Towards the end of 2002, I got an invitation to visit my friend Wendy in New Orleans. I'd never been there, so I was keen on it, especially with round trip airfare available from Sacramento for $170.

I bought the tickets about 2 weeks before the trip, which ended up being two days after hurricane Isadore had struck. I got plenty of sassy email warning me to "bring galoshes". I considered my timing pretty choice, but I quickly learned that another storm was on its way: Hurricane Lili.

I had a great time with Wendy, which means that I didn't have time to write much, leaving this travelogue to be primarily a group of photos with captions. Enjoy.

Part 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

Saturday, Sept. 28, 2002

Watching my luggage being loaded onto the plane.

Black Lincoln Town cars at Dallas Airport
Cockroach stalking
Four horsemen on Bourbon Street
6 months from Mardi Gras, Bourbon Street was a grand outdoor party, with loud music and drunken crowds.

The streets were narrower than I expected. I had always pictured the Mardi Gras floats driving down this street, but I guess they don't.

There is a funny bead-based economy here, left over from when Jefferson bought Manhattan Island for $55 in beads.

It can be dangerous to dial your phone while driving drunk, so this young woman laid on the hood instead.
Waiting for the rooster icon store to open.
My first taste of Beignets, the famous rectangular donuts of New Orleans. This place, the Cafe du Monde must use a truckload of powdered sugar each day.
I was thinking that Bourbon Street needed some kind of mopping superhero to rid it of that smell. 
Sunday, Sept 29, 2002
Wendy on the balcony of her apartment built for giants. She is at the end of the first archway.
Two quarters of my Muffelatta sandwich from Central Grocery. I recommend having at least 24 ounces of liquid ready to drink before tackling one of these.
At the park, while enjoying our Muffelattae, Wendy and I spotted these two disposable helium tanks. They weren't quite empty. 
Back at her apartment, we filled up some garbage bags with the leftover helium.

I had brought a little black and white security camera to New Orleans, and seeing these balloons hanging gave me an excellent idea. We could hang the camera from these balloons and get aerial video footage of Wendy's neighborhood.

The garbage bags didn't have enough lift to hoist the camera, so we went down to Party City and bought a bouquet of balloons.

My dad used to commute 45 minutes from Party City to Circuit City everyday when he got his first job out of University. Eventually he moved our family to the Circuit Suburbs. I can't even imagine how my life would be different if I had grown up outside Party City instead.

In this photo you can see the tiny camera attached under the balloons with blue tape. A gray cord carries the video signal to the ground. 

UN weapons inspectors called this a "proto-satellite", Jesus guys, give it a rest, huh? 

Connecting the video signal to a camera with recording capabilities outside of Wendy's apartment. You can see genuine New Orleans garbage in this photo!
The balloons flying above Bourbon Street, providing a nearly-interesting overhead view.
After the balloon experiment, I visited the Riverwalk mall, where they have an inordinate number of pirate icons.
The Beautiful gold Joan of Arc statue in the French Quarter.
New Orleans summarized in one neon sign.

Part 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

Other Travelogues: Minneapolis 2001 | Burning Man 2001 | Europe 1999 | Costa Rica 2000 | New York 2002

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