the Stooges set at d.b.a., but you can see all of them here.

Stooges Brass Band, New Orleans, Frenchman Street, d.b.a.


I’m gonna show you how to do it
I’m gonna show you how to do it
I’m gonna show you how to do it
You got to wind it up
Like Michael Buck

Brass, New Orleans, Frenchman St, d.b.a., trombone, tuba

Museums and Cocktails

Magazine Street, New Orleans

Although we’d been in New Orleans through the weekend, our days had been consumed by Voodoo Music Fest and we really hadn’t had any time to explore the city. We awoke on Monday ready to attack the day.

My favorite meal of the day is breakfast and I really don’t care what time of day it is: breakfast is an all the time food. We were waking up in New Orleans late late late so one of our daily requirements was an all day (or at least most of the day) breakfast joint. We ate at some really fantastic breakfast restaurants, one of them being the Ruby Slipper Cafe, where they buy locally and serve breakfast literally all day. I was tempted to order the migas, which are one of my most favorite breakfast all-the-time-foods, but stuck to my quest to eat only New Orleans soul food while in the city and ordered an The Louisianan: an omelet with boiled gulf shrimp and cheddar cheese, accented with fresh thyme.

New Orleans, Breakfast, Cafe, Ruby Slipper Cafe

The Ruby Slipper Cafe was conveniently located on our ride to the National World War II Museum, located off Magazine St at Andrew Higgins Dr. The museum was founded by historian and author Stephen Ambrose and tells the story of the American Experience in World War II. It is located in New Orleans due to the importance of Andrew Higgins, a New Orleans native who according to Dwight Eisenhower, is “the man who won [World War II] for us.” Higgins and his New Orleans boat company invented and manufactured reliable landing crafts to transport troops from ship to shore and played a crucial part in our success in the war.

The museum campus is creatively designed and stunning to visit. It is a required visit for anyone traveling to New Orleans. Exhibits are open seven days a week from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. They recommend that you allow at least 3 hours to view exhibits.

After the museum, we headed back down to Jackson Square for the essential stop at Cafe Du Monde, which needs little introduction, though I will say that when the waitress mistakenly brought us two orders of beignets, we did not correct her and savored every one.

From Cafe du Monde, it was on to the Napoleon House, famed for it’s Pimm’s Cup. Their recipe claims to be “made to James Pimm’s original recipe, a closely guarded secret known only to six people.” It’s an addicting concoction of a cocktail with lemonade and cucumber that tastes crisp, clean and not to sweet.

Napoleon House, New Orleans, French Quarter

Make your own Pimm’s Cup with

  • 1 1/4 ounces Pimm’s #1
  • 3 ounces homemade lemonade
  • 7-Up
  • Thin slice cucumber

Apparently the secret is in the lemonade, a house recipe that the Napoleon house closely guards.

While the cocktail may be glittering, clean and bright, the Napoleon House is anything but. The building is fabled to have been built to house Napoleon Bonaparte after his exile but the attempt to bring him to New Orleans ended with news of his death. They play classical music upon customer request, but only classical music. It’s a must visit joint: explore a little bit of quirky New Orleans history, the dark ambiance of the bar or the bright sunshine of the courtyard, and have a classic cocktail (or four).

New Orleans, French Quarter, Pimm's Cup

We decided to go on a cocktail tour of the French Quarter and our next stop was the Bombay Club, where it feels like you are sipping martinis in someone’s living room.

Bombay Club, New Orleans, Bourban St, French Quarter, Martinis

They often have live jazz playing, offer a full menu, and are known so well for their historical menu filled with martinis that it often gets stolen and the menus are equipped with locators to prevent theft!

