New Orleans Day Trip (part 3)
New Orleans Day Trip (part 3)
This was the stinkiest part of our day. You might be surprised at that considering we were in the French Quarter of New Orleans where the streets and sidewalks are never clean. I did see a guy empty a trash can at the French Market.
I happened to visit New Orleans in July, 2005 before Hurricane Katrina hit in September.
I didn’t come back until July, 2015. On this second trip, one of my crew had never been, so we rented a car and drove over. (In their infinite wisdom, my little airline will contract rooms with a hotel located right beside the airport or in an industrial park. We often find ourselves on 16-18 hour layovers stuck 30-45 minutes away from anything. To be fair, there are a few in good locations, but not many.)
I guess, even though 10 years had passed, I expected to see it spruced up a bit. After the devastation of Katrina, I thought there would be more evidence of newer construction and a little bit cleaner. Maybe in other areas, but from what I could tell, not in the French Quarter. It was just as beat up and dirty as ever.
We ate lunch in a courtyard with mini-lights strung from the surrounding balconies and ivy cascading from planters which was quaint and very New Orleans-y. He paid $15 for a six ounce fruit punch and vodka drink.
I think he’d expected something more along the lines of a Disney World type of place. Restaurants, bars, and shops without the rides.
He was a tad underwhelmed.
Now, on this third trip, we’d all been here before. We expected to see freaks and fairies. And we weren’t disappointed.
I’ve learned to keep my cell phone’s camera ready. Pretty Shoulders was kind enough to share some of her pics with me.
The FO (first officer) suggested we go to this cigar factory. He said you can watch them hand roll their cigars. So we went.
And they do just that.
Here you see the torcedore (the guy in red, a.k.a. cigar roller) roll tobacco leaves in their familiar shape, then place each raw cigar in the slots you see in the tray at the bottom. Evidently, you start with lesser quality leaves for the center and follow with a higher quality leaf.
That tray is called a mold where the unfinished cigars are pressed for several days.
Next comes, I’m told, one of the hardest steps. The cigar is removed from the mold. A top quality tobacco leaf is cut to fit and spiral-wrapped around the cigar. The ends are trimmed and it’s sealed with a vegetable paste.
I think it is worth noting, a woman is in charge of this step. (We do the hard stuff.) These are Cosmo people. Did you notice her French pedi?
It gets a final label band before being boxed and stored in a room called a humidor where it will be aged for several months at the perfect temperature and moisture level before it’s ready to sell.
My crew had a blast. I’d show you a their goofy picture blowing smoke, but they’re shy. As a non-smoker, I found this highly and pointlessly entertaining.
Until next time. Be sweet.