The Sixth Month Bucket List

I was lucky enough to end up at school with another very cool Pickering Fellow for graduate school.  We have spent the last two years road tripping around the United States, taking time off to watch basketball and write policy memos.  When we found out we had sixth months until we had to start our real jobs, we created a bucket list of things we wanted to see and do before losing the luxury of student schedules.  This past weekend we crossed of two items: see a Final Four game and go to New Orleans.

We had incredible luck all weekend– almost as if we planned it!  On our way down, my GPS seamlessly navigated us around two full closures of I-85.  We spent the night in Montgomery, AL and were given directions to a Krispy Kreme for breakfast.  That hot fresh doughnut really made my day.

We made it down to New Orleans just in time to grab lunch at Parkway Bakery (thanks, Luke!), and had our first poor boys.

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We scooted over to the hotel to drop off our bags, and then spent the rest of the afternoon wandering around the French Quarter.  I’ve got to say, I wasn’t a huge fan.  It was by far my least favorite thing we did.  The Quarter smelled funky and was really crowded.  The street performers almost made up for it, except you had to stand in a crowd of drunk people to listen.

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Another traveling companion, Archibald

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Arch with his idol, Ignatius, of the Confederacy of Dunces

The next day we decided to start in Audubon Park, walk down St. Charles to the Garden District, and then take the cable car back.  It was a great decision!  Absolutely gorgeous homes and gardens lined the streets, and the weather was perfect.

Our last morning we spent working  in our hotel room (wha wha whaaa), before heading downtown for the women’s Final Four games.  There was a great festival going on with lots of sports activities and prizes that drew in quite a crowd.  The basketball games were really fun, particularly Louisville v. UCal (sorry, Carly!) which was close.  We were really more interested in seeing the Notre Dame v. UConn game, which was also good, but Notre Dame sort of fell apart in the second half.

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Arch outside the New Orleans Arena

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Arch’s view from the cheap seats

We hit the road right after the games, and made it to Monroeville, AL before we stopped for the night.  As we pulled off the highway, we saw signs for the Mockingbird Inn.  Immediately my travel buddy made the connection and realized we were headed to the home town of Harper Lee, author of my ALL TIME FAVORITE NOVEL, To Kill a Mockingbird.  This was by far the best moment, and luckiest, of our trip!

Although it was past 2AM when we arrived, I was almost too excited to sleep.  In the morning we saw the courthouse, which was featured in the movie, and the site of Lee’s childhood home.  Unfortunately, the courthouse museum was closed, but luckily the sweetest man in all of Alabama saw us wandering around and came out to talk to us about the museum and gave us free postcards.  Truman Capone also grew up in Monroeville, and was featured on a few plaques around town.  Monroeville really made the whole trip, in my book.

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The court house and museum

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A plaque honoring my favorite character, Atticus Finch

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