My cousin Matt got married on Friday. (Congrats, Matt and Katie!)
The wedding was in New Orleans and a lot of my family came down from Minnesota, Virginia and Texas to be there. We chatted on Facebook and determined that most of my fam was staying at the Marriott on Canal Street, so the night of the wedding Betty and I booked a room at the Marriott on Canal Street.
Wait, what's that? They weren't staying at the Marriott on Canal Street? They were staying at Courtyard Marriott Iberville Hotel on Iberville Street? Yes, we of the Tanory clan are not very good at coordinating activities and schedules. That's part of what makes it so much fun to all get together.
But no worries. Had we stayed at the same hotel as my family, we would have probably all just gone out, got drunk together, possibly tricked our female cousins into going to a transvestite strip club, then gone back to the hotel and played a massive poker tournament until the wee hours of the morning. Instead, we got something better:
A hotel with an Irish Jig competition.
This weekend New Orleans was host to the Southern Region Oireachtas, otherwise known as the Irish Jig Competition in laymen's terms. Girls (and some guys) wore wigs, expensive dresses, lots of makeup and fancy shoes, and jigged around every inch of open space at the hotel. They danced in the lobby, they danced in the hallways... one girl (who won 5th) danced in the elevator for us. They were actually really fun to watch, and everyone we talked to was extremely friendly. It even left an Irish song in my head all weekend.
Having a thousand young girls dancing around me in New Orleans normally wouldn't have been a bad thing, but the Marriott on Canal Street has "fancy elevators" that basically make getting to your room and completely unnecessary hassle. Instead of pushing the "Up" button from the first floor, you instead have to enter your floor number into a large digital pad that is placed between six elevators. Each elevator has a letter (ie, Elevators A - F) and the pad's monitor then tells you what elevator to stand in front of. Also, each elevator takes forever and a day to bring you where you need to go. With hundreds of girls milling around the lobby, it took us longer to get into an elevator than it does to get through the light on Airline and Highland in Baton Rouge during rush hour.
I felt like an old man at that point. I kept muttering to anyone who would listen, "In my day we had two buttons - up and down - and we liked it that way! Gone are the days when you could guess which elevator will open!"
Inside the elevator, there are no buttons. You go where it takes you. And if you get into the wrong elevator, kindly wait 20 minutes for another elevator to pick you up, because that's how long those things take to get anywhere.
I only bring up the Irish dancing and the awful elevators because Betty let me know about them every 10 minutes for the rest of the trip. She didn't want to stay at the Marriott. In fact, she was sure that the rest of my family was NOT at the Marriott, as she had spoken to every other member of my family on the phone or through email whereas I had only Facebooked them 2 hours before the wedding. She wanted to stay at the Crowne Plaza, which is located next door to the Ritz-Carlton, which is where the reception took place. But did I listen? No!
So we walked a few extra blocks from our hotel to the Ritz, because we didn't get to our room in time for the wedding. (The elevators may have had something to do with that.) This gave us a chance to take in some sights, sounds and smells. New Orleans looked and smelled like it always does: like a beautiful, rose-smelling diamond covered in a hobo's vomit. New Orleans is a beautiful and terrifying city all at once. On the one hand, it's the murder capital of the US. On the other hand, it's got some of the best food and music anywhere.
Did I mention that valet parking at the Marriot was $40? Betty assures me that it's probably only $30 at the Crowne Plaza. OK, enough about that!
The reception was awesome! First, it was great to see all of my family from all over the US. We danced, we laughed, we compared unibrow length and thickness. Second, I got to see a lot of my fraternity brothers - some of whom I haven't seen in 10 years! Third, the food was outstanding. Fourth, the band was incredible, and my favorite tune of the night was Sweet Child O' Mine (in which I hit the high note at the end). But last, and key to this blog, was that there was a guy named Craig who worked the martini bar at the Ritz, and we became fast friends.
Craig, if you're reading this, I hate you. I mean, my stomach and head hate you. Also, the rest of me does as well.
Betty and I started out drinking wine. She likes red and I like white. Then I took a shot of something. And then we started drinking blueberry and lemon drop martinis. A lot of martinis. Like, probably 5 each. Or more like 8. I lost count after 4.
So this morning we woke up in severe pain. Our heads hurt. Our stomachs were revolting against the rest of our bodies. I hurled a few times then called for a late checkout and took a nap. When we finally got up, we tried to walk to get food, but couldn't stray too far from our hotel because we needed access to a restroom in case one of us (ie, me) had to puke again.
The wait for the damn elevators took 10 minutes, and then we made six stops on the way down. Betty almost lost her proverbial lunch in the elevator, which would have made for a much better blog post. Our heads were pounding from the Irish dancers practicing their jigs in the elevator.
Finally we made it outside the hotel. Had we stayed at the Crowne Plaza then we would have been close enough to meet my extended family for breakfast. Alas, we were several blocks away, and that was too far for us to sway towards. Walking down Canal, holding our arms out to latch onto light poles and other objects to keep us upright, we probably looked like characters from the Walking Dead. I was sweating profusely by this point, and people were actively avoiding me. I seriously thought about puking in a trash can on the sidewalk. Hey, when in New Orleans, right?
We saw a PJs across the street and made our way across to it, but the line was too long. We settled on getting a Sprite, Powerade and some Ritz crackers from a CVS. Betty checked out while I went outside to get some fresh air. I leaned against the wall outside, hung my head, continued to drip sweat as if I had just run a marathon, and probably looked like one of the homeless junkies swaying and sweating ten feet away from me. The CVS didn't have a restroom, which is lucky for the CVS because I would have destroyed it.
When we got back to the Marriott on Canal Street, I stopped for a brief second while my body told me all the nasty things it was going to do to me. Then I made a run for the bathroom. I was like the star running back on your fantasy football team, sprinting, cutting and bounding away through the throngs of tourists, concierge help and Irish dancers. I burst into the bathroom and shoved aside a kid going into the last open stall, and then puked everything that I had ever eaten or drank in my entire life into the toilet. The automatic toilet flushed. I tasted a hint of blueberry and lemon drop martini, and then I puked again.
We left New Orleans, having done none of our usual activities that we love to do when visiting: we didn't go to Cafe Du Monde or Central Grocery, we didn't get any pralines. We didn't see my family again and we even forgot about the Comic Con at the Convention Center. All we could think of was that we had to get home to our kids. And beds. Because we both needed another nap.
But we did get to see Matt and Katie on their wedding day, and we got to see all our family. And that made it another successful Tanory wedding!