Beads, Bums & Bars: My Mardi Gras Experience

What: Mardi Gras

Where: Bourbon Street in New Orleans, LA

When: February 9th-February 12th

Who: Myself, Gwen, Nate, Derrick, Gwen’s 2 college friends (Morgan & Leanne) and 6 other people

Why: When living in Louisiana, do as the New Orleanians do.

Wow. Mardi Gras. What an experience.  I think the easiest way to talk about my days in New Orleans is to break it up by day. So HERE WE GO…

Saturday

Music blaring and coffee in hand, I drove to A-town (AKA Alexandria) to Derrick’s apartment. From there he and I made the 3 1/2 hour drive to NOLA. After a failed attempt to use my ‘Mardi Gras Jam City’ playlist, we spent the tripping talking about life and trying to find a decent radio station. We only stopped once to get gas and get Starbucks, but due to poor city planning, we got back on the highway before making it to Starbucks. We hit major traffic getting into the New Orleans, but at least we got to  drive past the Super Dome (BEYONCE WAS HERE!)

Superdome!

We get into the city and we literally drive right up to a FREE and OPEN street parking spot that is a block from our hotel. Maybe this is a sign for a good weekend! Derrick and I are both starving, so we walk around and find a good place to eat. The streets are filled with Elephant Ear stands, Domino pizza carts and places to get frozen drinks. We feel like our luck is running out..We start wandering onto some of the side streets, turn a corner and what do we see? A man on the sidewalk, comatose. People were checking to see if he had a pulse. I don’t think he was breathing. We end up eating at Sergio’s, which was actually on Bobby Flay’s Throwdown where they tried to see who had the best Muffaletta. Even though Bobby Flay lost, we still got Shrimp Po-Boys and Bud Lights. We walk outside to a Mardi Gras Parade (one of many). We had a good time catching beads and watching the floats. A nice family even gave Derrick and I some jello shots.

We finally get into our hotel room and meet up with the rest of our group, as well as meet the other people we are staying in the room with. We had an awesome view of the street and parades from our hotel room. After spending some time in the room <drinking>, we made our way downstairs to a parade that was going on. Our group then tried to hang out Bourbon Street, but due to the immense crowds and craziness, we just hung out on canal street then got waffles at IHOP. We were up so late, we got to watch them clean the trash and beads from the street!! Crazy how much there was!

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Sunday

The next morning, Derrick and I got up and went to breakfast at The Ruby Slipper, which is near the Warehouse District. Since there was a 45 minute wait, we went and took a walk down by the Riverwalk. We walked down past the casino and took pictures in front of a lobster.

Crawfish Riverwalk

We made our way back to the restaurant and ate!! It was so good!! We both had peach bellinis then Derrick had shrimp & grits and I had a omelet with cheese, mushrooms and spinach with a side of grits. I was pleasantly surprised about the grits. They would have been better with cheese. The omelet was also really good. very fluffy, but filling.

The Ruby Slipper-Danae

Yum Yum Breakfast!

After breakfast, we met up with the rest of the group at the hotel and ran around. We spent sometime in Harrah’s. Leanne made 3 dollars, but the rest of us came out empty handed. We made our way back to Bourbon Street where I not only did we get Hand Grenades (a drink that we have no idea what is in it) at Tropical Isle, but I also got my picture taken with THE hand grenade. Although it was kind of groping me through is costume (that’s why I’m laughing). We went to a gay bar where I ran into guys that went to ULM and live currently in Chicago. Love running into people from home, even when I have no idea who they are. We also went to Pat O’ Brian’s to get their famous Hurricanes. The most exciting thing that happened that night was we went to Channing Tatum’s bar on Bourbon Street, Saints & Sinners. It looks pretty cute for having the name ‘Sinners’ in it. We even got on the balcony and through bead at people. A guy told us to come back the next night because they were taking pictures for the website…The night ended with seeing yet MORE passed out drunks and waffles at IHOP.

