New Orleans With Bridget

New Orleans, city of costumes and drinks, parties and creativity, a flavor to look forward to. This time around I was arriving with Bridget, my head standing love from Australia, trotting down the street with backpacks on backs and smiles on faces.

We'd just hitchhiked our way there over the past several days coming from the Florida Keys and an unexpected visit to an organic farm in Miami. After a couple miles walk from where our final ride had dropped us, the Byrdies sign came into view. Byrdies is a cafe, pottery studio and art gallery started by my friend Heather. I'd met Heather some years back, she was my first hitchhiking partner and we'd traveled from Connecticut to her home here in New Orleans, it was an excellent adventure.

A hug came quick and we began catching up on the time away. After a while she gave us a key to her house and Bridget and I started heading that way. Speeding by on bike was Casey, one of Heather's great friends that I'd met when I'd met Heather. She had a broken leg when I met her in Connecticut, without that broken leg she would of hitched with Heather down to New Orleans and I likely would never have met either of them. It was great to see her, she said she was now living just a few blocks from Heather's place and we'd meet up some more later.

We grabbed a six pack of Abita beers and headed back to the house to settle in. Eventually Heather came on back, we sipped beer and wine and caught up on time passed and relived stories of our prior adventures together.

We'd end up staying there in New Orleans just over a week. That second day we helped Heather weed her garden, then that night there was a party there with much smoking, drinking and catching up with people. The next day we'd march out to Bourbon street for some good food and wandering, the day after hitting up the trolley to explore another part of the city, ending the night catching up with another couple friends of mine from Queens, now living in New Orleans.

The week went on, Casey helped sew up one of the straps on my backpack that had all but fallen off. She'd gotten into leather work and the like, so it was no problem for her.

I won fifteen bucks playing roulette at the casino in town, there were also nights of listening to Jazz and wandering through the living streets.

One of the later days we got the obligatory donuts and coffee at Cafe Du Monde. Bridget and I split off for a bit after, I went and got my jambalaya fix and did some wandering. I got a message from her later about meeting up, but waited and waited then nothing. We had plans to meet at a jazz bar later, I waited there for her and still nothing. My other friends arrived and we listened to music and drank a bit, finally an email came in from a random address, I called the number in the message to discover Bridget had gotten herself lost, so I described to the guy's who's phone she used where we were at.

They escorted her on over, full of wine and drink like the rest of us. We listened to some more music, headed to my friends house for a while, then back to Heather's place to pass out again. I awoke with a hangover and Bridget feeling guilty for her getting lost and all. I started to cook something resembling breakfast or lunch, Bridget became upset and took off for a good while, I wasn't being to receptive quite yet.

Eventually I went out to find her, no luck, I found a bloody mary and a taco instead. Then I got another message from her, eventually we linked back up near Cafe Du Monde. We reconciled before watching the build up to a break dancing show, only to have a big rain swoop through all at once which sent us back to the Mexican place where I'd gotten my bloody mary earlier.

Being New Orleans, there was a big parade on that night. Back at Heather's place we both changed into ridiculous costume and headed for it, following along and chasing the front, seeing all the action we could, streets flooded with performers and costumed drunks like ourselves.

The next night brought scotch and cigars, then the final day of more New Orleans treats and a ride on the free ferry for kicks with my friend talking about opening up her flower business in town. We ended our last night with Heather and friends at her neighborhood bar playing darts, one last night to reminisce and hear her ambitions for the future. Heather seemed more and more beautiful each time I saw her, everything was coming along in all aspects of her life, she not only belonged in New Orleans, she was defining it. I'll never think of one without the other, always looking forward to the next trip and enjoying memories of the past trip.

This had been another good one, but Bridget and I were wearing thin and movement was the thing to do. Central and South America were seeming far less likely given the time between now and her flight out of LA, Baja was sounding more likely, but either way, westbound was our answer in the immediate, so off we would go.