NOLA Round II: Part III

I’m currently at an Airbnb in Washington D.C. writing the final post of KP’s and my New Orleans “trilogy.” It’s been nearly two weeks since we flew back to the Midwest from our vacation, and we’re still laughing and sharing fun memories from our weekend away.

That Sunday, we headed to a cute breakfast spot called Two Chicks Cafe (would highly recommend) and enjoyed some beignets and Bloody Mary’s at the one and only Cafe Beignet. Feeling the warm sunshine on our shoulders and being swept away by jazz music in the late morning was the best way to start our Sunday.

KP’s first beignet experience!

After our drinks and breakfast, we meandered through the French Quarter, soaking in our last full day in the city. We received tarot readings at the only authentic shop in New Orleans (dedicated to the one and only Marie Laveau) where I received the most accurate yet uplifting reading to date. KP was in heaven as she saw typewriters in the street, similar to her business in Chicago (Poems While You Wait; check ‘em out!) and wandered into bookstores, antique shops and lingerie gems. We couldn’t stop laughing in the bookstore and each walked out with a random variety of solid reads! Our favorite moment in the lingerie shop (Trashy Diva!) was seeing this older couple buying new things. All I have to say is… goals!

We even passed our fav spot from Friday night!

While heading back to the Airbnb to drop off our newly purchased goods from some wholesome retail therapy, we even received a free book about mediation and mindfulness. KP was trying not to laugh because I’d gone on a “rampage” about how people who tell me to “mediate more often” think that’s helpful to my divorce PISS ME OFF haha! Therefore, we left the book in our lobby and continued out for our last evening in NOLA (spoiler alert: the book was still in the lobby on Monday morning when we checked out!).

After some macrons and hazelnut lattes, we visited the oldest bar in the United States and slammed some tequila drinks as we booked our ghost tour. We booked it to our tour with a good buzz going, and thoroughly enjoyed the tour. When I was in New Orleans last year with my friend Jes, we did two tours and one of them didn’t go well (drunk idiots who were interrupting the entire time). This group was awesome, we had the coolest guide and even stopped for tequila shots halfway through (yes, I understand how hypocritical I sound as I just complained about the drunk people from last year haha!).

Is this an orb?!

The tour wrapped up, and KP and I couldn’t leave NOLA without another absinthe drink. We stopped at Pirates Bar for some strong, traditional absinthe drinks—laughing and having the best time!

Buzzed, we strolled through Bourbon Street one last time prior to heading “home,” reminiscing about our weekend that we both so desperately needed. We even saw a street fight! We booked it into a Walgreens, bought some chips, watched some trashy tv shows and went to bed.

The next day, we enjoyed another Two Chicks Cafe breakfast and met some nice Michiganders. It was nice having the extra time with KP at both the New Orleans and Detroit airports—sharing tons of laughs and feeling slaphappy as ever! In Detroit, KP’s flight was delayed so I stayed with her until she boarded her flight to Chicago. For one last laugh, she tried helping me find my Viagra Boys concert goers from the Thursday prior, and almost got locked out of her Facebook account. The weekend couldn’t have been any better. 💛

Thinking about how I jumped out of a plane at this height!
Slaphappy at the Detroit airport!

Media taken Sunday, February 26 and Monday, February 27, 2023.

NOLA Round II: Part II

Saturday morning was a struggle for KP and me, but it was beyond worth it given the fun night we had on Bourbon Street. We napped, popped some Excedrin and moped our way to a breakfast joint with the kindest employees—making great use of the cash KP “found” the night before.

Our afternoon was well-spent strolling through the French Quarter, sharing profound thoughts about our recent relationships ending and reflecting on our vacation shenanigans thus far. We saw local artists, wandered into shops, pet some dogs along the way and soaked up the sun and scenery!

Don and Jennifer deserve an entire post, I swear! Don is a coworker-turned-friend of mine who is originally from New Jersey but visited New Orleans when he was 29, and never turned back (I honestly can’t see the man living anywhere else!). I met him in person for the first time at our company holiday party, but it was great to have more time with him on his turf. I loved spending time with him and his girlfriend, and I adore Jennifer as much as I adore Don! I didn’t think that would be possible.

We met up with them in the French Quarter around 5pm and started at this awesome outdoor bar called Sylvain’s, where we all had a round of Firing Squad cocktails. The four of us shared laughs about my Viagra Boys concert a few days prior (Don introduced me to the band actually!), classic New Orleans phrases like “making groceries” and had really fulfilling conversation about life in general. Friday was the wild, typical night on Bourbon Street but Saturday truly filled my heart with my dearest friends. There are so many one-liners I could write down, especially when Don and I rolled into a fancy wine and cheese spot with our Viagra Boys tee shirts (did I mention Don took his other shirt off in the middle of the bar to change into the one I’d bought him?!).