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Monday

On Monday it rained off and on all day! Leanne lost one of her contacts, so her, Gwen, Morgan and Nate ran to a local eye doctor. While they were gone, Derrick and I walked around in the rain trying to find coffee. After being “shooed” from a Starbucks, we wandered into a PJ’s coffee for some rain coverage and caffeine. While the coffee was bad, the company was good. We were hungry for lunch, but wanted to wait for the rest our group to eat lunch. We wandered into this little dive place and had some chicken gumbo. The work staff was…intense….but the food was good. When all met up again at Mother’s…a New Orleans must. The line was out the door, but we were entertained by the Commissioner of Tailgating himself, Mr. Joe Cahn. While we had no idea if his stories were true, we googled him and his story checked out. We even got a picture with him! He even does things for the Travel Channel. Check out his website here! We also walked down by the waterfront because there was the ZuLu music festival going on. We listened to this band at an outside cafe, we walked into an art gallery. Later that night, we thought we were going to go back to Saints & Sinners, but we looked rough after all the rain, so we decided to skip it. We also wandered to find this place called Mona Lisa Pizza. They ended up being closed, so that was a fail. We ended up eating at an overpriced pizza place. While bar hopping, we met up with 2 of Nate’s friends and went for a late night snack at Cafe Du Monde for beignets. Safe to say I was not being a dietitian this weekend…Also, we saw Nick Cannon on a parade float!! Pretty cool!

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Tuesday

Tuesday was our last night there. It rained off and on, but that didn’t stop us from spending our last day in NOLA outside on the streets. We tried to find place to eat lunch and went to Domenica’s inside The Roosevelt Hotel. I got this roasted eggplant pizza. SO GOOD!! After going back to the hotel and hanging out with people, we all went our separate ways. On our way out of town, Derrick and I got detoured due to the parade that was ongoing, but still managed to get on the highway. We went a different way then when we came. We actually went through Hammond, LA which is where the movie “The Lucky One” takes place.  We got Starbucks to tide us over until we got to Lafayette where we got the food we had been longing for since Saturday….JIMMY JOHNS! It was so good. By the time we got back to Alexandria, it was 8pm, then I still had a long (and lonely) drive back to Monroe. It was the first time I had been alone since the start of Mardi Gras. It felt soo go to be back in my own bed and unpack. Felt good to be clean again!

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Wednesday

Wednesday I was sore and tired. After sleeping the morning away, I awoke and joined Gwen, Nate, Morgan and Leanne to the Bierdharn Coke Museum and Gardens in Monroe. We got a history about the Biedharns, who moved to Monroe and bottled Coca-Cola. We even got cokes for a nickle in a glass bottle!! After the tour of the museum, we got a tour of Emmy-Lou Bierdharn’s home. She was the daughter of the man who started bottled Cokes in Monroe. She was a very wealthy woman and loved having nice things. She had a career as an opera singer in Europe but moved back to Monroe due to the war. I got to play on her grand piano!! (see picture below) We also walked around in the outside garden. If I was living in Monroe for the rest of my life, I would get married in this garden. It was gorgeous. Apparently they have concerts here in the spring and summer. I’m sure it is really pretty during that time.

I also planned on writing this blog entry, but that obviously, that did not happen. I could barely do my homework. I used Wednesday as a R&R day, and by R&R I mean rest and recover!

Overall, the weekend was great! Nobody got sick, nobody got hurt, nobody fought (at least with each other) and nobody got lost, raped or killed (except for that one guy that got shot on Bourbon)! Pretty successful for us! This time last week I was in New Orleans and a week later, I’m still recovering. Next week is a new week!

XOXO, Danae

P.S. I know I wrote a lot, but that is mainly for me, so I remember what I did!! 1000 brownie points for you if you actually read this whole thing!

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Daily Post: Stroke of Midnight

When 2012 turned to 2013, I was with my best friends. I was with one of my best friends Jeanine. We have been friends since 6th grade (after being in the same Girl Scout troop), and we are still going strong.

Then I had three of my best guy friends: Greg, Ken and Brian. I do not have a lot of friends that are guys, but these boys are supportive of me and I know that they will always protect me and have my back. We were at a bar in Naperville called Black Finn. Three levels are dancing and drinks!! At midnight, I rang in the new year with friends that have always been there for me. There was no where else I would rather be…except for maybe the Bahamas…where it’s warm.

Hope everyone had a wonderful new year and I wish everyone happiness in 2013!

XOXO, Danae

A little blurry, but Jeanine and I at Black Finn

A little blurry, but Jeanine and I at Black Finn, NYE 2012

New Rotations. New Quarter. New Start.

Hope everyone had a great thanksgiving! I had a wonderful time at home seeing friends and family. Won’t boar you with the details but here is an overview of what went on.

1. Left Monroe 6:50 am and got to Chicago at 3:35 pm. My whole family + my brother’s girlfriend picked me up then went to eat at Toby Keith’s I ❤ This Bar & Grill for a (very) early dinner.

