It's Quiet Uptown...Hamilton comes to The Saenger



One of the things I love about New Orleans so much is The Saenger Theatre.

Prior to Katrina, it was the spot to see your occasional play/musical or to see a favorite musician who wanted a more intimate evening with their fans. With the coming of Katrina, I thought we might lose that. Now, so say that now sounds ridiculous, but when Katrina hit, there was so much talk of not just residents leaving, but whole businesses picking up and going somewhere else. I mean, if they had to start over...why not start over somewhere not in a bowl, below sea level?

But we are resilient. We surprised ourselves with our resiliency as residents who chose to stay and with business who saw this as their home too. The support we gave each other from businesses to residents and vice versa, is what IS New Orleans.

Following Katrina, it took The Saenger eight years to open again. Eight years. And I am so glad for the investment and reopening. The Saenger is a staple of my city, much like the Orpheum Theater or the Joy Theater.

Now, with its reopening coming up on six years and the line up for this season's Broadway in New Orleans coming closer to an end, to say I was excited for one show in particular is an understatement. We have never been one to get season tickets and would purchase individual tickets based on what shows we wanted to see. However, this season was different. This season was "Hamilton."




All the hulabaloo we have heard for roughly four years. The outrageous cost people were selling their tickets and the outrageous amount people were willing to spend. And The Saenger had "Hamilton" as part of the 2018-2019 season? I mean...it wasn't even a question.

Of course, the cost was the logical draw. Knowing we would get awesome seats at a fair price and still have all these other amazing shows to go to throughout the season, but it was the music, and the diversity, and the spirit that ultimately drew me in. And I was not disappointed.

There are times people give something so much hype that once you see it or hear it, its a total letdown. It happens all the time. But when I tell you "Hamilton" went above and beyond my already high expectations...you have to know I truly mean it.
I have thought about seeing this play for three years. I have listened to the soundtrack on repeat for two years. I have sat with this date in my calendar for a year. And IT DID NOT DISAPPOINT! (Please clap your hands together after every word, henny!)



The music...oh the music. Head bopping, feeling the beat. The lyrics are poetry and knowing that a man who some would say was just a substitute teacher dreamt these words and put it all together...I mean, it just shows you exactly why and how he created something so many of us fell in love with. We are him. Think big, and dream bigger.

The cast was strong. They were boisterous and proud. You felt it in the air. To be a part of not just a telling of history, but also being a part of a shift in the Broadway Musical world. A part of the shift in openly discussing diversity and showing that we still have so much further to go...without being angry or ashamed to acknowledge it, but taking the steps to go further, to include and accept. Acceptance has long been a part of Broadway culture, but this telling of history in this form truly sought to bring EVERYONE together.

Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote something that took place in the late 1700s, and yet as I sat there, 2019, watching this story unfold seamlessly...it all looked so familiar.

Taperts take the Tropics

First off, I feel like I need to apologize for leaving my post hanging for the past month. I had been super stressed with our trip and just myself so kept putting writing by the wayside. But now I'm back, and it's Mardi Gras time...well at the time of this post, it's literally Fat Tuesday.

This year, however we have decided to stay in. And by we, I mean Colby has to work and I am not going out by myself. There were a couple of nights before today we could have gone, but when you have grown up going to parades your whole life, a little rain and cold tends to make you change your mind and say, "I'll go next year." So, we'll go next year!

Now, all that being said...Colby and I have just returned from a 7-day cruise with Royal Caribbean on their brand new ship, Symphony of the Seas. And let me tell you, this ship is a city all on its own. It holds more people than a lot of towns throughout America. Seriously. It's a biggun.

This cruise has been a year and a half in the making. In September 2017, we took our first cruise together on the Allure of the Seas. If you remember, this was the same time as the devastating Hurricane Maria that hit the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and and Tropics. Having seen firsthand the devastation a hurricane can throw onto a region, this was something beyond. Tourism is this area's entire income and revenue. That's really it.
Without being super depressing, to say the people here are resilient is an absolute understatement.

