The past weekend, Dan and I loaded up the car and headed down to New Orleans for the Voodoo Music Festival. We took two of our best friends; Chelsey and Brooklin. We had a fantastic time; mostly on Sunday night after we reunited. Yea, it was that kind of vacation. We did learn some things that you should never do in New Orleans, though.
But first, here’s some pics of us in our awesome Mad Max costumes:
Never accept a scarf from a kindhearted stranger; no matter how cold you are.
Brooklin made the mistake of accepting a scarf from a guy we met at Voodoo Festival. He was a tall, dashing guy with long hair that flowed in the wind. He said he was from Dallas and his name was Adonis. The mysterious stranger told Brooklin to “just give it back Sunday.” Whoever he was, our bad fortune started the minute we walked off with the scarf.
No, Adonis was neither of these guys:
Here’s how we saw Adonis:
Here’s what he probably really looked like:
2. Don’t leave your friends behind.
“Oh no problem, girl, we’ll just meet up later!,” I exclaimed after Chelsey realized she forgot her bus pass. Three hours later and there was still no sign of Chelsey and Brooklin. They got lost and ended up stranded in a homeless camp. Fortunately, they were able to reach Adonis, who gave them a ride back to Voodoo.
3. Don’t pick fights with guys who are older, smarter, and bigger.
Dan had a rough day. He panicked when Chelsey and Brooklin never showed up at the meeting spot; feeling he would ultimately be responsible for their demise with Adonis. When we found a good spot in the crowd later for Foo Fighters, a guy named Ralph told Dan we were in his spot. Thinking back to an infamous corndog incident at a festival years ago, Dan went into defense mode.
Security was called, and Dan was asked to move. He backed down and apologized to the Ralph, which was an awesome move. Everything worked out, because Ralph turned out to be one of the most amazing people we’ve ever met at a festival. He owned a business and had brought all of his employees to Voodoo. Dan and Ralph bonded while discussing the Uncle Hershel’s Breakfast at Cracker Barrel. Ralph bought us drinks and hung out with us all the way through Foo Fighters. Seriously, Ralph = goals.
I didn’t get a photo of Ralph, so here’s a recent Sean Astin:
4. Don’t assume the street car will accommodate you in a large crowd.
We met up with Brooklin and Chelsey after the show and planned out our night. We decided to go back to the hotel, change into warmer clothes, and then go to Bourbon Street. As we walked out of the park, we saw the large line for the street car. We decided to walk up a block or two to the next stop, where it would be less crowded.
When we arrived at the next stop, we waited for the street car. When it came, it passed us by. It didn’t stop at all. I ran alongside of it for a block until I realized it was long gone. I checked Uber, and the peak pricing was already up to nearly $60. We walked, and walked some more. Finally, a train stopped and we got on. It took us over two hours just to “leave” the festival.
5. Don’t (literally) lose your money at Harrah’s.
Our hotel was close to Harrah’s Casino. When we got off the street car, we decided to “just stop in real quick and play like five dollars.” Over an hour and seven drinks later, Dan had lost five, I’d lost five, Brooklin lost five, and Chelsey, in an run of sheer luck, won $5. The rest of us were hopeless. Even pulling out a photo of my great-grandma Miriam the Medium didn’t help.
We suddenly realized it was passing 2 a.m. and we needed to head out. We cashed out our money and went back to the hotel.
6. Don’t (literally) lose your money at Harrah’s.
That’s not a typo; this tip goes in twice. In true Dan fashion, he passes out as soon as we walked in. Chelsey, Brooklin and myself had other plans. We changed, and started out the door.
“Hey, where’s my wallet?,” Chelsey asked. We looked around.
“I’m sure it’s here somewhere,” I assured her.
We looked, and looked, and looked. We even woke up Dan so that he could look. Brooklin went down to the front desk and asked if a wallet had been turned in. Nothing. It was just… nowhere.
After four grown adults tore the room to shreds searching, sheer panic set in for Chelsey. She knew it was gone. First came anger, second came questions, and third came tears.
She came to two conclusions: she was ether pickpocketed (not likely), or she’d left it in the casino bathroom. She tried to check her online banking to see if anyone had used her cards; but the service wasn’t working. She ran out of the room; frustrated and angry. Brooklin and I followed as we headed to the casino.
On the walk over, we passed street drunks, some ratty guys trying to pick us up, and multiple girls in tiny Halloween costumes. Chelsey was absolutely livid, and with good reason. When we walked by, people didn’t just scoot over; they dove to get out of our way.
In loving memory of all the wallets that have been taken away by rogue dragons:
7. Don’t dig in random trashcans.
We made it to the casino. Chelsey wasn’t allowed in because she didn’t have her I.D. (which was in her wallet). Brooklin and I went to the slot machines we were sitting at, the money exchange, and finally the bathroom. We looked in every stall. Nothing. We then started digging through the trash. I put my bare hands on old underwear, some rubber gloves, and God only know what else. No, really.
“What’s that for?,” Brooklin asked as she pointed toward a Sharps needle container on the wall.
I hesitated. “Ummmm… diabetes. I guess a lot of people here have it, um, yea.”
Needless to say, we got out of there pretty quick after that. The wallet was still missing.
I dug around in a few trashcans on the way out. I figured whoever took it just got the cards and cash and ditched the rest.
“Chelsey, we all love you, but no one in New Orleans needs your Huntsville Thrift Mart reward card.”
