Day Five: Gala Concert!

Good morning from a very tired blogger. I'm sorry, but the hotel Wi-Fi is being rather slow this morning and it's taking forever to upload photos. I'll have to add them later.

Yesterday was a big (read: long) day for us in New Orleans. It started off easily enough with another fabulous hotel breakfast (thank you for the hookup, Ms. Butler--you da real MVP!), and then a quick walk over to the beautiful Audubon Aquarium of the Americas. Once we found our way inside and out of the sweltering heat (even I would agree that it was oppressively hot and humid yesterday), we were treated to all sorts of beautiful sights of various fish, birds, and reptiles. An early highlight was watching the stingrays being fed (apparently they love broccoli!). We saw alligators, penguins, owls, red tailed hawks, eels, jellyfish, sea horses, and sharks. I'm willing to bet the majority of us also dared to touch a sting ray in the "Touch a Sting Ray!" exhibit--I must admit, I was surprised by how slimy they felt--and a few of the girls even spent the $3 to experience hurricane-force winds in a simulator.

After our aquarium adventure, we wandered on over to Bourbon Street (the first block--don't worry!). While on the move, some of the girls serenaded me with a modified version of "Let It Go" that featured altered lyrics to make it about me--it was...interesting. We enjoyed all sorts of food options, sang along and head-banged to "Bohemian Rhapsody" (a video exists on Facebook), and checked out some of the memorabilia around the restaurant (my highlights were a pair of Elton John's sunglasses, Eric Clapton's pants, Louis Armstrong's trumpet, and an awesome stage-worn lamé suit/cape combo of Little Richard's. After enjoying two chocolate chip cookies and singing a rousing "Happy Birthday" to Mr. Bezick (who just happened to be walking down Bourbon Street while we were there), we walked a few blocks to the Immaculate Conception Jesuit Church.

We then had yet another marathon concert, and I managed to nod off a few times (video evidence exists somewhere, I'm sure) while we were waiting for our turn to sing our solo number. It was fun for me to hear the results of the intense rehearsing, but boy was I tired. I snuck away for a few minutes and managed to track down an extra extra large iced coffee at a local place, and then I was pretty well jacked up for the rest of the evening. We finished our rehearsal and headed back to our hotel, had about an hour or so to change clothes, get a snack, and pee (after 6PM!)--because there was no bathroom at the concert venue! We piled onto a school bus and made our way back to the church, took our places, and then proceeded to rock the house with both our solo and combined numbers. The concert was enthusiastically received by the audience.

After the show, we waited outside for some buses to pick us up. In the meantime, that extra extra large coffee afforded me the opportunity to enjoy the restroom in the verrrrry swank hotel across the street from the church. The paper towels were so luxurious that I took an extra and used it as a pocket square for the rest of the evening! Once we had a bus and packed ourselves and an all-boys choir into it like sardines, we drove down to the riverside and boarded the steamboat Natchez for a dinner and dancing cruise. While it was fun, it was also very late--it was definitely after Dr. Jenkins' bedtime. The noise and craziness of 400 screaming and dancing children wasn't enough to keep her away from her sleep, though.

After the walk back to our hotel, we headed right to bed and set our alarms for a later breakfast than usual. And that leads me up to right now! Today is our last day in the city, so we're hoping the extra sleep has reenergized us all. I look forward to a few cups of coffee...

Until tomorrow,
-R