From New Awlins to Vegas: My first decade of adulthood


Ten years ago this past summer, my buddy Jim Lauterhahn and I embarked on a trip to New Orleans. I was a broke college junior who used the last  paycheck he’d ever receive from hauling parcels off UPS tractor trailers overnight to pay for the jazzy weeklong romp.

We left on a Monday in July, stopped at Duke University briefly to see a friend (we missed him), stopped in Decatur outside Atlanta for a night to see a Mets-Braves game and made it across the bayou and into New Orleans in about 52 hours. That’s what one of the postcards I found recently says. I don’t remember much of the timeline. I was really in a chill mode of my life. I’ve since promised Jim I’d write about the trip Kerouac-style one day but that day hasn’t yet come.

I’d still like to think Jim and I are in the chill mode of our lives, I mean, responsibility sucks to a certain extent – and by certain, I mean, almost the whole extent. But 10 years later, it’s getting harder and harder to look at both our lives and think: yea, we’re still riding along sweet and such, doing our own thing.

For one, Jimbo, or Slumpy, as his brothers Dave and John and Steve call him, has moved to Vegas. Yea, cool, he must be like a Texas Hold’em poker pro or something, right? No. He’s a school teacher in the special ed program of the Clark County School District. Oh, well, he must party hard in the City of Sin picking up all the vulnerable chickies who come in looking for a quick good time over a long weekend, no? No, indeed, he’s very happily married to a real sweetheart. And they have the cutest kid ever. So it’s all leave it to beaver-style and not very “Let’s wing it down to New Awlins for the week” anytime soon.

I recently got back from his wedding, which was two months ago. Stayed in “Old Las Vegas,” down on Fremont Street, got the “Fremont Experience.” Everyone else in the wedding stayed in the middle of what I can presume is “New Las Vegas,” at the Excalibur Casino in the middle of all the glamor and so forth. I was proud of myself for bucking the trend – the Lauterhahn brothers call it the “Pollard-effect” after a guy who apparently doesn’t like to follow reservation suggestions either – but my pride collapsed my sinus cavity after I got into the casino I was staying at. It smelled like cigarettes that had been smoked back when Old Las Vegas was still New Las Vegas. The chill factor that I might once have gotten a kick out of from staying in some dodgy dump off the beaten path no longer serves as a lens for how I see the world, so it seems.

Now that I make some real money, and don’t have to spend nights slinging hundreds of boxes of cargo around, chilling out on a vacation comes with a certain amount of refinement. And it also most times now comes with my fiance, Nikijha, who enjoys the finer things in life as well. Jimbo and I had talked a couple years back about a second trip to New Orleans on the 10th anniversary of our initial romp, but that trip turned into me heading to Las Vegas for his wedding with his new wife Lisa. It counted, sort of, in my book as a trip for us.

We’ll head back one day to New Orleans, I imagine, maybe on the 20th anniversary, sometime in July 2021. I’ll be two decades into adulthood by then and should have a firm grip on what it is to be responsible and accountable and such. By 2021, I imagine Jimbo and I will need another trip to New Orleans. We’ll stay in the Garden District and go to the Maple Leaf and spend one day – just one – on Bourbon Street. It’ll shake off the cobwebs a little. It’s always good reminding – not often now, but very occasionally, I reckon – that you once did things no one else thought was a great idea and found out no one really knows what they’re talking about. Makes you feel and act like less of an adult. Adults think they know everything.


'Five Star': A coming-of-age story about Brooklyn's gang…

'Five Star' tells a coming-of-age story about Brooklyn's gang culture at the Tribeca Film Festival.


New statue of Penn State's Paterno set for…

By David DeKokHARRISBURG, Pennsylvania (Reuters) - Fundraising for a new statue depicting Joe Paterno "as the man he was and not Joe the football coach"…


NYPD detective shoots partner: DA

A New York City Police detective was arrested early Thursday and charged with driving under the influence while on the clock.


Judge strikes down NY limits on donations to…

A federal judge on Thursday reluctantly struck down New York's limits on donations to independent political action committees as unconstitutional, potentially ushering in a new…


Championship of Collegiate a Cappella: Students who are…

Tickets to this Saturday’s International Championship of Collegiate a Cappella reportedly sold out within 11 hours of going on sale.


M.I.A. talks 'Matangi,' divinity, spontaneity and holograms

"There’s pressure for me to become a theatrical production like 'Glee,' or something" says M.I.A., "It’s like, 'the pressure’s on, bitches.'"


Tribeca: 'Goodbye to All That' star Paul Schneider…

Paul Schneider talks about his new film "Goodbye to All That," not acting too much and how he'd rather indulge in simple pleasures than play the scene.

The Word

Taylor Swift battles paparazzi daily at Tribeca penthouse

We're entranced by these photos of poor Taylor Swift leaving her Tribeca apartment.


Rangers unlikely to change lineup, Steve Mason in…

Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault wouldn't say much, but don't expect any lineup changes.


Jason Collins named to Time's 100 Most Influential…

Jason Collins was named to the list after coming out as the first openly gay player to appear in an NBA game.


Nets excited for Brooklyn fans to bring the…

Kevin Garnett has definitely used profanity while trash talking or in practices, but never to describe an entire borough.


Rangers turn up shot blocking in Game 3…

Game 3 of the Rangers-Flyers opneing round series was not a return to John Tortorella hockey.


New study: Inside the wage gap between boys…

According to a new study, there's a wage gap between boys and girls, with boys earning more allowance for less chores.


From Apple TV to Fire TV, big changes…

Apple is set to launch a new generation of it's Apple TV, which grossed over $1 billion in 2013. But competition from Amazon and Google looms.


Katy Perry releases a new Claire’s collection

Katy Perry expands her empire by releasing an accessories collection at Claire's.


MAC & Proenza Schouler collection unveiled

MAC Cosmetics is releasing a new collection with Proenza Schouler.