Monday, August 24, 2015

Brooks, Garth Brooks

I know, we're all terrible at posting during the summer.  I just joined the party like everyone else, right?  Yeah, we'll go with that.

About a month ago, Alex and I went to New Orleans for the weekend.  As a longtime fan of Garth (and upon the recommendation from Kara), we scored tickets to his first concert in Louisiana in EIGHTEEN YEARS.  Well, I guess technically it wasn't his first concert because he ended up doing four concerts in the span of three days, but you get the idea.

Everyone and their mama that lives in the Gulf Region was in NOLA that weekend for those concerts.  In fact, originally Alex missed out on tickets for the Saturday night show, but a few minutes after they sold out, a second (late) show was added, so that's what we got.  As it turned out, a friend of mine got early show tickets before the late show was an option, and wanted late ones instead, so we agreed to swap.  It was really a much better fit for both groups, honestly.

We both worked on Friday morning and then began the nearly 5 hour drive south early that afternoon, rolling into the hotel parking lot right at dinnertime. Typically, we do not "do" hotel restaurants but thanks to Alex's dad (somehow) we were considered reward members which included 25% off the menu.  I was feeling pretty "hangry" (exhausted, hungry, cranky) at that point, so we took advantage of the offer and then settled in for an early night.  Heck - we don't have a TV in our bedroom so watching TV in bed at hotels is always an attractive idea for us.

Saturday, I was feeling less than energetic and not at all interested in navigating the city (really, NOLA is just a big navigation headache), we decided to have brunch at a little hole in the wall cafe across the street from the hotel.  Tic Toc Cafe was totally adorable and really hit the spot for exactly what our bellies needed. It was also really awesome to see the staff recognize all the locals, calling them by name and remembering their "regular" orders.


Again not wanting to stray, I sat by the pool as Alex cooled off there for a while in the afternoon.  My friend met us to exchange the tickets and then we got ourselves together and were on our way.

Our awesome friend, Cam, told us about this super nifty app/website called ParkMe which finds parking spots near certain locations, allows you to "book" a spot, pay beforehand, print the ticket and have a guaranteed spot available waiting for you upon arrival.  Given the nature of two Garth Brooks concerts in Downtown New Orleans, we loved the idea of having a guaranteed spot to park, so we gobbled that one up.  It made life sooo much easier once we got down there.  And while our plans to kill time eating dinner at Walk-On's (re: thousands of other people had the same idea), we happened upon a trendy little pizza joint called Blaze that I would totally go for if I encountered another location sometime in the future.

Admittance to the concert and finding our eats was easy-peasy, but I almost had a heart attack when we found our seats.  I knew we were sitting in the third level but I didn't realize how huge and high that stadium was!  My anxiety really picked up and I wasn't sure I'd make it through the concert.  Alex asked a nice looking older couple a few rows lower than us if they would switch but they didn't go for it so I had to suck it up.


Garth was amazing (of course) - and Tricia Yearwood too - but I can't help but think I would have enjoyed the concert tons more if we had been in a smaller arena or sitting lower.  I did hear he recently added some shows in Little Rock this December so maybe we'll look into trying again.  Or not.  It is what it is.

Sunday morning we knocked out 9 a.m. Mass and then hit the road headed north all over again, with plans to attend a work event (free food/booze) for Alex later that night.  All in all, we enjoyed our little getaway, but I'm glad it's over and the craziness of summer travel is drawing to a close.  I'm pretty ready for regular schedules and a little less chaos in my life.

Hope all is well with you!

- Lauren

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