American Nomad Blog
About this blog
American Nomad covers the best of U.S. travel—from vacation deals to festivals, weekend getaways, travel tips, and more. A seasoned traveler and Moon author, Laura is the perfect guide to help discover new gems when traveling domestically.
- A Southern Girl's Wintertime Adventure in Yellowstone
- One Novelist's Odyssey Across America
- Gearing up for a Family Camping Trip
- Mint Juleps and More at Oak Alley Plantation
- Avoiding Identity Theft While on Vacation
- Money-Saving Travel Tips from Nomadic Matt
- Fashion, Fun, and Convenience for the Modern Traveler
- In Search of Irish Museums Across America
- The Inspiring Journey of a Solo Kayaker
- Getting Fit for Treks in Yosemite and Elsewhere, Part 2
- Getting Fit for Treks in Yosemite and Elsewhere, Part 1
- Experiencing Yosemite with YExplore
- Two Travel Contests Worth Mentioning
- A Word About the TSA's No-No List
- A Reader's Advice About Airport Security
Happy New Year's from the French Quarter!
Unlike many other holidays, which are unique to certain cultures, religions, and countries, New Year's Eve is a universal one, celebrated throughout most of the world. Although alcohol and fireworks are common aspects to the celebrations in most American towns and cities, some have their own special traditions. In Key West, for instance, a local drag queen, riding a giant, high-heeled shoe, is typically lowered from a Duval Street balcony to ring in the new year – in lieu of New York City's traditional ball drop.
Although I've never had the pleasure of experiencing that hilarious tradition for myself, I have had my share of wonderful New Year's Eve celebrations – usually in the company of my fun-loving husband, Daniel. Since the turn of the new millennium, we've partied in a variety of amazing places – from Los Angeles to the Las Vegas Strip and beyond. Our worst experience occurred on Chicago's Navy Pier, where we were nearly crushed by a crowd so thick that we couldn't even raise our hands to cheer on the countdown to midnight. Our best experiences, however, have often taken place in the New Orleans French Quarter, a fact that might not surprise those readers who know that Daniel and I spend a lot of time in the Big Easy.
So, given that we'll soon be headed from New Orleans to the Florida Keys (where I'll be researching a new Moon travel guide), we decided to venture into the French Quarter last night to celebrate the first moments of 2010. After watching the impressive fireworks display above the Mississippi River, we followed my stepbrother and his wife to One Eyed Jacks (615 Toulouse St., 504/569-8361), a moody, burlesque-style club where last night's patrons (including us) were dressed for a 1980s-style dance, dubbed the “Fast Times New Year's Eve Prom.” I even had teased hair and go-go boots for the occasion.
We all had a blast dancing to familiar songs from our high school days, amid scenes of movies like Pretty in Pink (1986) and Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982) projected on the big screen above the stage. Despite several tequila shots, Dan and I managed to dance for four hours straight. Although we're paying for our wild abandon today with sore limbs and fuzzy heads, we wouldn't have traded our experience for any other. What a festive way to kick-start the new year – and what a terrific way to initiate our upcoming research trip to the Florida Keys.
So, what about you? How did you ring in 2010? I love hearing about people's varied experiences – from watching the madness on television to jumping into the fray of an unfamiliar town – so please don't hesitate to share your stories in the comments section below. And, of course, Happy New Year!
As always, I’m open to ideas for future posts. If you have any suggestions, burning questions, or destinations that you’d like me to explore in greater detail, please comment below or contact me at laura [at] wanderingsoles [dot] com.