Sazerac, Rob Roy Martini, Bombay Club, New Orleans, Classic Cocktails, Bourban Street, Martinis, French Quarter

I decided to venture out of my comfort zone a bit and ordered a classic New Orleans drink: a Sazerac, the oldest American cocktail and the official drink of New Orleans. It’s made with a rye whiskey, absinthe or Herbsaint, and Peychaud’s Bitters. I’m not normally a fan of whiskey, but it fit the mood of the bar and kept me from slamming it back to quickly: it is a sipping drink.

Bombay Club, New Orleans, Bourban Street, French Quarter

We were starting to get hungry so we staved off dinner with an order of fried quail, which was delicately fried with an exceptionally crispy breading. It was enough to quench our hunger for the bike ride across the French Quarter to our destination for the evening: Frenchman Street in the Marigny. It was time for some more New Orleans music!

Voodoo Nap Fest

On Sunday I was tired.

We had one last day of Voodoo Fest and my favorite musician, Jack White was headlining. I was hoping is all boy band was going to play because we’d recently seen him in Red Rocks, CO with his all girl band.

We started our day off at the local cafe, Li’l Dizzy’s Cafe. I’d read that it had the “best fried chicken in New Orleans” and all boyfriend cares about is bacon so we were excited. This place was a trip.

Li’l Dizzy’s is a family run cafe, owned by Wayne Baquet. When Baquet lost his original restaurant to looting during Katrina, he moved the operation over to Esplanade in the Treme. On a Sunday morning during brunch it is absolute chaos in the joint! Waitresses are yelling at each other, yelling at customers, you ask for ice tea five times before you get it, but no matter, the fried chicken was the best I’ve ever had. They serve buffet style but you can also order off the menu, but when you do, they look at you like “you be crazy.” And if you only go to the buffet once, as I did, they throw their hand on their hip and say with some sass, “What! Girl! Shit, that ain’t no buffet! That it?”

Our last day at Voodoo fest was filled with me spending a lot of time laying on the ground and napping. In between laying on the ground and napping I huddled in a jacket and scarf because it was freezing and sometimes wiggled my hips with very little energy. I spent the whole day wondering why I was so damn tired and then I realized it was from the half marathon. D’uh.

Standouts from the afternoon included the Tangiers Blues Band, The Lost Bayou Ramblers, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, who I think came on stage for a guest appearance with every single band that played on the Preservation Hall Stage that day, and of course, Jack White, who did, in fact play with his rough and tumble all boy band.

Voodoo Music Fest, New Orleans, Music Festivals, Jack White

From top left: 1. Preservation Hall Jazz Band, 2. Lost Bayou Ramblers, 3. Tangiers Blues Band, 4. Jack White

I only had my iphone with me all weekend to take photos, which was both a blessing and a curse. I saw plenty of people with DSLRs that they’d managed to get through security, though the info for Voodoo said no pro cameras allowed. I wasn’t willing to risk bringing all my stuff all the way to City Park and getting denied entrance since it was a 20 minute bike ride. While this prevented me from running around and getting great concert photos, which is a particular passion of mine, it allowed me to really sit back over the course of the weekend and just enjoy the music instead of thinking like a photographer the whole time. It was actually quite nice.

Running Half Marathons while Dancing

When I originally planned my trip to New Orleans, it was to run the Jazz Half Marathon. Once upon a time I came up with this ridiculous idea to run a half marathon in every state, among other things. While some of the things on the list I’m no longer interested in (my goals are in a constant state of re-evaluation), this is one that’s stuck around. It appeals to my innate thirst for things that both physically and mentally challenge me.

So far, I’ve ticked CA, UT, OR, and TX off the list, where I had the worst race of my life and they rubbed it in by listing me as a male even though I’m not and I missed out on a 2nd place age group award. I really wanted to get three states in this year, but I’ll take the two.

I digress.

So, I plan a trip to run a half marathon, discover that Voodoo Music Fest was the same weekend and decided that it was totally in the realm of possibility to run a half marathon AND go to a three day music fest on the same weekend.

No. Big. Deal.

