|We passed the Gator band and cheerleader buses during the drive! We gave them lots of honks and Gator chomps :)|
We headed straight for Bourbon Street as soon as we got in town. We had a few favorite bars from our last trip that we wanted to hit.
|obligatory hand grenades|
|Most people thought this was a purse but it was actually a BYOB cooler bag :)|
After a few hours of bar-hopping, we met up with our friend, David, at The Swamp - the Gator bar. We spent most of the evening up on the balcony overlooking Bourbon Street. We were so glad to be up there, and not dealing with the absolute mob of a crowd down on the street!! It was a fun way to ring in 2013.
The next day, we started off the year at the oyster bar of Acme Oysterhouse. We went there last time we were in New Orleans and loved it. Just a warning, average wait time is about 30 minutes to over an hour - even at 11am on New Years Day! Crazy, but totally worth it.
That afternoon we went to the Gator Pep Rally at the Hilton. It was okay - definitely been to better, but at least we got some free drinks and gator swag out of it.
It was raining pretty badly that night, so we found a total dive bar and hung out with some locals until dinner. Bo had really wanted to go back to Commander's Palace, but I insisted we try somewhere new. Glad we did, Cochon was amazing! So much so, that we went to the Butcher for lunch the next two days, and on our way out of town we stocked up on some of their delicious meats.
It was still raining after dinner, so we stopped in Harrah's on our way back to the hotel. Neither of us really gamble at all, and they don't even have a sports book, so we just hung out at the bar watching bowl games until the rain let up again.
And for the main event...the Sugar Bowl! The first and last time I had been to the Sugar Bowl was back in 2001 with my family when the Gators lost to Miami, one of our biggest rivals. Bo had never been to the Sugar Bowl and we were really excited for the excuse to go back to New Orleans.
It was still kinda rainy and very cold on game day, which is not an ideal mix for tailgating. Thankfully the alumni association put on a tented tailgate with heaters and all you can eat and drink - so we hung out there for a few hours before the game with David and some new Gator friends.
It had seemed like there were a lot of Gators and Cardinals fans in town over the past few days, but in reality it was an extremely empty stadium. Kinda sad, actually. Low attendance seemed to be a theme for all the bowl games except for the national championship game. If for nothing else, it made our tickets really cheap!
Anyone who watched the game or read the post-game reviews knows that it was awful. We were out-played, out-coached, out-scored....out-everything'ed. Pretty frustrating game to watch. The very first play of the game was an interception returned for a touchdown, and we had a bad feeling it wasn't going to be pretty. We trailed the entire game, final score 33-23.
Since the actual football game did not make for great entertainment, I'd say my favorite highlights of the evening were:
1) Tim Tebow on the pre-game show! We had a great view of him :)
and 2) the concession stands sold beer and spinach & artichoke dip - my fav! Helped ease the pain of the loss, if ever so slightly.
After the game we wanted nothing to do with Bourbon Street or any of the fans (ours or theirs!). We went to Bar Tonique, a local bar that we discovered last time we visited. Not a single person there had come from the game, so no one gave us any crap for being decked out in Gator gear...mission accomplished. :) They have an enormous drink menu and everything is delicious. We drowned our sorrows with a few sazeracs, a New Orleans specialty.
We had a great time in New Orleans and are still glad we went. I know you all probably think we are crazy, but we've seen plenty of losses over the years so for big games like this we are glad to have made a trip out of it so that it wasn't all for nothing. Until next season...only 209 days to go!