Who Dat in New Orleans for the Superbowl?!

I woke up in New Orleans, it was the tuesday before the superbowl and the excitement in the city was palpable and ever present. I wandered into the city after a bowl of leftover chili, "Who Dat?!" signs and black and gold were everywhere. I made my way to the casino and won $10 on video roulette, then went immediately to decatur to spend it.

I got a beer at a corner store, Jackamo IPA; the great thing about New Orleans is that you can drink outside. I walked the beer to a small park and listened to some live music playing nearby while I enjoyed the hoppy beer.

I slipped into a bar named Coops where I got a cup of Jambalaya and another Abita beer, the bock this time. From there I walked to another park where Heather had left her bike days ago, I found it covered in beads from one party or another, ulocked it, and rode it back to her house right as whe was getting home on lunch break from the last day of her sign spinning job.

When she went back to work I laid down and passed out for a bit, waking up right as she got back again at the end of her day. She made black eyed peas for dinner, then we started formulating costumes for some sort of clown fairly hawaiaan themed party. Her and richard had decent costumes, mine was simply my airplane shirt and a hard hat she had laying around.

We arrived at the bar with this party was, a room full of people who'd gone all out on their clown costumes with a performance going on in front on a small stage. The group called themselves the fairies, this was some sort of mardi gras related party to crown the new queen. We stayed for that and then got a beer and munched on the free buffet, laughing and enjoying the impressive array of costumes people had thought up. Heather spotted a guy wearing nothing but an unbottoned shirt swinging his shlong around, we left shortly after this.

We went to a bar near their house, Bud Rips, a little dive bar that you may never know was there, it blended into the residential area it was entrenched in. The pitchers were cheap, $3, we had one of these between the three of us before heading back to Heather's for sleep.

The next morning I once again munched on some leftover chili, there was quite a bit, then biked to the casino again to win $16 worth of beer and food money for the day. I biked to a place called Willy Maes, apparently known for it's fried chicken, only to find it was closed. I instead picked up some more Abita beers at the corner store I'd been going to, drinking one right away and bringing a big bottle of Andygator back to Heather's and enjoyed it with her. That eased us into a night of simple dinner and a movie.

It rained hard the next day, all day. Heather was occupied with a power sander she was renting for the day, working on another room in the house. I biked into the rain and grabbed a poboy sandwich with really great sausage. From there I made my now daily trip to Harrahs, this time pulling in $18, from there I went to a bar off Bourban called Johnny Whites where Shana and Luke were drinking, friends I'd stayed with in Vegas and most recently shared a whiskey fueled night with back in New York.

They'd just moved to New Orleans, Shana was supposed to be looking for a job at a bar, but was instead enjoying being a customer. After a drink, we headed to another bar where they grabbed a bite and we all got more drinks. Shana knew the area well, we wound up in another place she liked with 3 for 1 drinks, which equated to a big triple drink for myself. I then left them to their ways and biked to the corner store to pick up a few more beers, threw them in my backpack and headed back to Heather's place.

Her roommates were home now, returning from their trip out west. They had a game night planned, some more people arrived at the house for games of scrabble and whatnot, Luke and Shana came to the house eventually as well to partake in this. I ended the night talking with Heather finishing a jug of wine, talking and reminiscing about our hitchhiking trip from back when.

In the morning I threw my still soaked pants in the dryer from the rainy biking, I relaxed up in the loft while the four roommates caught up on what had happened in their days apart. I soon hopped back on Heather's green bike towards the french quarter and over to Harrahs with thoughts of repeating my somewhat ritualistic start of my New Orleans days, winning just enough money to spend on good beer and food for the day.

Instead, I lost all the cash I had on hand except a couple dollar bills and some loose change. Unable to run about trying beer and tasty foods, I biked back to Heather's and recoiled in the loft.

That night I was coaxed down with talk of going to the Apocalypse Ball, another costume party which was to have fire and drum circles. We first stopped at a girl's house where Heather was outfitted with a shiny blue jump suit, then to Richards where he whipped something together and gave me a Space Ghost costume he had in his closet, off we went.

Richard talked our way at the door, saving us from paying whatever the entry fee is they were looking for. We entered what looked like a barn, full of people dancing to group of drummers on the far end banging away together. We found the beer quickly and got to that, spinning around and commenting on all the costumes people had put together.

