Friday, April 18, 2014

Part 1: Road Trip to New Orleans, LA

I've been recovering from our road trip to New Orleans all week. HA! I'm kidding, but my house and wifely duties have suffered greatly.

Hence, my week-long absence. But I'm back, just hoping you guys didn't hold your breath!

SO...

This past weekend Klay and I road-tripped it to New Orleans, Louisiana to see our favorite band Kings of Leon in concert.

And, boy, did we pick a good weekend to go! The weather was incredible and we got the REAL New Orleans experience this time around.

We went in 2012 to watch the SD Chargers play the NO Saints (we are Chargers fans; go BOLTS!). Anyway, we headed down there early Sunday morning for a Sunday Night Football game and then left the next day. Needless to say, we didn't get to sight-see and never quite got a feel of the NOLA's culture.

This weekend, though, just happened to be the week New Orleans hosted a huge--and free--music festival called the French Quarter Fest. The annual festival has about 560,000 people in attendance each year, 1400 musicians of all genres across 21 stages and cuisines from some of LA's most iconic restaurants. It's dubbed "The Largest Free Festival in the South."

BUT... with every trip comes ups and downs.

It was definitely full of more ups than downs, but there were plenty of frustrations and are-you-freaking-serious moments.

Let's dive in, shall we?

So, we left late Thursday night and headed Bossier City, LA to spend the night.

It was about a 7-hour drive or so to New Orleans from my parents' house. And from our past road trip to NOLA, we knew we didn't want drive so much in one day, especially prior to the Kings of Leon concert that Friday night. So we opted to leave Thursday instead.

We had received a few things in the mail from Margaritaville (a casino in Bossier), but lost them, so Klay called to see if we could get a special promotion, especially since we would be visiting on a Thursday night.

Ya'll, we stayed there for $55! Holla!!!

Anyway, before we left, I wanted to stop of at Maurices to return something which was on the way. We had to take Brody to Klay's parents' house anyway and then to drop the dogs off at my parents' (which is literally 1.5 miles away), and the outlet mall was on the way.

We stopped, and I ran in to exchange something for some shoes and a purse for the concert. I ended up being $2.50 over. I looked in my purse for my wallet--dun dun dun--it was missing! Then, I recalled Brody playing with my purse the day before. Apparently he had taken out the wallet and hid it on the couch behind the cushions. #FML

We had to turn BACK around to go get it. It was already 6:30 p.m. and it's a 2 hour drive to Bossier City, and we still had drop off the kid and the dogs.

Klay said it was a good thing we stopped at Maurices, other wise, we probably wouldn't have known that it was missing until we got to Louisiana.

He was right...and I don't say that very often.

This trip was NOT off to a good start.

By the time we got to the hotel it was 11 o'clock. We were tired and ready to get to our room.


Things looked up when we discovered we had an end-suite with a balcony. It had two beds and a large balcony. We were really, really happy with it, especially since we've had our fair share of stays in places that look similar to the hotels in "Psycho" and "Vacancy."

NOT
EVEN
JOKING.

We had plenty of unpleasant stays on our 17-day trip from Alaska to Texas in 2011; some I had to sleep on our blankets that laid on top of the bed. It seriously would have been better if we slept in the car! I have no idea why we didn't. #roadiesforlife


Of course, we had to gamble while we were there. I mean, you can't go to Louisiana and not gamble, right?

I like the slots. Klay started playing roulette.

I didn't fare too well and lost my money pretty quick. No surprises there, Cass. 

Normally I play the quarter or dollar slots, but my money was dwindling fast so I tried the penny slots. I won about 40 bucks on one and then lost it. Story of my life. 

I went to check on Klay and watched him for a bit. He ended up about 80 dollars ahead, so we only ended up losing about 20 bucks all together! Yes, I blew a hundred in an hour. #wasntthefirsttime


We left early the next morning to ATTEMPT to get to New Orleans around 3ish. But we were definitely tired from the night before and went to bed around 3 a.m.

We talked and laughed along the way. Klay made fun of me and cracked jokes, as always--primarily about my feet. Despite hitting a little traffic, we arrived to New Orleans around 3:30-3:45 p.m.


We headed to the bed and breakfast Klay booked for us. We had searched for hotels for two weeks, but everything downtown on the weekends were listed for about $300 per night. Um... where's the nearest Motel 6? Ha! I'm kidding--kind of--but we tried to save money where we could.

Anyway, Klay booked a bed and breakfast so we could try something different. And, it had great reviews and was half the cost per night than the hotels downtown. By the time we pulled up, it was about 4ish.

