Five Days in New Orleans

I decided to make one last big effort to find a decent job. I flew up to New Orleans to attend the Workboat Show and search for work. I picked up my rental car and made my way down the bayou. First stop was at GOL in Raceland.

I was able to talk to the hiring manager there (he was an old friend), but they had no work since most of their boats were still laid up, so I said my goodbyes and continued on down Bayou Lafourche.

I stopped in at every boat company I could find: Alliance, Cheramie, C&G, GIS, L&M Botruc, Odyssea, Jambon, Chouest, Candies, and more. They all told me pretty much the same thing (except for one old boy who still insisted they ‘don’t have facilities for women’). They had so many of their boats stacked up and good people laid off. They had long lists of people they were hoping to get back when things picked up.

I picked up more applications and moved on.

By the time I got back to New Orleans and turned in my car, it was already dark and I was ready to check into my apartment. Yes, I rented an apartment (through hotels.com). It was really nice. It had a separate bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen/living room. It even had a washer/dryer in a closet!

I had a full kitchen with a full sized stove, oven and refrigerator, all the glasses, dishes, etc. Coffee maker and coffee, a blender, spices, etc. All I needed to cook a nice meal. Too bad I couldn’t find a decent grocery near by.

I spent the rest of the evening working on applications, emails and enjoying the view from the rooftop over the skyline. It was cool to watch the fog roll over the lights from the skyscrapers.

In the morning, I headed over to the Convention Center for the Workboat Show. I picked up my badge and a list of the vendors and sorted out my priorities. I tend to concentrate on electronics (DP systems, radios, ECDIS, charts, etc), crewing/employment agencies, and training/education providers.

I always make a point to go by and visit people I know who are there with booths too. This year, a lot of them were missing. The show seemed smaller to me this year. I suppose because of the long lasting downturn in the industry. It’s already been more than 3 years now. 😦

I did get to meet Captain Edgar Hansen from the TV show the Deadliest Catch, and I attended an interesting “Dock Talk” about women in the maritime industry: why aren’t there more women out here, what can we do about it, and why should we? Wish it was better attended, but at least someone is thinking about it.

I met up with an old friend for a couple of hours and we caught up on things as we wandered around the isles. We had a quick lunch at the food court (I do not recommend the BBQ! $3.50 for a bottle of water was a huge rip-off IMHO). I continued on visiting the vendors after my friend had to get on the road and head back home.

During the day, I was invited to a couple of parties. That’s where the best networking goes on. I’m not into partying nearly as much as I used to be, but I still hate to pass one up. I went to the LOC party at the World of Beer. It was pretty nice. Not too crowded. They had drinks and snacks we could order. Their tacos were pretty good. Plenty of beer. 🙂

I ran into a few friends there and met some new ones. It was nice to hear what everyone has been up to. The party ended fairly early, so I wound up going with a friend to the Texas A&M party at the Fulton Alley. That’s a cool place. It’s a bowling alley, with a bar. Drinks, snacks, music, etc.

Funny, but I ran into another old friend. Another captain I used to work with was there with his wife. They were in New Orleans for business and happened to be at the party. They live in the next town from me here in Texas. 🙂

I didn’t stay late, but I did meet a couple of guys who were telling me about a ‘sure thing’ job. I had already applied there, but considering what everyone was telling me; ‘go in person and you’ll get hired’, I started re-thinking my plans for the next couple of days.

Thursday I slept in a little bit later and then had breakfast across the street at the Ruby Slipper. It was really good and I was stuffed by the time I finished. I walked down to the Convention Center and then spent the rest of the day wandering around and talking to all kinds of people there. I ran into some more old friends, met some guys from Oceaneering (where I used to work) who hollered at me about my shirt, spent some time talking to the crew at Oceanwide (where I still work when they have any).

By 1700 my feet were getting sore and I was getting tired. There were more parties to go to, but I really wasn’t feeling up to it. I took a detour through the Riverwalk next door and wound up eating Chinese food from the food court while watching all the traffic on the river pass by.

I walked down the river to the Hilton and then cut across to Harrah’s casino. I figured I’d play a few games of video poker and head home. I didn’t win, but I didn’t lose much and was home by 2200 and to bed not long after.

Friday morning, I picked up another rental car and headed over to Covington to see if they were right about going in person. I was lucky to get to talk to someone in person and we had a nice talk. Of course, they had a lot of their boats tied up too, but they do have at least some work and I’m still hoping they’ll be able to find something for me there.

It was a gorgeous day and I decided to stop for a picnic before heading back over the bridge into New Orleans. I picked up supplies and headed over to Fontainebleau State Park. It was such a nice day, sunny and cool, light breeze. I had the whole place practically to myself. The lake was calm and sparkling in the sun. The beach was inviting, but I wasn’t dressed for playing in the water. 😦

I walked around the pond, looking for alligators (didn’t see any), and then drove over to check out the old sugar mill. Interesting history to read about. It got me interested to visit the nearby town of Mandeville, but it was getting late and I decided that would have to wait for another time.

I made it back to New Orleans in time to meet another friend for dinner. We had a nice time catching up over dinner by the river and then hit the casino for a couple of games. He had to get back home and I was ready to quit, so I headed home for the night.

I wanted to hit the Ruby Slipper again for breakfast Saturday, but the lines were halfway down the block on both sides! Instead, I went for beignets at the Cafe du Monde at the Riverwalk (much closer and much less crowded than the main one at Jackson Square). After my beignets and cafe au lait, I walked over to the Roosevelt Hotel to check out their famous Christmas decorations.

I had thought about having a drink at the bar, but the place was packed so I didn’t stick around. I took a walk over to Bourbon Street since I hadn’t even seen it yet this whole trip.