They had cake and other pastries in the corner, I took more than my share and chowed down, I'm not sure I'd eaten anything all day. We walked into the backyard to find a decent sized bonfire going surrounded by more costumed folk and sat a while. Topless girls occasionally ran by streaking and disappeared into the darkness just as quickly, we pondered about where to.

We continued to bounce between the smoking seats by the fire and into the dance party in the barn, spinning, shaking and moving to the vibe.

We at last left the party, back to Heather's house momentarily, then walking back out the door and down the way to Bud Rips. There we got a pitcher of beer and played a few rounds of pool together before heading back to the house for the night.

The following night there were plans to go to yet another costume party, supposedly hosted by some artist who owned a rum company. Before this, I biked into the french quarter to meet a couple friends from back in Queens who'd moved to New Orleans in the past year or so. We found a suitable bar and sat on the back patio, catching up on each others lives over a few beers.

A woman came out for a smoke, a sneaky one she didn't want his husband to be aware of. We got to talking and my friends informed her of my hitchhiking tendencies, this intrigued her and she said we should find a spot inside at the bar.

I sat and talked to her and her husband a while, they kept trying to buy me a drink and my friends kept beating them to it. They were somehow affiliated with a website that was about to hold a contest to see if anyone could live off their coupons for a full year, a reward of $100,000 to be given if achieved. It sounded ridiculous to me, an easy task, this fired them up in enthusiasm as they thought they'd found their guy for the competition.

They finally managed to get me some drinks, car bombs, Jager bombs and I can't even recall what else. They were headed to Dallas, in the coming days, which was in the right direction for me, they offered to give me a ride and we exchanged numbers.

Looking at the time I realized I may have missed the night of "rum flowing like water", Heather wasn't picking up her phone. I said goodbye to my friends and the coupon people and raced back to the house on the bike, coming in the door right as Heather and Richard were heading to go out it, full costume and makeup. I scrambled into the Space Ghost costume and we were in the car going.

We arrived at the warehouse, I was already buzzing from beers and shots, once again Richard managed to talk our way through the door without paying the entrance fee, saying something about knowing a person or being involved in something or another, we were in.

The warehouse was big and full of people, deep in the back a full band played, up ahead and to our left another stage was setup, it would be pumping music later in the night. We made our way to one of the tables setup where rum drinks of our choice were poured for us, the madness begun.

We ran all around, into the music crowd, into different conversations, the line for more rum; the night rapidly faded into a haze of partial memories we would have to connect the next morning.

I remember opening my eyes in the morning, I was in the loft, I didn't recall how I'd gotten back there. I climbed down the ladder to find my pants inexplicably at the bottom, as if in my drunken state I didn't think I could have managed to make it up while wearing them. I thought a shower would help, the water fell on my numb body as a few memories swirled in and out.

Richard and Heather woke up, we draped our limp bodies over the furniture as we tried to piece together the end of the night. My memories weren't much help; I'd remembered making out with some girl behind the warehouse who's face or hair color I couldn't even recall, I remembered waiting in line for rum, and my final memory was a flash of talking to Richard on some street about sports.

A bowl of pasta mixed with just about everything from the kitchen was found in the fridge, none of us had remembered making that. Heather remembered the walk home, she recalled splitting away from us and then getting fairly lost before finding her way back home, apparently we hadn't arrived back at that point, the sun had already made it's way up. A roommate came back who was fairly certain Richard had been responsible for the mystery pasta, the rest of the details of the night remained sketchy at best.

Despite our hungover state of unchained memories, our energy was high, this was the long awaited Superbowl Sunday the city had been waiting on for decades. We made our way to the Bud Rips a bit before kickoff, a pot luck style buffet awaited us. We loaded up our plates and nursed the remained of our hangover, then switched to the hair of the dog method - a giant pitcher of beer, mostly giant because the place was so packed and they'd ran out of normal sized pitchers.

The coin toss flipped and the room of raging Saints fans went wild - you'd think the team had just scored a winning touchdown - I knew I was in for a hell of a night.