At the wine bar, KP did her best impression of a wine connoisseur, and from there the phrases could’ve been Don’s new band name or song lyrics! It was great that all four of us could talk together, but Jennifer and KP really hit it off, and Don and I were able to catch up one-on-one. I hadn’t laughed that much and hadn’t been that happy in such a long time—at least not since my day in the office with Giacomo or my time with Andy and Shawn in Atlanta. My heart was – and still is – full.

Don sporting the durag and talking all-things Wu Tang on the way back to his car was the perfect way to end the night. Don and Jennifer were beyond rad and they gave KP and me hope for true love one day. The most beautiful thing is that not only could Don truly be himself, but he was loved and celebrated by Jennifer for who he truly was at his core. As Don would say, “That’s pretty bitchin’!”

KP and I meandered through Bourbon Street after we parted ways with the best couple ever, headed to one of my favorite spots in the Quarter (Mahogany Jazz Hall) to indulge in some absinthe and bubbly, grabbed mediocre appetizers at this place that was way too upscale, and called it an earlier night. ☺️

Photos taken Saturday, February 25, 2023.

NOLA Round II: Part I

I’ve only been to New Orleans twice, and boy was this last time the most fun I’ve had in a while!

I hadn’t seen one of my best friends since I left Chicago in September of last year, and it was great to spend the long weekend with KP. We both landed at the airport around 5:30 in the evening on Friday the 24th—which happened to be her birthday! Hugging her at the airport was one of the best gifts I could’ve received, even though it was her birthday. We got all our catching up out of the way during the taxi ride to our Airbnb, and fully immersed ourselves in the French Quarter as we drove past the spooky sights.

Our evening began with strolling through antique shops and art galleries, and a birthday toast on one of the terraces—hearing accordion music in the backdrop and people watching below. KP and I were in awe of all the sights and sounds around us, and loved that people in the French Quarter could be their true, authentic selves. We also enjoyed a great meal at the Vampire Cafe, where KP and I ordered drinks according to our blood type.

After our dinner and blood bags, we tried finding some good, local live music. We scoped out a few places until finding one that was really fun and had an upstairs balcony (coming from the stormy Midwest, we both wanted to feel the warm evening air!). Our goal was to continue enjoying the backdrop of the city and hear the sounds of Bourbon Street around us.

Once we found the perfect balcony to continue our celebration, we met four grad students from Ohio State who were actually in town for a “fish conference” (I believe it was called Aquaculture 2023 or something like that?). One of the guys named Pete was such a riot and was cracking us up the entire time! Their group left shortly afterward, but we exchanged numbers with Pete after tons of laughs and good conversation.

After Pete and his friends parted ways with us, a bachelor party asked if they could take their table. KP and I were going to hit another bar, but it’s a good thing we didn’t! When I’m drinking I’m even kinder and offered to buy the group a round of shots—to celebrate both the husband-to-be and KP’s birthday. I bought everyone a round of pickle back shots (big mistake, as I’d been drinking gin and tequila already!) but it was super fun nonetheless. The guys invited us to officially be part of their bachelor party (but KP and I like to say that we “crashed,” simply because it sounds more fun!) and continue the night at a strip club. I haven’t been to one since my college days, but when in Rome… plus the guys were trustworthy and it was the classiest strip club I’d ever been to. The patrons were well-behaved (rare), the place was extremely clean (rarer) and the women were not only beautiful—but truly treated with respect (rarest!). In classic drunk-Cate fashion, I bought everyone another round of shots and I stole a couple hats along the way. As far as thievery goes, KP was worse as she “found” some cash from another group of guys… I couldn’t believe it! But hey, at least part of our breakfast was paid for the next day. 😅

Made a new friend, Marcus! 😀

Photos taken Friday, February 24, 2023.

February 2023 Progress & Gratitude

February, March and April were – and will continue to be – filled with new adventures, travel experience and growth. I can officially cross two more of my 2023 wishes as complete!

I’m still discovering a passion, but I’m making significant strides in healing. I wrote what I call “burn letters” early last month—which really helped me get my feelings out and heal. I wrote letters to friends who haven’t been there for me, Juan and people who have recently hurt me when I trusted them most.

Linley has been a big part of my healing progress. We’ve gone on some familiar trails, he’s been my buddy at work and we’re planning some new adventures together!

The cooking, reading, saying “no” and “yes” at the right times, setting boundaries, creating new adventures… it’s all happening and I’m setting the foundation so it continues to happen. I’m really excited about this—and it’s needed to happen for so long now.

I took myself on a date to the Viagra Boys concert in Detroit on February 23rd!
Reunited with KP in New Orleans for her birthday on February 24!
Had the most uplifting reading yet!

