Two weeks ago I took a solo trip to New Orleans. That's crazy, I know, but I had the opportunity, so why not? I am close by on orders for the Navy, and I had a three day weekend for Martin Luther King day, so I made a reservation for a cheap motel near the French Quarter and took the trip. It was such an incredible experience! It was such an insane place, there are basically no rules there. You are just surrounded by all kinds of people, all kinds of music, food, drinks, everything, total sensory overload! Going places by yourself you tend to meet a few people along the way, and share some unique experiences you wouldn't otherwise have if you had gone with a group of people. I spent time with three people I met there. Sean, Elizabeth, and the cool guy I met at the Famous Door bar.
When I got there I checked into my motel, changed my clothes and called a taxi to come get me and drop me off at the French Quarter. My cab driver dropped me off at Bourbon Street, I got out and wandered up and down the street taking it all in. After walking around for a while I decided I needed to eat something so I walked up to a restaurant called Bourbon Heat, I was seated and I ordered my dinner. While I was waiting for my food to arrive this guy walked past me, turned around, walked up to my table and said, "Are you eating dinner alone?" I told him I was and he asked to join me. So, he sat down and told me a little bit about himself, while asking me questions about myself. He made it like a first date, even though we came there separately and he just so happened to spot me on his way to the bathroom. So we talked, I ate my dinner, and he sipped on his water. His name was Sean, and he was there for his friends bachelor party. He had gotten there the day before, and they had spent the majority of their time in the strip clubs on Bourbon Street, so he couldn't really give me any suggestions on places to go. After I finished up my food he kindly asked if we could move to the bar and if I would allow him to buy me a drink, I didn't have anything else to do so I agreed. I ordered a Heineken at the bar, but it was 2-4-1 which I didn't know, so I ended up getting two.
At this point we had run out of small talk, I was sober, he was drunk, and I wasn't interested in hanging out with him the rest of the night so I felt a little bit awkward. About half way through my first Heineken he got up to use the restroom, and when the coast was clear I asked the bar tender to take my half full beer and throw it out for me. I had to repeat myself because he wasn't sure he heard me correctly, and he laughed and asked me why I wanted to pour out half my beer. I made a face that basically implied "yikes" and it clicked to him that I wasn't trying to spend my night with Sean so he chuckled and took my beer. Sean returned and asked my if I wanted to go to another bar with him or just call it a night, and as kindly as I could I told him I wanted to take some time to explore the area myself but I would hope to run into him again. He hugged me and was on his way.
Later that night I fell in love with a bartender named Matt working at Tropical Isle.
I walked into that bar because the band that was playing sounded really good, the lead singer sounded like Joe Cocker, and Tropical Isle was the home of the Hand Grenade, a drink my friend Cerise told me I HAD to try in New Orleans. I walked in and people were tossing little plastic grenades into nets on the ceiling, and I didn't realize it but I was standing directly under the net! So, as soon as i figured out why I kept getting hit in the head with little grenades I relocated to another part of the bar. I stood against the bar and ordered my first Hand Grenade and listened to the band, and that's where I met Matt. He had dishwasher blonde hair, light blue eyes, great teeth, and a great beard. He was wearing shorts which was amusing because it was like 50 degrees outside. Through the night as I stood there alone listening to the music he and I started to have more and more conversation, which led to me ordering a shark attack drink a couple times just to annoy him because they had to make a big scene every time someone ordered it, he would start throwing little grenades at me while making other people's drinks, and when I wasn't looking he would throw ice at me, I would pick it up off the counter and throw it back, and it was a beautiful thing. He was from Wisconsin I believe.
That bar was also where I met my new friend Elizabeth. She was with a group of her friends, they came to the bar to order drinks and she started talking to me. She decided that I would be her best friend, and stayed and talked with me, and introduced me to her friends. They were leaving to go to a bar somewhere else, and she was so mad, she didn't want to go at all and demanded that she would stay there with me her new best friend, it was actually really funny. They convinced her to leave with them, and she said bye to me, and reassured me that she wished she could stay with me because I was way more fun than all her other friends. I was a little bit disappointed when she left because she was so much fun, but I had Matt and the music to keep me company. About 30 minutes pass and believe it or not, Elizabeth came back to the bar with only one of her previous friends to find me! So I left my spot in front of Matt's beautiful smile to sit at a table with my new found friends. Elizabeth ended up putting Jager in my beer which I can't say was my favorite flavor, but I survived, we both flirted with Matt a little bit, laughed together, took some selfies, it was great. Unfortunately the time came for Elizabeth to leave again so we exchanged numbers, she saved her number in my phone as "BFF YAYYYY" with about a million emojis and set her contact picture to one of the selfies we took. I told her if we lived in the same place we could be real best friends, we hugged and she left again. At this point a different band was playing that wasn't as good, and I wanted to keep exploring, so I left my phone number on a napkin for Matt and I left. No Matt didn't call me, I did not expect him to, but Matt if you ever read this, I STILL LOVE YOU!
I extended my stay by a day and spent Sunday exploring the city and went back Bourbon Street that night. Being a Sunday it wasn't as crazy as the night before, but that was fine by me. I planned on keeping it low key, watching some bands, and going in "early" so I could wake up early the next morning, do my last touristy things (eat beignets at Cafe Du Monde, and visit the voodoo museum) and drive back to where I was staying. Sunday night was when I met the cool guy at the Famous Door.
The cool guy at the Famous Door was a tall, very thin, pale, guy with blue eyes and grayish blonde hair. He was the kind of guy that you could tell by looking at him was very quiet and reserved. I stood by him and his group of friends while we all watched a classic rock cover band. After about twenty minutes pass of us standing next to eachother, he looks at me, down at my drink, and tips the neck of his beer bottle down, and we cheers our drinks without exchanging any words. Later, a guy I would estimate was in his sixties with white hair and way too much cologne approached me and tried way too hard to have a conversation with me. After he walked away the kid next to me looked over and said, "I'm really sorry you have to deal with creepy guys hitting on you like that. It really makes my blood boil." I laughed and told him it was ok, and at this point I'm used to that stuff. He apologized for it again anyways and we continued to stand together in silence watching the band. Another 20 minutes or so passes and he walks to the bar behind me with his friend, and I feel a tap on the shoulder, I turn around and he hands me a shot of fireball whiskey in a shot glass that looks like a neon green test tube. We cheers again with no words and take our shot together, After that he asks me a little bit about myself and tells me he isn't trying to be like the creepy guy from earlier, but it was refreshing for him to see someone somewhere by themself doing what they want, and having a good time. Shortly after that he and his friends leave, but before he left he looked at me and said, "Just keep doing you honey, you're doing just fine."
That was my favorite part of Sunday. I really enjoyed my entire time in New Orleans, but I also went back and forth between being happy and feeling adventurous by myself, and also feeling lonely and disappointed I had to experience it alone. I never got that guy's name at the Famous Door, but it made me feel really good to hear that. Not that his particular opinion of me mattered in the least bit, but he seemed like a really cool guy, and reminded me that it was totally fine doing my own thing, and I should take pride in it.
Cool guy at the Famous Door, thank you.