We drank down the pitcher and stayed for the first half and then some, then wandered the far blocks to where the car was, parked by the rum filled warehouse of last night. The car took us to a house party a ways away. We walked in the door to find half dressed people piled on couches and the floor. They shouted at us the way happy drunks do, "three articles of clothing off, all of you!"

They'd been stripping every time someone scored, so off went some of our layers, into the kitchen there were beers awaiting us. The game raged on with excitement, the Saints continued to score, the room erupted with chanting and yelling, "Who dat! Who dat! Who dat sayin' they gonna beat them Saints! Who dat! Who dat! Who dat sayin' they gonna beat them Saints!", we were running out of clothing, only the girls were participating in the stripping now until a group of them were down to nothing but panties and their forearms, or each other, covering the rest.

Tracy Porter intercepted Manning's pass and ran it in for a game clinching touchdown, at which point the room reached the height of excitement, singing and shooting down shots all around, "...oh when the Saints go marching in! How I'd like, to be in that number! When the Saints go marching in!"

The clock ticked down to 0 and we erupted again, champagne bottles being sprayed all over everything and everybody. We were now making moves for scattered clothing. I grabbed a beer for my pocket and one for my hand, a group rushed out the door and I followed as they piled into a pickup truck, Heather and Richard close behind me jumping in right as we started cruising down towards the french quarter.

There was 10 or 15 of us piled in the back, all with a drink in our hand and a few big bottles of champagne being passed around as we barreled down the road. At the traffic lights, red or green, the driver would jump out of the car and start dancing with people walking by, smiling people ran up to the back and high fived all of us, shouts of "Who Dat!" rung out from all directions, it said it all.

We parked in some gas station and started marching on foot into mass of people heading towards the center of the french quarter. Cars creeped by with hands extended out the window shouting, I slapped hundreds of hands before the night was over. The mass of people grew thicker and thicker as we got to the center of things, it wasn't long before I lost track of all familiar faces in the mix, it didn't matter, it was a celebration of the happiest people on planet earth and I was in the middle of it.

It got incredibly thick with people, cars inched along through the crowd as if in a parade that had gotten overrun, shouting from the windows with permanent grins. Smiling police stood on corners and atop horses, one smoking a cigar as he surveyed the madness, this was everyone's celebration.

I got in touch with Shana, she was at Johnny Whites close by. I spilled my beer bumping into someone along the way, a girl saw and looked in fear, spilling beer is never good. I smiled at her and whipped a beer out of my pocket like a magician, she had a bottle opener and I carried on to find Shana. She was in the bar perched up on a ledge in the wall with a content smile and a cigarette. Another friend and Luke was there too with the dog on a leash, the only living creature in New Orleans that looked miserable.

We piled out into the madness together to another bar where they wanted to eat, they ordered something and I followed Shana to the car where she said she had liquor in a cooler. A girl and guy walked by as we opened the cooler and looked intrigued, Shana said they had to do shots too. For whatever reason, the two girls shared a deep kiss before the shots were poured, we drank what was left in the cooler and headed back towards the bar.

Luke and the dog were done for the night, they headed to the car to wait, sleep, I don't know what or why they'd miss the action going on. Shana and I marched through the night, braving Bourbon street for just a block - the highest concentration of bodies. People were packed so tightly that it was near impossible to go even a block, I had to hold my hands tight to my body while a force of people pushed me through the narrowest of cracks until we slipped off the street to the slightly more free-flowing streets nearby.

Canal street looked like times square, I picked up an abandoned bottle of rum from the sidewalk that still had some kicks left in it, filling my cup and enjoying more of the madness. At some point I lost track of Shana and her friend in the mix of everything and wandered about on my own through the crowds of ecstatic lunatics enjoying the rest of the celebration. I occasionally walked up to people acting as if I was confused and darting my head at street signs saying to them, "hey, excuse me... I'm new to town, I was just wondering if you knew... Who Dat sayin' they gonna Beat Them SAINTS!", this was of course returned with similar chants and cheers of all kinds, it was a hell of a night.

The next day I was essentially useless, rarely leaving the loft and drifting in and out of sleep throughout the day. My thoughts were to pull myself together by the following morning and start the trek up to Jackson Hole, Wyoming; a portion of my family was there and it promised to be a good time.