The house was pretty on the outside--the classic NOLA look. I wasn't sure what to expect when we went inside. I saw two pictures of rooms online and the place looked very old and antique-y. Klay isn't big on "Grandma-style/museum housing" so I kind of knew he wouldn't dig it.


Immediately when we walked in we got a wiff of old, "this-is-place-is-ancient" smell. The doors were massive, the staircases were steep, the halls narrow, the floors creaked and the smell was just OLD. Mona-Lisa-looking paintings of people (who weren't Mona Lisa) hung on the wall. I felt like I stepped back in time. I was surprised they had electricity. HA! I kid, I kid.

Klay gave me a look like "WTF did I get us into" and I smiled because I knew what he was thinking.

The guy was super nice and showed us our room. We apparently had a suite, if you could call it that. We walked in to a pretty good sized room with our own bathroom that definitely could barely fit one person in it. It was tiny; pictures are deceiving ya'll.

He left us there and walked out. We didn't take our bags out of the car yet because we wanted to check out the place first.

As soon as the hotel dude shut the door, I sat down on the lower corner of the bed gauging Klay's reaction as he examined the room. The floors and the rooms were filthy--dust bunnies galore.


"I'm not into all of this old stuff and these people [in the paintings] staring at us. It's creepy," he said.

I did kind of feel like I may see a ghost at any moment, so I understood where he was coming from. My primary issue is smell and cleanliness. And I have a STRONG sense of smell. It's pretty much like a curse.

Klay sat on the corner at the top of the bed (by the headboard) and that's when I heard a CRACK, KERPLUNK, BAM!

YA'LL,

THE
DAMN
BED
BROKE

and

KLAY
TUMBLED
ONTO
THE FLOOR.

"Oh my God! Klay! You broke the bed!" I said laughing.

He stood up smiling and examined where the bed broke.

Apparently someone had wrapped a clothes hanger around the bed post to try to keep it up.

We had only been there ALONE for barely two minutes in that room and the bed broke.

ONLY US.

If anyone asks, Klay was going to blame it on our crazy "sex-ca-pades."

I didn't have any make up on which meant I still had to get ready for the concert which started at 8 p.m. It was now 4:30 and we needed to decide if we wanted to stay here (if they had another room available) or if we can manage to find a hotel nearby for a reasonable price so I could FIX all of this (meaning myself) for the concert.


Klay and I went to tell the guy what happened, he came and checked it out and agreed it wouldn't be fixable, so he went to call his boss to ask what he should do. Klay and I talked and pretty much decided we would try to call some hotels either way (maybe this was a sign we shouldn't stay here), but we waited for the fella to come back and give us options.

He told us that the owner knew the bed needed fixing, but hadn't gotten around to it yet. Well, DUH!

They had one more room available. We went up a huge flight of stairs into a bright neon orange room, with a "kitchenette" which was pretty much just counter tops and cabinets that we wouldn't use anyway. It had a living room area with a twin bed and a couch I wouldn't sit on to save my life. The linens on the bed were old, smelly and faded. Nothing was clean or updated. Everything looked like it was originally from the house when it was built in the 1840s.

It was about 40 degrees warmer than the room downstairs. We asked the guy to give us a minute to talk it over.

We had already paid the deposit so we needed to get it back. But we pretty much knew we didn't want to stay in this room. It was unsettling with the bright colored walls and the steep flight of stairs that looked like they could collapse any moment.

The other room was like the Ritz compared to this one.

Klay called Hotels.com to see if we could book a room at the Hyatt Regency downtown (which was two blocks away from the Smoothie King Center where Kings of Leon was playing). When we had looked earlier that week rooms were $300+ a night, but online it was saying it was now $160 per night.

We booked a room at the Hyatt and decided it would be a better option anyway, especially since we were closer to the concert. I guess since it was the same day, the hotels cut the price so they could fill more rooms.

We went downstairs and told the guy we were going to leave. He apologized and refunded the money. We headed to the Hyatt which was only two miles or so down the road.

We had to park in public parking because we didn't want to bay $40 a night to valet (which was the only parking this hotel had). I wasn't about to spend $80 to park for two nights. No way, no how, see ya! (SNAPS!)

So, we paid to park for $20 a day in a nearby lot across the street. Mind you, we are in downtown New Orleans so there are buildings, cars and stoplights galore.

We could only pay for one day at a time so we'd have to make back down there before it expired at 5 p.m. the next day.

We walked across with our luggage in tow and waited to cross again on the median.

