Not a single offer of two-for-one lap dances in front of the French Quarter gentleman clubs. This, despite having to walk past every one of them 2-6 times per day. Even when I wasn’t hauling Stella in one arm.

My guess is that everyone quickly recognized “the pudgy guy, in the broken shoe, he has kids with him, don’t bother with the hard sell.” It was probably easy enough to pick me out, kid or otherwise, simply because I saw almost no other children in the French Quarter. I stood out like an actual clown because of the scarcity of children in the Quarter. It seems parents like to party childless when they travel to NOLA. Go figure.

I had a line prepared if someone shilled in my direction. You are going to hear it now because it irritates me that I never got to use it.

The whole set up hinges on the idea that the person yelling “TWO FOR TUESDAY!” has their back turned to Stella and I as we head past. As he/she turns to proposition me, I motion with my head to Stella and say “Sorry, I’m spoken for today.”

huskie joke3

Wait, this whole scene plays out a lot better if, like me, you are envisioning it with Blackstreet´s “No Diggity” in the background, hold on…

Okay now picture it while that plays.

huskie joke3

 

AAAAAHHH???

Joking aside, I haven’t been charmed by any place in the US the way I was with New Orleans. I really felt like a place I would feel comfortable spending much more time in. Even the areas outside the Quarter have more character and charm than most places I’ve seen in the US. It clearly has it’s problems – no place is perfect by any means, but there is a low-key pride in the history and culture of the place that isn’t obnoxious.

Street food in the Quarter is a depressing chain of over priced “Lucky Hot Dogs”, but street music is outstanding (and free! … if you don’t tip them, but of course you tip them, because you are awesome and like to support good things). Christine took the kids on a ferry for a few hours one afternoon, giving me a chance to draw some street musicians on St Peter street.

DrawingNOLA-collage

Drawing_NOLA_DrewGilbert

It was drawn initially in pencil, I got everything but the rail details in three hours before I had to go meet the rest of the family – the rest was done with brush and ink once we got to Spain.

And with this, I’m soft launching an original art store on Etsy. I’m calling it “Carnet De Voyage” which literally just translates to “Travel Journal”. I will be doing drawings along these lines throughout Europe this summer during a bike tour across Euro Velo 6, we’re calling it Babies, Bikes and Baguettes.

We have no business doing anything like this, but that’s about the case for most things that we do. Christine is a force of nature and optimism, and I am great at putting my head down and schlepping (it’s one of my more practical upsides). Between the two of us, we will spend the rest of our time in the Schenegan area of Europe desperately trying to get out within our alotted 90 days. Throughout, we will be doing a lot of free-camping and likely drinking more than our share of wine (after-biking-hours, naturally). I don’t think it will be easy at all, but I do think it’s possible enough that when I suggested to Christine that we do “a bike tour of some sort” and she had this plan worked out two days later, that I could trust her on this one and put my head down and get to shlepping.

It’s okay to be scared and excited. That’s how I feel about it, anyway. Follow along with the adorable hashtag of #BaBiBa and keep checking out the Etsy store for updates as we travel across Europe.

Holy crap.