2. Shopped with my sister and mother.

3. Went to one of those eat and drink movie theaters with one of my best friends at saw Breaking Dawn Part 2.

4. Went to the Turkey Trot, a bar crawl in Chicago in honor of Black Wednesday. I went with my friend Greg and his co-worker Tyler. All you had to do was pay 20 bucks and you got beer, “Pilgrims Punch”, food and free trolley rides that took you to all of the bars. We managed to make it to all six. It was a good time.

5. Drove to Champaign and ate Thanksgiving at my grandma’s house.

6. Saw the movie Flight. Scary as s***, but still really good. (Note: If you hate flying, do NOT see this movie)

7. Went Black Friday Shopping.

8. Saw family from TX, CA, IL and WI in honor of my great-aunts 90th birthday! We had a party at an italian restaurant. It was a lot of family for such a small room (There were over 20 of us!)

9. Got sushi at my favorite spot, RA Sushi.

10. A woman behind me threw up on the plane on the way from Dallas to Monroe. It smelled.

It was a very good break, but looking forward to starting my new set of rotations. I start tomorrow at St. Francis for clinical rotations. Should be interesting getting to know a whole new, and larger facility.

XOXO, Danae

P.S. Fellow intern, Katelyn, wrote a recipe for Fruit Pizza for College Lifestyles Magazine! Check it out!

25 days until I’ll be home for Christmas {Break}!

Fall Community Rotation Part 3 of 3: Completed! (Next Stop Home!)

Well, not only is the third part of my community rotation completed, but  I have finished my second quarter of graduate school/internship!! It is crazy how fast time has flown by. It has been a hard quarter, so I have definitely earned a break!

My last week at the diabetes center was great. I love the atmosphere there– it is so laid back. I love the ability to follow up with patients and see how they are doing, yet I love it when I have some free time to sit with my co-workers and drink homemade hot cocoa. The people I worked with were so sweet and I am going to miss working with them. I would so the most interesting patient I had this week was I sat in on a lap-band surgery consultation for a girl who is just 10 days older than me! 10 DAYS! It is so sad when someone is 23 years old and they are that overweight that they need the lap band, when it actuality, with diet and exercise they could most likely lose the weight. But  I guess if you won’t put forth the effort to cut back, exercise and eat right it makes sense to take the easy way out? I don’t know if I 100% agree with that.

Because Monroe Airport is so small (Only three airlines fly into this airport and they probably have 5-10 flight in and out of there is a day), I have mucho connecting flights. You can only get to Monroe Airport via Houston Airport, Dallas/Fort Worth Airport and Atlanta Airport. I start my flight journey at 6 something in the AM, but I get into the Chi around 3:30. So and early start, but I get to spend the rest of the afternoon with my family and wine!  Below is  visualization.

Monroe–> Dallas/Ft. Worth –> Peoria –> Chicago

Gwen and Nate and myself (along with possibly some other guests) are going to Enoch’s Irish Pub tonight to celebrate a number of things like:

  1. My finishing hell previously known as Research Proposal
  2. Gwen has completed both of her management rotations
  3. Me going home.
  4. Completion of Gwen’s Management Theme Day
  5. Completion of Fall Quarter
  6. It’s the weekend!
  7. Good Final Evaluations

You get the point…there is a lot to celebrate!

I plan on having fun tonight, but I am very excited to hop on that plane tomorrow morning! I will try to at least write one entry while home.

I want to know what YOU love about Thanksgiving. Take my poll!!

And to my family that is reading this right now…I’m coming home!! Can’t wait to see you!!

XOXO, Danae

1 Day until Home!

Here Comes Nae Nae Boo Boo

Last night I celebrated Halloween. Myself, my roommate Gwen and her boyfriend/fellow intern Nate went to a local gay bar in Monroe. (Both of Nate’s roommates work there, so this is how I ended up there).

Everyone was dressed up: there was a lesbian softball team, woody & buzz light year, three drag queen Victoria Secret Angels, just plain drag queens, Adam & Steve and a whole mixture of things. Gwen went as a peacock. Nate went as a cowboy. I advised him to stay with either Gwen or myself the whole time, or else people were going to think he was one of the guys from Broke-back Mountain. Who did I go as? If the title wasn’t good enough, here are a few clues.