And as far as community goes, I have the best coworkers-turned-friends in my current job. I LOVE IT HERE! There are certainly some difficult days with clients or our partners, but I never expected to “belong” as much as I currently do (I felt like I had to change to “fit in” elsewhere). Don, Giacomo, Baylen, Justin… are all becoming close friends, and Catherine and Veronica already are! KP and I even saw Don and his girlfriend Jennifer in NOLA over the weekend, where the Viagra Boys tee shirts from Thursday evening made an appearance!

Things are difficult and turbulent and hard and beautiful and hopeful and bittersweet, but I’m slowly seeing the clouds parting. I’m seeing who my truest friends are – and were this entire time – and I’m feeling like the best is yet to come. 💛

Media taken January through February 26, 2023.

Takin’ It Slow in “The Big Easy”

I’ve never been the type of person who has a singular, large group of friends (think How I Met Your Mother, Friends, or any sitcom for that matter). For the longest time I thought that was a bad thing, but I have always been blessed and grateful that I have close friendships from travel and work-related adventures (see a previous post with this same sentiment). I’m an “introverted, extrovert” who values my quality time with one or two people more than big groups of people, even as an ENFJ. And one of those friends I have gotten to know over the years is Jes.

Jes and I worked together during the pandemic (fall 2020 through spring 2021 to be exact), but never met in person until July, 2021. I decided to part ways with the company, move to Chicago and start something new; as much as this was the right thing to do at the time, knowing that I wouldn’t be in Asheville with Jes, Carolina and the other amazing women I met at The Pritchett Company was difficult to grasp. I HAD to visit Asheville and meet Jes in person, something that felt long overdue.

Jes (left), Carolina (right) and I (middle) in Asheville, North Carolina (July, 2021)

Jes and I planned a somewhat spontaneous trip to New Orleans (NOLA) a few weeks ago, and we had such a fun, easygoing weekend here in The Big Easy. Between the snowy weather and mechanical issues at O’hare in Chicago on Friday morning and the delays heading home last night, here were some of my favorite aspects of our time together.

Ghost and Cemetery Tours

As lovers of all-things haunted, Jes and I signed up for a walking ghost tour and a cemetery bus tour to end each night in NOLA. On Friday, we strolled through the French Quarter and we learned about all the haunted, ghost-infested sights from NOLA’s beginning to Marie Laveau‘s voodoo presence to Nicholas Cage’s drunken shenanigans—resulting in him getting kicked out of the city for good. Some of the most disturbing stories involved children dying of yellow fever and throwing themselves out of buildings, and how horribly slaves were treated. If you like spooky minus the graphic detail, I recommend a bus tour instead of a walking tour.

Pro tip: Go earlier in the night if you want more history than “fun.” A lot of tipsy folks will be on the later tours, and it can take away from the seriousness of NOLA’s haunted history!

Pro tip II: Get your palms or cards read! Jes and I did this and had a great time, learning something new along the way. Just make sure you go to a reputable place.


Whether we were in the city centre, Congo Square or our tattoo studio on Magazine Street, Jes and I greatly appreciated the art as we strolled each afternoon. There is such a unique vibrant art scene in New Orleans that I appreciated very much. If you ever have some time to kill between activities, especially on a nice, sunny day, please take your time and get to know the local artists. Jes actually closed on a house Friday morning, which was the perfect excuse to buy new pieces!

Not only did we get artwork for ourselves, we also had some artwork done on ourselves…

Pro tip: Avoid tourist traps at all costs! You won’t get the authenticity and personality in your gifts from a “Made in China” shop. Artists will charge more for their time and brand, but it’s SO worth it.

Jazz Music

As a Detroit native and longtime lover of jazz, this was a must for my time in NOLA. We found a lowkey, casual absinthe bar (a plus!) and had to check it out. Jes and I each enjoyed a cocktail and swayed to the music before heading out on one of our tours. Boy did this make me miss Detroit!

Pro tip: Even if you don’t like jazz or want to carve time out for it per se, you can always pop into a dive bar, grab a drink and some bar food, and enjoy yourself for a song or two.

People Watching

^two truest words ever spoken about this city. My definition of a “wild night out” is three drinks and in bed by midnight. Some of the tourists here go HARD, and it shows even while waltzing down Bourbon Street. Even though we felt out of place, it’s worth a stroll and some snaps.

Pro tip: Please don’t be an idiot. Wear your mask.

There is truly something for everyone in The Big Easy. The food, energy and charm are truly one of a kind, and even if you’re a Midwesterner like myself, I highly recommend this southern city! I can’t wait for my next girls weekend with Jes 😀

Photos and videos taken Friday, January 28 – Sunday, January 30