Saturday, January 19, 2013

We've arrived in N'Orleans!! Scrabble tournament here Ross comes!

Today marks the day of a new adventure!

Ross and I traveled to N'Orleans via 65-S and I-20 through Mississippi. We made it! We arrived at about 1:10 AM, by my gunning it around 75-80mph on my half of the driving. Yes, I AM better at maneuvering than Ross; it's true.

He's playing at the Crescent City Cup at the Sheraton Saturday-Monday morning! I'm so proud of him for studying so hard! My guy is extremely dedicated and determined with this! It's been a little exhausting-I gotta say-, but in the end...WE ARE IN FREAKING NEW ORLEANS!!
There are around 100 participants listed, and he will definitely give most of them a good run for the money "pun intended" :-)

Before sundown, which set in traffic while sitting in the car on Little Rock's 630 for 50 minutes, I started crocheting Ross's "official Scrabble tile pouch", which I hope to finish tonight at our hotel, the Bourbon Orléans Hotel, of which I will undoubtedly be talking a lot about later, for it is haunted by 17 ghosts, and I am a ghost story/show freak.
It was opportune that the sun set at this point because I was getting carsick, and I didn't want to hurl.

On the way we stopped in Dumas, Arkansas, and I had a faint nostalgia about the word "Dumas" that I just couldn't seem to pinpoint. It wasn't until after my belly was full of McDonald's double cheeseburger that I belted out in song: "Well let's all go down to Dumas Walker, lets all go down to Dumas Walker...we'll get a slaw, burger, fries, and a bottle of skeet...bring it on down to my baby and me."
This is, of course, the lyrics I googled. What I really sang was all of the beginning and then: "We'll get a small bowl of fries and two bottles of beer."
I'm happy with those lyrics too, especially since I probably haven't heard that song in 15 years.
I was pretty content in my recalled country music youth, until Ross spoiled my sport and banned me from singing country music for the rest of the trip.
"Ross, hunny, you know how I have random things pop in my head that have to get out lest my head explode. I can't guarantee this, and you can just put up with it."

Cut to dub-step music.

Cut to state lines.
Of course we kissed when we crossed the borders, a Jones family tradition. I have fond memories of my childhood, when my parents would always kiss whenever we crossed through state lines. My brother and I always squealed uncomfortably, but deep down we knew that we were in a loving family.

Cut to cracking the window open because I got carsick.

Cut to hearing howling coyotes. Ross said it was probably some country drunk folk hootin' and hollerin'. I stand by the coyotes. Not by my man on this one ;-)

Okay, so back to the hotel...
The Bourbon Orléans Hotel is nestled in the French Quarter. Built in 1817, it was N'Orleans' first Theater/Opera house. Then a convent for black nuns, one of the first of its kind. Then an orphanage. Also, for a time it was the seat of legislature when the old state house burned down. Marquis de Lafayette held gala events there at some point, and white businessmen/rich men/plantation owners would often frequent the hotel to get with their mulatto lovers in secret. Last (but probably not least), there is a lot of Civil War history in N'Orleans, as it was the largest Confederate city at that time, providing a bounty of soldiers.

So, with all that, you've got a hotel full of historical significance and spirits who intend on staying.
I've read through a lot of personal eyewitness accounts online about hauntings:
1) James Franco stayed in the hotel-with but not in the same room as Nicolas Cage-while filming a movie. He got into his room, started putting his stuff away, and he heard the bathroom sink's faucet turn on at full blast. He went to investigate the faucet, decided it wasn't loose, and then asked the maid about it. "Oh, it was probably the Confederate soldier. He frequents this floor."
2) Most of the sightings are of kids. Tablecloths can be seen being tugged at, and a little girl is seen roaming the halls of one floor.
3) An old man reading a paper and smoking a cigar is often seen just sitting at a table in the ballroom. Folks say they can often smell cigar there.
4) Some have said they've seen a Confederate soldier wandering around in full regalia with weaponry.
5) Some have seen a fancy mulatto woman dancing under the chandelier in the ballroom.
6) There has been witness of a black nun in one of the hallways.

Interesting...wonder if we will encounter anything;-)

I had a dream last night that Ross and I were in an unspecified, though huge hotel room, and he went out to get ice or something. He was gone for a long time. I was in bed, wrapped up, and I heard something and thought it was him, which it wasn't. I got up, tried to find the light, couldn't find it, kept hearing stuff and seeing shadows. I finally found the light switch, and it wouldn't turn on. Then I found another, and it too wouldn't turn on. Terrified, heart racing, I began wandering through the room and its many doors (leading to where, I don't know), and I became dizzy and disoriented. I felt I was being toyed with by ghosts, malevolent ones.
Luckily I woke up to pee, and then I didn't dream another minute about it.

Interesting...wonder if we will encounter anything;-)

So, we get here. Awesome valet, awesome bellhop, awesome hotel (though a bit cramped), crazy people on the street.

Nathan Joseph Rabalais, my dear Cajun friend who was also a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar to Strasbourg the same year I was to Lyon, lives in New Orleans, goes to/teaches at Tulane, a short distance away from his "pays"-Lafayette. He told me that Mardi Gras started early this year. Super Bowl's at fault. So, it's gonna be craaaaaaa-ceeeee.
Already, driving to our hotel, through the iron-barred, beaded, balconied buildings, we spotted some questionable characters: 1) a had-to-be-a-trannie, Asian guy dressed in a skin-tight dress, fuchsia, 2) a Mohawked, short Latino wearing a ton of black eyeliner and a full body suit of a full buff-bodied suit (literally head-to-toe), and 3) several shirtless people (I think I saw female breasts).
It's shaping up to be an Old-French cultural experience, a Cajun/Creole experience, and an underground "I'm in that phase right now in my life" experience.
Should be entertaining, on all three aspects.

I'll write soon...maybe...remember...Mardi Gras is starting early in N'Orleans this year on account of the Super Bowl.


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