Monday, May 8, 2017

New Orleans - Jazz Fest - Coops Place - KOA River Ridge (New Orleans area)

Well we survived the weekend. Barely. We left here at 6:30 am on Thursday the fourth of May and arrived the same evening at 6pm. It was a long day on the road.

The "Beast" performed flawlessly. We averaged 7.2 mpg going down to New Orleans fighting 35 mph winds and gusts up to 40 mph.  I was very happy with the suspension sway bar repairs. The driving was interesting at times but mostly I  had to fight the periodic high wind gusts with the main wind staying sustained.

When we arrived at KOA New Orleans West, the slide-out rooms all deployed as expected.  We had a total of Seven people in the coach for the trip down and back. Once we got there two of the seven stayed off site in a hotel. We slept in our bedroom, we had a couple on hide a bed and one on the floor.

Despite my best friend Jim having to stay on the floor, everyone said they had two comfortable nights of sleeping.

A bit about the KOA New Orleans West.  he campground is nice with concrete slabs, picnic tables, and FHU's. It is very quiet, safe and gated. There is a dumpster but no trash pick up.  Our cost per night was $70.00 per night. All sites are back in sites. There is ample room between you and your neighbors. Quiet comes earlier here but true quiet time isn't until 10pm.  Check out time is 11am.

Jazz Fest was amazing. Great music and good food and drink (albeit very expensive). I paid $8 for a beer on the festival.

This is the first year that the Cuban government allowed some of their islands bands to participate at Jazz Fest. They were remarkable musicians. One of the two that I saw was a Cuban Street Band. All of their instruments were handmade. Tambourines, drums were fashioned from scrap wood and cow skin drum heads. The band featured a guy playing a treble horn fashioned from an old oil can. Somehow they made it all work. They simply rocked the house down when they played. It was a very enticing and interactive beat and many were dancing. It was just hard to keep yourself still. You had to dance.

The other band was Pop band and they were also very good. The Latin beat is intoxicating.

It was Martha's Birthday on 5/5/17 (Cinco De Mayo).  I made steak, baked potatos and salad for dinner. The bandanna that Martha is wearing was a gift from our friends Chris and Marti Wentzler. Martha was cutting up and you can probably tell, we all had a wee bit too much to drink.

We went to Jazz Fest on Friday but Saturday we explored New Orleans downtown. We first had breakfast at the French Market cafe and then explored the market itself.  After a long morning we decided to hit BB Kings Bar for a drink and some blues. We were all sort of tired from the day before but we rallied and managed to have fun despite the tiredness. 

I have had a lot of friends in my lifetime. All of them had special talents. However, these are the people I would honker down with after the the Apocalypse. After all, they would instinctively know just exactly where to find the booze and where to store it for future use.  

After BB Kings we headed for Jackson Square to stroll around and see the various artists and their art.  I wasn't feeling too good so I sat inside the square itself and just rested and watched people.

Regrettably I didn't take any photos of our favorite restaurant Coops Place on Decator Street in the French quarter. This remarkable restaurant has been rated 5 stars by Zagat but you won't believe it when you walk through the door. The building looks as if it was built in the 1600's and much of it is in very poor condition. However the food, the food is absolutely to die for. You cannot make a bad pick here. Our table had their fried chicken, blackened red fish, shrimp creole, gumbo, jambalaya and red beans and rice. All of those dishes were simply amazing. I had the red fish and I have no reservations saying it was the best I've eaten and I have blackened red fish ever chance I get. 

Coops Menu, I doubt you would be disappointed with any dish shown. A few important things you should know about Coops. They do not take reservations as it is first come, first served. The gate keeper draws a line on the sidewalk and if you step over it while waiting he will make an example of you by threatening to put you at the end of the very long waiting line. Once inside you will be greated by the rudest of waiters. They use the "F" word like a group of Marines in a strip bar. They give you your menus and tell you to choose in three minutes. If he comes back and your are not ready he will ride your butt for it. He calls people morons, laughs at your clothes, makes fun of where you live and then takes your order. If he knows what you want isn't any good he will tell you what you need to order and won't write down what you asked for to begin with. It is very much a scripted act however, by the time he has your order everyone at your table will be laughing about how the whole thing goes down. 

Sadly we had to pack up Saturday night prior to an early departure from NOLA on Sunday morning.  We made a whirlwind tour for Jazz Fest and the city but we won't soon forget our experiences or out gut aches from laughing so much. 

I am hoping that this will not be this groups last road trip. I am going to try and organize a New Orleans Road Trip in 2019.  

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