30 “Dates”–The Rest I Got Around To

11. Blueberry picking in summer–June 2018

I’ve been wanting to do this for years but would either forget about it until blueberry season was nearly over, or not really find people interested in going. I made it happen this year. We drove to the middle of nowhere Mississippi, really middle of nowhere to the point where we thought we were going the wrong way, to find this little blueberry patch. It was hot and buggy and tedious, but I managed to pick about six pounds of blueberries for $12. I think I just finished eating the ones I froze, but I got two good baked desserts and a host of smoothies out of them. Next year I’m gonna have to go a few times to stock up on blueberries.

12. Ride the whole streetcar–July 2018

Well I technically only rode the length of St. Charles, so I rode that whole route. But I didn’t do the Canal street or the newly added Rampart streetcar. I’d call this a half-success.

13. Cemetery Tour–July 2018

I chose St. Louis No. 1 cemetery, because it os the oldest (still existing) cemetery in New Orleans, and because it houses the tombs of some notable people. Inside were Homer Plessy’s tomb (of the Plessy v. Ferguson case that enshrined “separate but equal” into law), Ernest Morial’s tomb that apparently he’s not in?, Nicolas Cage’s ridiculous tomb he purchased for himself, and Marie Laveau’s tomb (see below). The history of the cemetery, and cemeteries around the city were interesting. What was disturbing was learning how much of the city is built on top of former cemeteries (including the Superdome) and how often they incompletely removed all the remains before building. Basically, the whole city is one big graveyard and we’re walking on top of people’s remains. Is it any wonder why this place is such a mess? No respect.

14. See Marie Laveau’s Tomb–July 2018

I cheated. The cemetery tour and seeing Marie Laveau’s tomb were not two separate dates. But when I wrote this list I didn’t realize that I would be going on a cemetery tour in order to see her tomb. I guess I could’ve gone to a different cemetery than the one her tomb was in, and done two tours to be two different events, but whatever, I’m counting it.

Marie Laveau’s tomb is the reason that Catholic church now requires visitors to come through a tour rather than just walking in. A few years ago some folks came to her tomb and painted the whole thing Pepto Bismol pink. That major act of vandalism shut it down for everyone. But before that, her tomb was also routinely vandalized–here’s a picture of it in 2014 before it became limited access. People used to draw three “X’s” on her tomb, and do a host of other crap, supposedly as part of voodoo ritual. There were also fake tour guides that would get people to pay them, and they’d show them to another tomb they claimed was Marie Laveau’s, where they’d tell them to do the same three “X” thing. They’ve done a lot of work since then to restore all the tombs and get rid of much of the vandalism, and of course, now you’re monitored when you visit, so you can’t engage in the nonsense.

But you can still leave offerings. There were many at the foot of her tomb. I pulled out an errant bobby pin and left it there with the many of the other hair items. Maybe it’ll bring me some good fortune.

15. Go to Le Bon Temps on a Thursday night to hear the Soul Rebels–July 2018

I didn’t do this at all. The purpose of this “date” was to go see brass bands perform in non-festival situations. The last time I saw Soul Rebels at Le Bon Temps was for my bachelorette party three years ago and it was a blast, so I wanted to do it again. I never made it. BUT, I randomly went to Ace Hotel on a Saturday night, and they happened to be performing later that night at Three Keys, so we decided to stay. Since it’s basically the same thing, I counted it. It was still a non-festival performance in an intimate space, with two sets (we only stayed for the first), with more locals than tourists. It wa

16. La Musee de FPC (Museum of Free People of Color)–TODAY (Aug 2018)

My original plan was to go to the McKenna museum, but the way that museum is set up, you have to call and make an appointment to view the art collection on one of very few days a week. The way my introversion is set up, that didn’t sound appealing. So I swapped out that museum with La Musee de FPC (Museum of Free People of Color), which is still owned by the McKenna family, but has more frequent tours with walk-ins.

It’s a small museum…it’s actually in a house (a very large house) on Esplanade.I couldn’t actually take any pictures inside, but it’s filled with an abundance of interesting artifacts. The tour guide was excellent, she knew her history well and I learned a lot about the politics of Louisiana’s changing colonial powers and its consequences for both enslaved and free people of color. It leaves you spinning the amount of history you DON’T learn, and the way they mischaracterize what they do tell you to make them sound less inhumane.

This is definitely a tour I recommend every person go on, it was well worth the money and doesn’t take up a ton of time.

So that’s it for the “dates” I did complete before my 30th birthday tomorrow. There were other dates I already wrote about (17: Have a full Halloween, 18: Whitney Plantation, 19: Visit part of the African American heritage trail in another city–Melrose Plantation), but there were obviously a bunch that I didn’t make it to:

20. Spend the whole night on Frenchmen–just because I guess, but I hardly have the energy or friends with the energy

21. Go to the Tabasco Factory/Jungle Gardens

22. Visit Poverty Point–this and the Tabasco Factory where two “date” I thought for sure I’d get to because I had to do site visits for my job near these attractions. But I couldn’t ever make the timing work. I could only schedule visits to Monroe in a manner that required me to drive up that morning and keep going on to Shreveport the same day or early the next day. And usually by the time I got around to Lafayette, I’d be too wiped out from nonstop driving to drive the extra hour or so to go to Avery Island. Now I’m going to have to go out of my way to visit; oh well.

23. Go to Maple Leaf Bar on a Tuesday night to see Rebirth

24. Visit the Backstreet Cultural Museum

25. Visit the Tomb of the Unknown Slave

26. Tour the Pharmacy Museum

27. Go hear zydeco music: preferably out at a joint in the middle of nowhere–this idea low key scared me a bit, but at one point I thought it was going to happen as a joint adventure with someone who knows the musicians and the places to go…we couldn’t ever get it together

28. Go on a Moonlight Paddling Tour

29. Visit Grand Isle

30. ???: I made multiple substitutions throughout the year as I couldn’t make it to one-day events, like the Christmas Parade, International Fest, and Strawberry Fest, due to scheduling conflicts. For this last “date” I just couldn’t figure out what to add-in. At one point it was going to be to go to Satchmo Fest or to White Linen Night. I’ve never been to either event, but I couldn’t will myself out of the house. So this is a toss-up; I’ll find something to add, and I’m open for suggestions for new experiences.

I think I can complete most of these “dates” before the year ends, but a few may have to wait until 2019. I’ll finish my Journey to 30 before 31, that still counts right?