8. Never assume the worst.
We walked back to the hotel in silence. We decided to just go to bed, since it was already 4:30 a.m. by this point. As we all changed into our pajamas, Chelsey started taking her suitcases off the bed. She just wanted to go home.
I was getting into my bed when I heard Chelsey absolutely sobbing. Not frustrated tears like before, but bawling tears. It was a sound you only hear when someone is very, very sad. I don’t deal very well with sadness, so I didn’t look at her. I really didn’t know what to do or what assistance I could offer.
Chelsey asked for Brooklin very softly. “Brooklin? Brooklin?”
Brooklin came over to console her.
“It… it was here,” Chelsey said, and held up her big brown wallet. It had been underneath a suitcase the entire time. Four grown adults had searched the room; we still have no idea how it suddenly turned up, 100 percent in tact.
If you’d like to contribute to Chelsey’s wallet needs, he’s a similar one for sale on Etsy. Seriously, click the picture. Do it.
9. Stay away from the bars along S. Peters Street across from the Springhill Suites.
This tip is more specific than the rest, and for good reason.
Chelsey felt horrible for the wallet incident, and she wanted take Brooklin and I out to thank us. Since it was so late (remember, it was 4:30 a.m.), we decided to just go to the bars across the street. The bars looked really cool and had a hipster-style vibe. We could tell it was less touristy, too.
We cleared off our crying faces, reapplied a little makeup, and walked over. Chelsey approached the bar to order us drinks.
Everything would have been fine, except the bartender, well, basically refused to serve us. He never looked our way, totally ignored us, and then yelled a bunch of obscenities at the other patrons. Finally, when Chelsey did get his attention, he was blazingly rude. It was almost as if we were at one of those joke places where the staff yells at you. It was weird.
We weren’t feeling the vibe at all; as it seemed way more “bro” than we liked. We walked out and decided to go ahead and walk to Bourbon Street.
“Hey, if you’re in, I’m in,” Brooklin said.
10. Don’t put your phone on “driving directions” when you are actually walking.
During the grand wallet crisis of 2017, my phone decided it would be a perfect opportunity to install the new iOs. Brooklin put the directions to Bourbon Street on her phone, only to realize a half hour later that it was on driving mode.
We walked around the back streets of New Orleans at 5 a.m., finally making it to Bourbon Street at 5:30 a.m. For some weird reason, it seemed like the night had absolutely flown by. The party was a little lighter, but still going strong. The way I saw it, there were five subparts to a night on Bourbon Street: 1) the normies, 2) the drinkers 3) the drunks 4) the people being carted out on stretchers, and 5) these people:
We still had a blast, despite the time. We ate the most delicious pizza ever with Popeye the Sailor Man, saw Ace Venture shivering in his pink tutu, downed Jello Shots and danced the sun up with the Statue of Liberty and Dustin from Stranger Things.
Brooklin and I found the only place still serving alcohol. I’d promised her a fishbowl Margarita, but those places were all closed. We settled on one of those giant Margarita things that people walk around with instead. I got regular Margarita flavored, and she got an Orange Sherbert flavored one.
We walked out of the store and decided to start heading back to the hotel. After Brooklin took a few sips, I heard a terrible “whoosh.” I looked over, and her drink had splattered all over the pavement. I offered to buy her another, but we decided to just share the one I had. After the Jello Shots, it was more than enough.
On the way back to the hotel, Chelsey found 100 dollars. She opened it up when we made it to the room.
“United States of Halloween? Ohhhhhhhh.”
11. Never take your keys out of a push-button ignition while the car is still on.
Lesson learned the hard way on this one. As we went to eat lunch the next day, we passed several boxes of legit Voodoo items on the streets. When we came back to the car, it was totally dead. Apparently, the ignition can still be on even with the key out.
Of course we panicked, but decided there was nothing we could do. We decided to just make the best of it on the last day of the festival.
This lil guy:
12. Don’t get lost alone.
We hung out for Louis the Child and Post Malone. Both were amazing and awesome. Post Malone was way overcrowded, and I ended up holding Brooklin on my shoulders so she could see. People kept walking by and yelling “so strong!”
The Killers were about to start, so there was a mad rush from Post Malone to the larger stage. I looked down for one second to make sure I had my sweater, but *poof* everyone was gone. Just scattered to the wind.
I ended up watching a few songs and then walking around to find them. Of course, cell service wasn’t working at all. After an hour, I gave up and decided to just watch the show from under a nearby canopy.
No sooner than I sat down, I looked up and saw Dan, Chelsey and Brooklin. In true festival fashion, we hugged as if we hadn’t seen each other in years.
As we walked back to the car, our luck started changing. I realized the car had roadside assistance through State Farm. I called, and the car was up and running in less than 15 minutes. Even though the festival had ended, a giant hole suddenly opened, and there was zero traffic leaving.
Then Brooklin and Chelsey realized it. A mere 30 seconds before we reunited, they’d met up with Adonis and returned his scarf.
We thought about it.
All of Saturday night into Sunday morning, we always had the scarf somewhere on us. I was wearing it when I ran for the street car. At the casino, we started losing money as soon as Chelsey pulled the scarf out of her purse. When she lost her wallet in the hotel room, I’d just wrapped it around my ears to go out. On our way to Bourbon street, the scarf flew off my neck. I’d ran back to retrieve it; narrowly missing a car in the process. As we walked more, the scarf became entangled in a mass of construction equipment; yanking me backwards.
“That scarf had some bad joo joo,” Chelsey said.
And that brings us back to tip number one: Never, ever, accept a scarf from a mysterious man in New Orleans. No matter how cold you are.