Visit Tobasco factory on the way to New Orleans. Great 1-2 hour sidetrip, fun history, and a beautiful island. You can separately visit the bird sanctuary (I didn’t want to spend the time), but that looks like a good addition to the sidetrip. You get a short walkthrough on the history, then a quick walk past viewing windows into the working factory, and then visit the large store with a variety of tobasco themed merchandise, taste a variety of foods/sauces and get a small lunch if you want.

New Orleans was easy enough to navigate with a GPS. All small one way streets, so could be a nightmare without some help, but growing up in San Francisco, it wasn’t a big deal. Got to the hotel, unpacked the car for the valet. I hate valet parking, I never understood why it was considered so “high end” to have workers, usually very young men, and have people hand over their keys to them. I thought I got everything of value out, but I forgot a few things, figured I’d just chance it. Fully emptying a car I’d “moved into” for the roadtrip just wasn’t feasable.

Unpacked, put a list of places to visit together and headed out. It’s now about 8pm, seemed like a reasonable early dinner time, and it’s Thursday. Pop over to Bourbon street, and the first thing I notice are lines at all the resturants. Didn’t expect that. Went to my first choice, the Acme Oyster Bar, and figured I’d see how long the line took. After a few minutes there were folks behind me, which always me feel better about waiting. A street artist came by playing trombone, his first number was OK, then not so good. The ladies behind me in line, two sisters who were having a “sisters weekend”, were giving him a good natured hard time, so that made for an entertaining show for the 20 minute wait to get in. The food was very reasonable priced, I had raw oysters and baked oysters and Jambalaya at Acme, all reasonably priced, or downright cheap by California standards, and all exceptionally good as well.

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Met a couple folks at the bar, they were on a mission to find Big Willy Wilkins, and were trying to get other people to go. They talked a nice medical student from Houson, and his visiting parents from Bejing to go, and told me to come. I finaly relented, but after asking around, found out he didn’t play until Friday. Stopped by a club with a group doing a Zepplin cover, it was great! Listened to a few more tunes, got a bunch of recommendation from the folks I’d met on touristy places that probably weren’t worth it, and popped up and down Bourbon Street for the evening. Oh, and had a Hand Gernade on recommendation. Well, had about 1/3 of one. Very strong drink, probably best purchased early and nursed all night, it appears whatever ice-like thing keeps it cool works for a long time.

Around 11:30 noticed some folks closing up, many by putting up metal window coverings, asked and found out that after Katrina there had been a increase in crime, generally after midnight, and that heading back to the hotel between midnight and one was a good call. I took their advice, and was back to the hotel by 12:30.