This white BMW zoomed passed us trying to beat a yellow light to turn left. She was in the lane closest to us nearly hitting Klay who stood in front of me.

She turns left and we cross. We were talking about the crazy driver and were about 10 feet into the street when we hear BAM, SCREECH, BAM!

The sound of glass shattering echoed for a second and Klay and I turned around. The BMW ran a red light and was T-boned. Airbags deployed, glass was everywhere and two cars were destroyed. We were only 30 feet away or so from the now, wrecked car.

My heart pounded, everyone stared at the wrecked cars. When we reached the other side, we turned around to look again. The guy who t-boned her got out to check on her (she was still on her phone). Everyone around us said "She ran a red light. It was her fault." They weren't talking to us, but talking to their friends who stood nearby.

Klay and I continued on to the hotel. My heart was still racing. I was clearly shaken. I'd never witnessed a wreck like that before, much less being so close nearby--and pedestrians on top of that.

I can't even imagine how high my blood pressure was. I was already stressed about having to get ready, my hair was a hot mess and needed washing, we had witnessed a wreck, and booked a new hotel room because Klay broke the bed at the B&B we were supposed to stay at.

Gosh, that was a long sentence. But that's how it felt! It was one thing after the next, after the next.

With our luck, we'd get to the Hyatt and they wouldn't know who we were or where our reservation was! Luckily that didn't happen.

We walked in, they knew who we were, had our room ready and went up two escalators to get to the elevators so we could go to our room on the 19th floor. Yes, 19th!

This place was like a mini airport, ya'll. It had 4 restaurants and a Starbucks all in one place--and I'm a coffee whore--so I was stoked.

We went to the elevators, which had a touch screen panel to select your floor. It was fancy, schmancy.

We made it up to our floor and into our room. I immediately started to get ready and asked Klay to call and order some food from one of the restaurants to be sent up. We needed to eat a little something before the concert. It was now 5:30 or so and I didn't know what I was going to wear or when we should leave. We decide we should leave around 6:45 and walk over.

My BFF Cami also came to New Orleans to see KOL too. So, we planned to meet up with her and her friend Jeremiah before the concert started.

I got ready--tried to curl my hair--but it wasn't working. I really wanted to wash it, but I didn't have time. So it stayed straight and messy and I sprayed the shit out of it with dry shampoo. #oilyhairproblems

Klay and I headed to the concert and walked in to the lines to get your handbags and pockets checked prior to entering.

This fool pulls out his ($50) pocket knife he forgot he had on him (which they saw) and he had to throw it away. They didn't even check our pockets... they required us to take stuff out so he could have made it through with it had he not pulled it out. He clearly wasn't thinking. UGH. Yet, another frustration.

I could feel our bank out depleting at every new expense:

New Hotel: CHA-CHING
$40 Parking: CHA-CHING
$50 Pocket Knife in trash: CHA-CHING

Needless to say, I was in dire need of a beer after everything that had happened in the past two hours. I just wanted to enjoy an adult beverage and relax.

Klay was MR. Grumpy Pants after the knife thing. We could have taken it back to the hotel because we were so close, but he didn't want to.

Luckily, Cami and Jeremiah came in and saved the day. Our moods shifted as we gossiped and talked about anything and everything before the concert. And Jeremiah was pretty amazing at feeding us drinks and shots every few minutes. Our hands were rarely empty throughout the ENTIRE weekend. Thanks, J!


I was so ready for KOL to come on stage. This is the band I obsess over. I know almost every song they sing. I listen to them all the time and Klay and I have a sentimental history with them.

Their music reminds of us of different parts of our lives. From living in Alaska to our trip across the country to the birth of our son, we are tethered to this band and their music forever.

Plus they rock.

The concert was so amazing, even though this wasn't the first time for us to see them in concert! I sang so much I was afraid I wouldn't be able to talk the next day. If you follow my instagram, you can check out a video that basically proves I should never sing in public.




It was a blast.

As soon as it was over, we headed to Bourbon Street with Cami and Jeremiah.

Group Selfie!
Daiquiris!
Always a good time with this lovely!
And they were huge!
This guy was the cutest guy on Bourbon!
Deep Convo and a Cami Photobomb. 
Why is everyone pointing? 

Things were a bit crazy, beads were thrown, drinks were drank, shots were shot, food was eaten, selfies were selfie-d...

And well, what happens in NOLA, stays in NOLA.

It was such a good time!

We didn't make it back to our hotel til after 3 a.m.

So what do you think happened the next day? It was a doozy.

Click to read part 2!

Best,