Clue # 1

Clue # 2

Clue # 3

Got a guess?? If you guessed the most famous chicken nugget HONEY BOO BOO CHILD, you are correct!! You better redneckognize I had a good time..

Gang’s all here!

Roomies!!

We had a blast dancing. Gwen and I both joined the costume contest. I was in the funny category and she was in the creative category. Sadly neither of us one. I got beat out by a nun and Gwen got beat out by some person I can not remember. If I was a dude dressed like honey boo boo, I probably would have won.

What are you going as for Halloween???

XOXO, Danae

20 days until home!

23rd Birthday in NOLA!!

Here are some pictures from my 23rd birthday in New Orleans! One of my best friends, Greg, flew in New Orleans and spend my birthday weekend with me! We had a great time!

Le Pavillion: Where we stayed!

The Lobby

At La Bayou on Bourbon Street

Test Tube Shots @ Big Easy Daquiris

Puppy!

In the square! Catholic Church Behind Me

Birthday Surprise from the Hotel!! That cake was delish and champagne was yum!

Birthday Night on Bourbon Street

Cruise Ship!

Me at the rooftop pool! We had the whole deck to ourselves

Lattes and Beignets @ Cafe Du Monde

Hope everyone is having a great week so far!!

XOXO, Danae

Weekend (and more) recap!

So, this past weekend was my first real weekend in Ruston. Just me and the other interns. Well, half of us anyways. Between this week and next week, all 19 of us will have gone to Diabetes Camp in Leesville, LA. Half of the others left this past Saturday and the other half of us leave this coming Saturday. Among those that left on Saturday was my roommate Katelyn and our neighbors Grey and Kelly. So, needless to say, Aswell Third Floor has been pretty quiet. Derek, Gwen and I are holding down the fort here on campus.

Friday night was pretty low key. Gwen and I were good students. We worked on some homework after class then treated ourselves to sun time by the pool. That is, until it rained on our parade. After the pool, Derek, Gwen and I drove to get LA’s famous Drive Thru Daiquiris. We also tried to save a dog that was on the side of the highway, but he just ran right back home. Since Katelyn was probably already in bed, we just went back to Derek’s dorm room to hang out. People who also joined the party was Derek’s two engineering roommates and a girl Catherine, who is friends with one of the roommates. (Think Penny to a Sheldon, Leonard and Howard). So we were chilling, chatting and watching youtube videos (watch “Share it Maybe“). Then in Olivet fashion, were were kicked out at midnight.

Saturday we also spent doing homework as well as some stress relieving exercising. The real fun happened later that night. It started of with Gwen, my roommate, and I singing karoke in our room to Mac Miller, who is a white, really fast rapper. Then Nathan (a fellow intern native to LA), and his friend James (who I call Twix) picked Derek, Gwen and I up for a night out in Ruston. We first went to the Dawg House, which is your typical college bar. We played darts, listened to 90s music and chatted up some of the locals. After about 2 hours there, we moved to this other bar/dance club just outside of Ruston. No idea what the name of it was, but the outside of it reminded me of a barn or shed. We get and find out drinks are buy 1 get 3 free…well played Ruston. We hung out and walked around a little bit. Then, I decided to get to know a few locals. The first guy was a local and was dancing by himself. I felt bad so I decided to go up and dance next to him. We danced like a couple of idiots for about 20 minutes. Then M.J’s “Billie Jean” came on and that guy danced himself into a coma. He was in the zone. The next guy I harassed danced with was a guy who I thought was a blind, mentally retarded man. (Turns out he was neither). He was by himself with a green light saber and I thought it looked like he needed a battle partner. So I just went up to him and started fighting him with my arm. That lasted about 10 minutes.

For some reason my friends think I am weird.

We spent the rest of the night hanging out and dancing. Sunday was used to recuperate.

Monday I gave my first presentation. I talked about BMI. Being at Olivet really helped my with my presentation skills. Giving a 10 minute presentation was no sweat, and I could tell I was more prepared then other. I also decided on a topic to do my practice research proposal on! PROGRESS!

Tonight is Tuesday. I was supposed to pick up Kara, a fellow intern, from the Monroe Airport at 4:45pm. (Her fiancee’s father was in critical condition and then sadly passed away). She has a connecting flight in Atlanta but Atlanta is having awful weather, so she has been delayed for a long time. Right now she is supposed to get into LA at 9:54pm. It is going to be a late night, but anything for a friend 🙂

XOXO, Danae