I didn’t quite know what I was in for when I hit the streets of New Orleans last week. Easter morning started out innocent enough with some yoga at Wild Lotus Yoga Studio. Mark and I were really excited to meet the yogis there and they were extremely friendly and so excited about my ice-cold Bhakti Chai, especially the teacher who buys our delicious, fiery chai at the New Orleans Food Co-op. From yoga, Mark and I went to go convert new Bhakti fans at the Easter Parade in the French Quarter. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but needless to say after weeks of more or less innocent experiences, the Easter Parade, which ended up to be more like a Mardi Gras party definitely burst my innocent bubble.
Mark and I caught the end of the parade, but pedestrians were still casually walking in the middle of the street, like it was a normal thing to do. I couldn’t believe it! The cars and I were forced to move at a snail’s pace (which is good for me considering I can only go 25 mph) as people sauntered up and down Bourbon Street with Daiquiris in hand. Despite the drinks they already had, passersby couldn’t get enough of my chai! The more people that stopped us in the street, the more attention we got, and suddenly I was overwhelmed with new fans while Mark handed out as many mini iced chai’s as he could. Even the pedicab drivers were loving us, making several laps around the block, and after our second pass down Bourbon Street people were yelling out “Hey, it’s the chai guy!” Mark and I were famous!
It was soon after this that people began tossing my mini chai samples up to onlookers on balconies in exchange for beads… and that’s how I ended up with my purple strand. Can’t say it was a bad trade, and now I have something to remember New Orleans by, as if I needed a reminder at all. New Orleans is sort of it’s own little country in many ways… between the architecture, culture, and exuberant celebration of holidays, I’d have to say NOLA is one of the more unique cities in the U.S. Through all of the commotion and activity I think it’s safe to say that the good people of New Orleans know about Bhakti and the friendly “chai guy”. Mission successful!
As wild and crazy as this city can be, the passion and energy is infectious, and the people here are genuinely kind – in fact, hugs between strangers are a regular commodity. I’ve never seen so many smiling faces, and the people I met here are now friends I will never forget! As I look forward to my next adventure in Atlanta, NOLA will definitely carry a special place in my heart.
P.S. Catch me in Atlanta later this week around town and at the Festival on Ponce on Saturday, April 11th!