Me, along with 5 other New Yorkers were invited to New Orleans, Louisiana this past weekend for the Drafts for Craftsevent at the World War II Museum. Thanks to Jet Blue for the comped airfare, it brought 6 (almost) strangers all together to experience a weekend of Louisiana food, drinks and a hell-of-a good time.
Phyl: The networking guru that shakes with his right hand & holds a bottle of Hennessy in the other.
Ruthie: The hilarious, commander-in-chief that keeps you punctual & in the center of all the action.
Hannah: The cross-fit goddess, yet reserved individual who also shares a love of fruit-roll ups, too.
Kristen: The winner of The Most Poised Award. She may just be the classiest person I’ve ever met.
Sara: The sun-kissed Californian with a personality that is always down to take a shot (or 2) with you.
That was the crew. We flew, explored and lived together for 72 hours. On our first night, we attended the Drafts for Crafts event. Local eateries smothered the event space with smells from the buttered shrimp & grits, slowly-roasted barbecue hog and a jambalaya that’ll make you wanna slap the Zatarain’s man himself.
After the event, we hit the ground running and ended up on Bourbon Street. To be ultimately honest with you, I don’t have much recollection of that night. So, yeah..
Wait. No. That’s a lie. I do remember eating Willie’s fried chicken and basically dance battling myself to Shake It Off. Oh, and there was a guy with an over-sized black t-shirt and a bluetooth ear piece who kicked me and Phyl off of the VIP stage. It was embarrassing. (the ear piece, not the public humiliation.)
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The hotel room couch was actually pretty comfortable, seeing as that’s where I woke up. “We’re leaving for brunch in 30.”, Ruthie says. Saturday’s itinerary consisted of brunch at Tivoli and Lee, a Louisiana swamp tour, downtown exploration of the French Market and dinner at Commanders Palace. (we wasted no time)
We had about 30 minutes to spare before the swamp tour bus came and picked us up. Translation: we took lots & lots of photos.
I was in complete disbelief that we’d actually see any gators on the tour. 60 seconds into the ride and our “captain?” (I guess you can call him a captain) shouted, “Look here comes Blain, one of our baby gators.” (that thing was 7 feet long!) We also saw this abandoned ship on one of the banks of the swamp and the captain said “See that boat there? That’s actually The Jennyfrom Forrest Gump.” I lock in eye contact with him to verify this and say “Are you effing kidding me, that’s really it?” He laughs. The whole boat laughs. The animals laugh. I mentally push him out of the boat…
After 13 mosquito bites, snakes and wild hog sightings from the swamp, we headed to the French Quarter to feed our sweet tooth cravings. We found this super bohemian-ish food cart called The Crepe Cart. The owners totally looked like they made their own homemade all-natural soaps and baked their own gluten-free bread. I freaking loved watching them make these treats & they were awesome.
After dinner at Commander’s Palace, we headed back to the room to catch up on some much needed sleep. The journey was at it’s end and we were mentally and physically at our peak. Special thank you to Ruthie for planning this trip and all of the new friends I made with this adventure. You guys are all gems. Stay shining.