Glad I hadn’t tried! They’re doing construction all the way down Bourbon Street. The entire street is blocked off and you have to stay on the fenced in sidewalks. I can only imagine how that would be, packed full of rowdy loud drunks with nowhere to puke! Yuk! I’ll skip Bourbon Street til they finish up the construction!

I did finally get to try out my membership in the Bourbon of the Month Club. I sat at the bar at Dickie Brennan’s Bourbon House and watched the oyster shuckers at work. I don’t like oysters, but it was pretty entertaining to watch anyway.

 

After I finished my taste, I got to see the fresh shrimp being delivered, straight from the boats to the cooks. Nice, big, fresh shrimp. I really ought to try getting into seafood again. Seeing all that in New Orleans makes me think I’m really missing out.

By now, it was just about time for the Christmas Parade. I always try to see that when I’m in town. The Krewe of Jingle really puts on a great parade. They have some really cute costumes and dance troupes. The marching bands and miscellaneous characters all add up to make a fantastic show.

I always enjoy my time in New Orleans. There’s always something going on that’s fun and interesting. But I always wind up coming home to chill out for a while too. That’s what I’ve been doing since I got home Saturday night. 🙂

 

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Krewe of Jingle 2015

 

I went to New Orleans for the Workboat Show again this year. I didn’t stay as long as usual  (due to not working this year), but I still had time to catch the Christmas Parade. 🙂

I had actually forgotten about it. They changed the usual schedule for the Workboat Show, so I was off on my planning. I flew in the morning of the show, made the WISTA tea that afternoon, went to a party that night, spent the next day working the Show. I spent all day Friday tracking down paperwork from my last boat (in Fourchon).

I had to return the car Saturday morning, so got up early. I had planned to go to the WWII Museum right next to the car rental, but I saw them setting up the streets for a parade and it was going to start in only a little over an hour. I wanted to see it for sure!

I decided to spend the time before the parade started in the Ogden Museum of Southern Art. It was interesting and I managed to check out all of it and still have enough time to get a good spot to watch the parade. I even had time to wander around, check out the costumes and take photos before they started marching. 🙂



This is the Krewe of Jingle parade, they’ve been doing it the last few years right around the same time as the Workboat Show (Dec 5 this year). I LOVE this parade! They have such great people, fun costumes, and they’re all having such a great time. It’s contagious. 🙂

I’ve got a lot of great photos from the parade. I’ll share more later, don’t want the blog to get bogged down loading. 😉

Busy Week: 2

Once again, I’m having to post twice since I still haven’t been able to fix the issues with my blog. The original (better- with PICTURES) post is on my new blog www.captainjillsjourneys.com. Please, go and follow me there! I hate it that all my followers got left behind in the move, but I can’t move you myself, you have to go to the new site and sign up again.

I was in New Orleans last week for the Workboat Show. I got there Wednesday morning, had enough time to check out the show and then walked over to the WISTA tea at the Windsor Court Hotel.

Some friends invited me to a party held jointly by the Massachusetts and Maine Maritime academies. It was high up on the 23rd floor at the W Hotel with a fantastic view of the Mississippi River. There were more parties to attend afterwards, but I was pooping out. I didn’t think I could stay up partying too much longer so I headed back to my hotel.

On the way I stopped in at Harrah’s casino. I played the nickel video poker machines. I only put in $20, but it was after midnight by the time I thought to make a move. I still had over $10 left.

After breakfast at the hotel (not worth getting up early for), I wandered back over to the show. I talked to friends at all the recruiters (C-Mar, Oceanwide, CLS). I stopped by my old shipmate’s booth to say hi and catch up on news.

I checked out some of the more interesting booths like the one promoting tall ship sailing for everyone. I’ve always loved the tall ships, that’s what made me decide to become a professional mariner. I’ve been trying since my high school sailing trip to recreate that experience.

I was hoping to find someone hiring at the job fair, but no such luck. There were no offshore companies attending this year and so no work available. There were a few inland companies there and they were hiring. Marquette, Kirby, Canal Barge). There were a couple of engineering companies (Downey Engineering, Schottel). The hiring companies were completely outnumbered by the hopefuls looking for a job.

The Show closed down pretty soon after I finished with the job fair. I headed through the Riverwalk Shopping Center and had lunch overlooking the river. It was getting dark and cooling off when I finished so I stopped in again at the Casino and wound up spending another couple of hours there.

I wandered over to the French Quarter and did some window shopping down Royal Street. Lots of interesting art and good music even on the street. I walked back to my hotel down Bourbon Street and wondered at my lack of desire to join in the party.

I was in bed by 11 PM. Up in the morning in time to pick up the rental car I needed to run down to Fourchon to pick up some paperwork from the Mystic Viking. I spent the day driving back and forth and got back too late to return the car.

I got up early enough to return the car. I wanted to go to the WWII museum nearby, but I found out there was a parade starting soon so I changed plans. I went to the Ogden Museum of Southern Art instead. They had a lot of really interesting stuff. Anything from the usual classical paintings you’d imagine belong in a museum, to ‘art’ I bet any monkey could do. I’m always amazed how those sorts of things wind up in a museum or why anyone would pay anything for it.

I left the museum in time to find a good spot to view the parade. It was fun to watch the kids lunge for the candies and beads. The costumes were fun and of course in New Orleans they weren’t what you would expect. Not just the usual cheerleaders and marching bands, but roving bands of Elvi’s and ice cream girls in pink stripes. I’ll write more on the parade later.

PS- I don’t think the pictures are going to stay here. I just copied and pasted them from my new blog. I don’t have enough storage space here to upload the photos twice. Please go to www.captainjillsjourneys.com and follow me. Thanks for sticking with me while I try to work out all these bugs!