I was in New Orleans about a month ago. Before leaving we took a walk to Cafe du Monde for beignets. There was a slight detour to a chain pharmacy, which was selling a local snack treat.
On the walk back to the hotel I took a few random photos. This is the only one I sort of liked. Mostly for the New Orleans Saints banner.
On Thursday, June 3rd we watched the New Orleans Zephyrs take on the Omaha Royals. I was excited to see 1B/OF prospect (and self-described All Around Good Guy) Logan Morrison in action (well, on deck, if the photo below is to be believed). He's going to do amazing things for my NL-only fantasy team. I'm sure of it. Call him up, already, Florida Marlins!
The ballpark is not exactly in the middle of downtown. It's a drive to get there. Or a long bike ride. And not a trip many seem willing to make on a Thursday night in early June.
I have no documentation of the bugs that attacked us but I can assure you we were attacked. Tiny bugs flew down the back of my shirt. Tiny bugs flew in front of my eyes. Tiny bugs landed in my hair. After little more than half the game, we'd had enough of it.
I found someone to take a snapshot of our little group and we headed for the car.
I took a lot of pictures during this trip. Too many. And most of those pictures are in triplicate, with varying exposures. A good 90% of them are photos of ballparks. Gorgeous photos, mind you. But of baseball stadiums. There is only so much excitement in a photo like that. The thought of selecting which photos to present is daunting. Perhaps you're looking forward to seeing that Tesco light pole from Pearl, MS (just outside Jackson)? If so, keep waiting. Maybe you'll see it in a week.
One spot where I didn't take any photos was Willie Mae's Scotch House in New Orleans. After checking out from our hotel, we stopped by this homey, yet well-awarded restaurant for fried chicken. We spent ten minutes waiting for a table and it was more than worth it. While leaving with full bellies and smiles on our faces, I can say it wasn't the best fried chicken I've ever eaten in my life (that may have been at The Golden Skillet take-out joint that closed more than 20 years ago in the Chatham section of Stafford, VA. I was probably eight and more in love with their light-up skillet sign towering 12 feet along the edge of the parking lot.) but it was damn good. It had me wishing we'd made a trip to New Orleans just for the food. I'm sure we wouldn't have had any problems spending the next week eating meals just as good as the ones we had Thursday and Friday.
FYI: 9% of the photos are of Erik and Dan playing bocce.
I’m taking a few days away from posting photos. I didn’t document every single second of the trip. Below, please find a list of some of those non-photographed “adventures:”
Nine minutes at the rental car facility deciding which car would be best for us and taking the one with Texas plates
Forty-five minutes at Harrah’s, with a final run at the craps table letting Erik leave with a few extra dollars in his pocket (and putting me close to even)
Thirty-eight minutes enjoying a late-night meal at The Clover Grill in New Orleans (mmm, chicken fried steak)
Two minutes conversing with the waitress at Cochon about rent prices in New Orleans (and how her bathtub is inside a closet)
Six minutes inside the WWII Museum, trying to decide if visiting would be worth our time / money
Seven minutes of Erik on the phone with an understanding tech support agent discussing the hotel’s wi-fi connection
We got to the New Orleans Zephyrs game a little early and realized there was no need to hurry to buy tickets. Seeing a nice patch of grass, we pulled out the bocce balls for a quick game.
I'd like to say Dan and I put up something of a battle but I can't. We were too distracted by the train tracks running behind the parking lot.
And there's nothing wrong with being greeted by a speed pitch game upon entering a ball park for the first time. Risking dislocating a shoulder, Erik handed over a buck and gave the radar gun a run for its money.
"Sweet Touch" is on the board!
What better reward than a couple of beers on Thirsty Thursday?
During my research for the trip I realized Tulane University is the home of a newly constructed bocce court. I couldn't resist putting the court on the map and insisting on a visit.
Here's the court:
Take a look at the demolished bocce balls supplied for play!
The Glazer Gardens is a fantastic setting for bocce but I'm not a fan of the court. All the sidewalls and backboards are cement! I hope the court has a mid-summer update that includes the installation of wooden rails along the interior walls. Or is there something about the climate in New Orleans that makes those rails a bad idea?
Since Eric brought balls that we used to play on top of a gigantic cinder hill, I figured it was okay to risk using them here.
We played our usual three person rotation - winner of a side holds the court with the first player to 11 declared the victor.
I should get this out of the way now - Erik won every match during the trip. Dan and I did not put up much of a fight at any venue. Here he is posing for victory #1:
After this side trip to Tulane, we headed toward the ballpark to check out the New Orleans Zephyrs.
We woke Thursday and hailed a cab (heavy downpour), bound for the Southern Cajun Cooking joint known as Cochon. It had come highly recommended from multiple parties.
After what was the most delicious meal of the trip, we took a stroll through the Warehouse/Arts District. I snapped a couple of photos along the way.
We then waited out a five minute rain shower beneath an awning.
Once the rain ended we made a detour into the air conditioned space of the Southern Food & Beverage Museum. And housed within the museum? The Museum of the American Cocktail. The museum has a nice sized room with a gorgeous display of all things cocktail related. I'm not sure I've ever seen so much fantastic design packed into one place. If you're in New Orleans for only a few days, make sure to visit.
A few weeks ago I got together with Dan & Erik and we came up with a basic structure for this year's baseball road trip. I think we'll settle on transportation in five days or so - Tuesday is the best day to buy plane tickets, right?
Like last year there are no major league games to be watched. If you know of any gems along the way of wandering route, make a note in the comments.
Here's the basic structure of the trip, all night games:
Thu, 6/3 New Orleans, LA (Zephyrs) AAA
Fri, 6/4 Jackson, MS (Braves) AA
Sat, 6/5 Mobile, AL (Bay Bears) AA
Sun, 6/6 Pensacola, FL (Pelicans) Independent American Association (the same league as the St. Paul Saints)
Mon, 6/7 Montgomery, AL (Biscuits) AA
Earlier today I read about the Southern Foodways Planning Map and I can't wait to take that for a spin.
I've read the reviews on BallPark Reviews for all the stadiums we're visiting. Sadly, none jump out at me as being amazing places. I think the old structure along the first base side of Montgomery's Riverwalk Stadium should be interesting and cool. And I'm looking forward to the wackiness that seems to be the concession area of Pelican Park. It looks like summer camp!
That's all the research I've managed so far. Where should we drive? What should we eat? What roadside stops are worth an hour or our time? What bars need to be visited after the games? Chime in!