colopalooza 2004: new orleans
"the big uneasy"
Like a piece of fruit so perfectly ripe, it's on the verge of going bad, New Orleans truly lives on
the edge. Bursting at the seams with over-the-top food, music, sports and night life, "The Big
Easy" seemed like a perfect host for yet another Paloozian adventure.  And despite what you
might suspect from watching the eternally exhausted Al McGough, she didn't fail us at all.  So
as they say in Nawlins...Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler! (Let The Good Times Roll).
Paloozian virgin Mark Tobin leafs through the
latest issue of "Holy Crap, What Have I Gotten
Myself Into?" on the flight over to New Orleans.
Shortly after landing, the Paloozians were off
exploring The Big Easy's stunning array of bars
and restaurants, as well as its freakish citizens.
Before dining on Crawfish Etouffee at Olivier's,
the Paloozians decided to form a solid base
with a greasy little order of Silky's Pork Nachos.
After dinner, it was back to "operation bar crawl"
along Bourbon.  We started with Old Absinthe
House, easily the dustiest old bar on earth.
At Fritzel's, we took a break from the chaos to
check out some jazz and begin to debate when
Al would fall asleep and spill his beer on us.
Fortunately, Milo was anything but sleepy.  At
this point, let's just say he'd had a couple of blue
drinks (as well as red drinks and yellow drinks).
Milo's adversary that night was the world famous
"Hurricane", a mixture of punch and four shots of
god-knows-what invented at Patty O's.
One of the city's finest establishments is Cafe
Du Monde, home of chicory coffee (invented
during the civil war) and tasty French beignets.
As beignets go, nothing you've ever had comes
close to these bad boys.  Dense and ridiculously
covered in powdered suger--crazy good stuff.
After loading up at CDM, we headed out for our
airboat adventure.  Here we are on the right
side of the gator van chatting with the driver.
And on the left side of the van, Milo appears to
be overly fascinated by the unique sea shell
composition of the bayou's salty side streets.
The airboat ride was pretty awesome.  Here are Craig & Al donning their
very fancy headphones to drown out the airboat's very loud engine.
Due to the lateness of the season, we weren't
sure whether we'd see any gators.  Luckily a few
of these guys made their way to the surface.
They're freaky animals in person, complete with
one serious set of teeth.  Up close you see that
they have is two eyelids--one shuts horizontally.
These airboats are pretty slick. Because they're
powered by a fan, they can cruise right over the
more dense, marshy surface called "floatant".
The ultimate irony of our trip
occurred when Al spotted a Bald
Eagle perched atop a cypress tree.
You know, you fly 1,500 miles to
see some man-eating gators...and
it turns out they dig marshmallows.
Our airboat guide knew each gator by
name, but that didn't stop this one
from snapping off a bit of his thumb.
Scattered throughout the swamp are these
aging Cajun cabins, seemingly floating out in
the middle of nowhere.  Deliverance gone bad.
This one was actually in pretty good shape.  I'd
want to bring a shotgun, but it would be a very
cool place for a Paloozian barbecue.  Next time.
Cruising around though the bayou swamps was definitely a unique Paloozian experience.
That night, we headed off for perhaps the
strangest event in Paloozian history--the now
infamous Mid-City Rock 'n Bowl Zydeco night.
In between watching 60 year old couples square
dance to zydeco, we bowled a few games and
admired Mark's well-worn, but stylish khraki's.
Needless to say, the Hurricanes
won, delivering the knockout
blow right about the stroke of
midnight. At that point,
Cinderella simply had to leave
the ball.

On the bright side, in an
amazing show of strength, Milo
was able to hold this exact
position for nearly 7 hours--so
he's got that going for him.
Quite impressive.
With all the remaining
hurricanes finally out of
his system (and quite
literally 60 miles outside
of town), Milo was finally
able to get back on the
Paloozian saddle.

Nice work, Milo.
Along Bourbon Street, there are probably 25
different clubs featuring all sorts of good live
music.  Here we are catching a little blues.
On any night, for the rest of your life, you can
find guys like these tossing down beads in
hopes of seeing 48 year old women bare all.
After a day at the casino (hence, no pics), we
scrapped our original plans (Clemmie would be
so proud) and hit a New Orleans Hornets game.
Thus began what would become known as the
Amazing Al Sleep-A-Thon.  From that point on,
I'm not sure whether Al was ever really awake.
After the game, it was on to Acme Oyster
House for some jambalaya, gumbo, shrimp po
boys and fresh oysters.  All low-fat, of course.
Scattered throughout the French Quarter are
Lucky Dog stands featuring some must-have
dogs.  Lots of good toppings and a great bun.
It was time to head north for the drive to LSU, so
the Paloozians decided to stock up on another
round of beignets and extra large cafe au laits.
This place is pretty much packed 24-7, so the
beignets just continually roll into a huge fryer
from a conveyor belt.  Now that's good eatin'.
Finally, we arrive at Baton Rouge for the
LSU-Bama game.  The locals park and then
tailgate closer to the stadium. We're not locals.
If we'd known what we'd find near the stadium, we
probably wouldn't have wasted our day shredding
the van and watching Al spray beer on himself.
Before we ventured on toward Baton
Rouge, Mark took a moment to look
at the mighty Mississippi and ponder
his existence, which apparently is to
perpetually finish behind Craig in
assorted fantasy football leagues.  
But who's counting?

OK, if you insist, I believe the total is
now 6 out of 7.
LSU tailgating is pretty much off the hook.
Everyone has tons of good eats and drinks and
seem very anxious to share what they've got.
Luckily, Sean's tailgate party had plenty of
available space for us to spread out.  After a
couple of rounds of Skoal, we ventured on.
The craziest tailgate party we found included a
sort of dancing spin-the-bottle.  If the bottle
pointed at you, it was time to get up and dance.
I got this shot moments before Sean proceeded
to take the stage, do some sort of running man
thing and take a dirt beater. It was awesome.
After spending a full day tailgating (and power
dancing), it's time for 100,000 buzzed Cajuns to
head to the stadium for the game and scream.
LSU and Alabama battled it out defensively all
night.  In the end, LSU had the better athletes,
and made a couple of key interceptions to win.
In all my years of shooting Al dozing off during
all sorts of fun events, I don't think I've ever
seen him actually slump in public...until today.
What would you do in the middle of a frenzied
college football crowd during a tightly fought
SEC battle?  Why, sleep, of course!!
The next day, we got up early and headed back
to New Orleans to catch the Saints play the
Chiefs at the world famous Superdome.
The Saints represent the city pretty well--good
food (for a stadium), live music and beer at
every corner.  They even shot confetti on us.
The Superdome was a pretty cool
place to see a game.  A perfect 72
degrees and pretty spacious seats.
Aaron Brooks and Joe Horn teamed
up for about 150 yards and a pair of
scores to lead the Saints to victory.
The empty Superdome seat paid for
but unused by Dean "The Wayward
Founder" Olson.  Silence please.
Our seats were right above the center of the
endzone, so the confetti machine sat directly
behind us.  That's Al with a confetti sandwich.
On the left, you'll find the ever-animated Sean
Kahr, apparently watching some sort of nuclear
attack.  On the right, Al Van Winkle in action.
With another fine
adventure in the
books, exhausted
Paloozians Milo and
Craig bid you farewell
from the Superdome.

Next up...Boston!