I flew down to New Orleans from NYC’s JFK Airport early on Friday, Feb 5th. Evidently, JetBlue has recently changed their reservation system so their email warning to get to the airport 2 hours early was a good one to heed. Being a little neurotic, I did so and still just barely made my flight. I ended up walking onto the plane, then one other person walked on behind me and they closed the door. Phew! Potential disaster one (of many) had been averted.
The flight down lacked babies crying but more than made up for it with lots of turbulence. Considering the rest of the country was getting snowed upon heavily, I considered myself lucky to be headed South and although the ride was bumpy the whole way, it wasn’t ever that bad.
When I got to New Orleans, I realized that I wasn’t actually that far South. The big N.O. is in a temperate zone and it was probably 55 degrees and windy so for February it wasn’t too bad. Maybe felt like 45 degrees because of the wind but that was still a marked improvement over the 20 degree (not even counting windchill) weather I had left behind in Brooklyn. I got my sticks, picked up my bag and then got a ride from the airport with my giant, but younger, brother. I am the midget of my family at 6’1″. Hey, at least I got the good looks.
We showed up to the fields nice and early to help squeegee away the water and mud and line them up for a weekend of lacrosse. The guys from the New Orleans Lacrosse Club really do EVERYTHING to make this tourney happen and they were out in full force getting the fields ready. Needless to say, there aren’t a ton of lax fields in Louisiana but the NOLC guys do a great job of site prep. We worked for a couple of hours (just what I needed after an early flight!) and then started getting ready for the games to begin.
NOLC provided us with sick reversible “Jester” pinneys (seen in detail above) but no shorts so I wore the StrikerDanger shorts that I got in Miami. Over the course of the weekend, I got A LOT of compliments on those bad boys. By 5:15, the lights at the fields came on, teams kept rolling in and we got underway.
In our first game, NOLC played the Maple Danglers out of Brampton, Ontario. A bunch of the guys play for the Brampton Excelsiors, which is a box club team in Canada. They put a team in the Mann Cup and have had players like Colin Doyle, Dan Dawson, the Merrill brothers and other MLL and NLL stars on their A squad. While none of these star players were on this team, they still had that sweet Canadian style of play and sense of humor. You slash these guys as hard as you can and all they do is grin and slash you back… then after the game, they offer you a beer. True lax dudes.
We went up 3-1 in the first half behind goals from our own Canadians, who had relocated to New Orleans years ago. In the second, we slowed down and they kept coming and the Maple Danglers pulled out the 6-3 win. It was a really good opening game and would serve as a nice intro to the Canucks.
I ended up spending a good amount of time over the weekend with these guys talking boxla and what playing on Native American Reservations is like. The answer to the latter is “crazytown”, in case you were wondering. Prepare to have a 70 year old toothless woman throw a battery at your head… but it’s only because they love lax so much, so I’m ok with it.
I didn’t stick around to catch any of the other Friday games because we had a chance to catch the first parade of the Mardi Gras celebration called the Ocean Parade. I watched it on St. Charles (NOT in the French Quarter) and to my surprise, there were way more families than drunk people flashing their private bits. I didn’t see anything “inappropriate” all weekend and it really shook my assumption of what Mardi Gras entailed.
Of course, when I heard stories from people who DID go to the French Quarter, my assumptions were totally reinforced so I don’t really know where that leaves us. My brother, his wife-to-be and I stayed out on St. Charles for a while longer (after grabbing the best bloody mary EVER from a bar called Igor’s and then we headed to another bar somewhere else. I was pretty lost the entire weekend. After a while we headed back to my brother’s house to catch a couple hours worth of Z’s before heading back on Saturday. I could already tell I would need a McDonald’s breakfast to make it through the day.
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