While on our cruise in September 2017, we booked our next cruise on Royal Caribbean's yet to sail, Symphony of the Seas. We booked the same itinerary knowing come February 2019 these islands would be back up and running and would need support in not just words, but in funds as well.

So that brings us to the present and Taperts' Vacation Time!
And let me tell you, this trip did not disappoint. Our destination spots included St. Marteen, St. Thomas, and the Bahamas. Our port was Miami.



In Miami, we killed two birds with one stone by also being able to spend time with Colby's parents, Lynette and Kevin. I had never been to Miami before, so I asked a patient who lives there for some suggestions and was told the Wynwood and Brickell. And so it was.
We spent most of our day viewing the numerous amount of artwork through the Wynwood neighborhood. Amazing pieces to be sure.
That evening, we headed to the Brickell neighborhood where we went rooftop to Sugar at the East Hotel. Amazing cocktails and views of the city!








The next morning was day one of our trip, and we didn't want to waste anytime.
For those who cruise too, let me tell you the process at the Miami port is a freakin' breeze! It moved so quickly, I literally thought I missed something and shouldn't be on the ship yet!



Once we were on the ship, all nerves and anxiety gone, I was so ready to have these next seven days relaxing and recharging; and not just for me, but for Colby, who's profession requires a lot of time outside of your normal 5 day/40 hour work week. We needed this, and Royal Caribbean most definitely provided.



The ship was amazing. It always is, but it was seriously so pretty! Our room had a balcony overlooking the Boardwalk, where we could people watch and see the best water/acrobat show I have ever seen, Hiro.




Sea days reading and relaxing, listening to podcasts, laying in the sun, trivia games throughout the ship, sipping cocktails made by ROBOTS, testing my luck at the casino, miniature golf....an unending list of things to do on a ship that holds over 8,000 passenger and crew.




When we docked, we headed to St. Marteen and St. Thomas.

St. Marteen means I am heading to Taloula Mango's and the Blue Bitch Bar. Anytime I am cruising here, you can find me here all day. Awesome spot with locals and the beautiful beach just a few steps away. Headed that way soon? Ask for Claudia and pick up a shirt from their gift shop.



If you don't know me, you will soon learn I am a creature of habit. When I find what I believe to be the best, I stay with the best. So when I go to St. Thomas, you can find me laying out on the beach of Magen's Bay, sipping their absolutely and dangerously delicious Painkillers, while chowing down on the best pepperoni pizza I have ever had (and know I have had a fuck-ton of pizza from so many different places...and I dream of Magen's Bay pizza on the regular). Although the taxi ride can be a little rough for the motion sickness prone like myself, the weaving up and down the mountains of St. Thomas proves to be worth it every time.



Upon reaching the Bahamas, I will say Colby and I took this time to stay on the ship and enjoy a chance at true peace and quiet on our vacation. With so many headed to the island, we were able to take in the sun by the pool, Colby showed off his chops on the Flowrider, and head to several spots sometimes too busy in the middle of the day. And naps...so many naps!





Other than the ease of sitting back and letting the ship take you to your next destination, cruises allow you to meet and mingle with people you may have never had the opportunity to meet.
When booking our cruise, I had our travel agent, Suzanne, put us at a 10-top table. This would loan us the opportunity to chat up other vacationers, and I am so glad we did. This trip we were able to meet a hilarious and wonderful couple, Ricky and Serguei. If you are planning a cruise and wondering if you should do the two-top or sit with a bunch of strangers...sit with the strangers. It could lead you to a night of an amazing dinner and karaoke jams with new friends.


A week later, and I am still reminiscing and laughing about our trip, wishing we could go back. We haven't scheduled our next trip just yet, but I can promise you we will be back.



Jumped the Pond to Habanero's

After our trip to Canada, my mom had been itching to see all of our pictures and get the lowdown on our surprise adventure. And that's w...