We got up at 6 AM to ride bikes down to Lafayette Square in the downtown business district where the race was set to start. I hadn’t run in three weeks because of a nagging injury from the Bizz Johnson marathon so I was more than a bit nervous. My leg still wasn’t at 100% and I gave myself a caveat: I could bail at the 5k turn around if I wasn’t feeling up to it. While I had been running fairly steadily before the Bizz Johnson, by the time I hit mile 8 my quads were feeling quite thrashed, enough so that the miles from 10 to 13 were pretty damn rough. I will say that the “whiskey shot” rest stop at mile 12 did make me giggle. In the end, my efforts were enough for a 28th place finish in my age group and a time of 1:52:55. Not too shabby for more than 2,000 runners.

After the race, we had an amazing southern brunch at Rae’s grandparents’ house and headed over to Voodoo Fest for day 2. Highlights from the day included: Treme Brass Band, K’nann (where the hell have I been? This guy is awesome!), Soul Rebels, and my favorite new find, Zeale, a kid from Austin with insane energy, a heart of gold, and mad verbal skills. I LOVED him.

I also checked out Justice, who I used to adore but apparently has been touring with the same exact show for more than three years and Metallica which was overwhelming times gazillions.

Voodoo Music Experience, Voodoo Fest, New Orleans

Clockwise from top: Voodoo Music Carnival, Zeale, Gary Clark JR, Big Chief Bo Dollis and Big Chief Monk Boudreaux with the 101 Runners.

Thanks to running a swift 13.1 miles that morning, I ended up quite saucy by the end of the day. Running + dancing = success.

Voodoo Music Experience

Our original plan had been to visit New Orleans for simply a weekend, heading to Voodoo Music Festival and showing off a bit of the city to Buddy. When I realized a good friend was getting married in Austin the following weekend, we decided to stay in LA the entire week: it simply made no sense to burn multiple days of vacation flying back and forth from CA. After missing my favorite fest, ACL Fest to move, I was jonesing for some great and new music.

We arrived in New Orleans on Thursday and after partying until the wee hours of the morning at Vaughan’s, woke up feeling not so sparky. Desperate for breakfast despite the late hour of noon, we hit up Restaurant Stanley on a tip from another cafe. This is what I ate:

Stanley, New Orleans, Creole Food, Cajun Food, Eggs Rockefeller, Jackson Square, French Quarter

That’s right. It was like THAT. Eggs Stanley: Cornmeal-Crusted Oysters, Poached Eggs, Canadian Bacon and Creole Hollandaise on a Toasted English Muffin. Serious breakfast, ALL DAY LONG. Like breakfast SHOULD be: an ALL the time food.

Voodoo Fest takes place in New Orleans’ massive “City Park,” a 1,300 acre park in the center of the city. It is the 6th-largest and 7th-most-visited urban public park in the United States! It’s also famous for holding the world’s largest collection of ancient live oak trees, some more than 600 years old. The city hosts multiple festivals a year there, including Jazz Fest.

We arrived pretty late, thanks to our headaches and need for bacon, but had plenty of time during the day to catch some standout acts. My favorites from Friday included CC Adcock and the Lafayette Marquis, The 101 Runners and their tribute to Big Chief Bo Dollis featuring Big Chief Monk Boudreaux and members of various local brass bands, Gary Clark JR, and, oddly enough, The Avett Brothers. The Avett Brothers are this band that everyone just LOVES and you’re supposed to LOVE them to and I have the albums and I just didn’t LOVE them. Until I saw the show. What is subdued, underplayed and downright boring and mellow on their album is taken to a whole new level of power and persuasiveness in their live show. I don’t know that I’ll listen to the albums still, but I would definitely go out of my way to see them tour again.

Neil Young and Crazy Horse were playing but after hearing lackluster reviews from everyone about their live show, I decided to be responsible and skip it since I had to get up at 6 AM to go run a half marathon. It was a good idea. Day 1 of Voodoo fest was in the bag and we were happy, filled with music, and worked!