Dilly Dilly, dear reader! Our special guest correspondent, AirBnBecky from Oklahoma, has generously graced Gnarlinz with not only her wonderful Bachelorette Party but also a special #OneTimeInNOLA reportback on the New Orleans short-term-rental scene. Take it away, gurrrrl!!!
I love bachelorette parties so much! Mimosas, phallic-themed decor, Beyonce songs… dead bodies… what’s not to love?!
Oh, yep, sorry… the um, dead body thing? Not part of your typical bachelorette party, apparently. But for ours, it was the culmination of a series of unfortunate events. Turns out, spending St. Patrick’s Day weekend in New Orleans didn’t bring everyone the luck of the Irish we’d hoped for.
Forewarning, this blog is going to be pretty long, without many pictures, but ya know, there’s a dead body so stay tuned.
WHERE OUR LUCK RAN OUT
Our bachelorette bad luck started when three of us got a text on Thursday morning from Southwest that our flight for the next day had been unexpectedly canceled due to the Boeing 737 Max situation. Then, the bad news kept pouring in…there weren’t any available flights on Thursday, Friday or Saturday headed to New Orleans on Southwest and every other airline had tickets for about $800 one way. I just want to say that this should have been Sign #1 from the universe saying, “ummmm hi, guys, maybe not this weekend, okay? You just go ahead and stay right where you are.”
Screw the universe, we had a bachelorette party to get to.
Now, we were faced with the fact that we would have to make the 10 hour (12 hours for me) drive to New Orleans… starting that night. We were in full-on panic mode on Thursday, trying to figure out how to get off work in time to drive some of the way that night and finish up the rest on Friday.
Long story short, it was a little crazy, but we figured everything out. We finally made it into good ol’ Canton, MS seven hours later, around 2 AM, and were all able to get a few hours of sleep.
After driving the rest of the way on Friday morning, we made it to sunny, warm New Orleans. Also read: unseasonably cold, rainy, and filled with more homeless people than I’ve ever seen, New Orleans. I’d like to call this Sign #2 that we should have stayed home. That universe, she’s a persistent one!
Naturally, we went right to a cemetery (apparently that’s a thing you do here), which is where I’m fairly certain we picked up some bad juju.
Nevertheless, we stuck to our plans. Besides the cancelled flight, the lack of sleep, and the weather, we were all ready to experience everything that NOLA had to offer and celebrate our bride-to-be.
WHERE HIS LUCK RAN OUT: THE DEAD BODY
Yeah, this is the juicy part of the blog you came for. I figured if you were just perusing the headings, I’d make it easy for you to get to what y’all want to read about: DEATH. You sick freaks.
I mean, we started our trip at a cemetery so it’s only fitting that this story transpired with the type of voodoo only New Orleans could produce.
SIDE NOTE: There are going to be parts of this story where I joke or discuss collective jokes referring to the dead body and the situation in general. Honestly, that was a big coping mechanism for all of us during the trip, because of how semi-traumatizing the whole situation was. I sincerely apologize if any portion of this blog offends anyone. This man was a real person, with a family and a life of his own. However he was suffering in his life, I am glad he is now at peace. I wish we could have found out more about him so we could honor him fully. I also realize that death is a hard subject to discuss. Trust me, I know.
Months before, we had booked a home on Airbnb. “Walking distance to the French Quarter! Room for everyone!” What a great listing headline, right?! It should have said: “There will be a homeless person on your stoop upon arrival! Possibly a brothel in a past life! Room for everyone, even the dead person sitting on your futon!” Let’s just say, it was in one of the sketchiest areas and the inside was not any better. PS – apparently a 25-minute walk to the French Quarter through Sketchville, Louisiana is considered “walking distance.”
Anyway, to paint the picture: when we arrived, we entered through a back courtyard through a gate with a keypad lock. The courtyard encompassed our house and an attached studio, which had a living room and bathroom. As we’re unloading our things, we noticed a younger guy (maybe late 20s/early 30s) sitting upright on the futon.
We were technically supposed to have access to this space as well, but thought that our host had rented it out last-minute or that it WAS our host that simply fell asleep after getting our dwelling ready. We didn’t want to be rude and stare through the open window, so we saw him in passing and went right into getting ready for a night on the town in The Big Easy.
After a night on Bourbon St., filled with lots of weird test tube shots that bartenders feed you WITH THEIR MOUTHS (seriously, so unpleasant), we stumbled back home in 2 groups. Group #1 has our bride who had a few too many Hurricanes and went straight to bed upon arrival. Group #2 stayed about an hour later and called it a night when two members of our group kept trying to convince us to make that 25-minute trek home on-foot. I would just like to say, I am ALWAYS a Group #1-er. However, tonight I was a 2-er which was already a rarity and I was not about to walk home at 1:30 AM with the only thing to protect me being a slightly heavy, but adorable chunky heel.
Anyway, the 2-ers arrive home (by Uber) and as we’re walking up the steps, one of the girls noticed that the guy is STILL on the futon in the same upright position as earlier. This time, she stares long enough to realize that he isn’t breathing.
In fact, he’s not moving at all and there’s a significant pile of foam protruding from his slightly open mouth onto his shirtless chest. Seriously, it’s like a scene of Law and Order.
At that point, panic ensues. We have 2 nurses in our group, so one bravely decided to check on him while the other called 911. There was a keypad on the door, much like the one on the courtyard door and the door to get into our part of the house. Except, his was unlocked and the window was open. She checked his pulse, but she knew once she touched his cold arm, that he’d been dead for several hours… at least.
Meanwhile, all hell is breaking loose. I’m on the phone with Airbnb, the nurses are on the phone with 911, people are calling their parents/significant others, some are crying, others are throwing their things back in suitcases and preparing to get the effffff outta there. And our bride? Sound asleep… bless her heart.
Needless to say, every Airbnb customer service rep that I talked to on the phone could not believe what was going on. I kept getting transferred from person to person, having to retell the story over and over again as they passed me up the chain of command. I’m fairly positive that no amount of customer service training had prepared any of these representatives for our conversation. I don’t think they necessarily had a script titled “In case drunk bachelorette party finds dead body in rental property.”
How do I know this? Because one rep that I talked to literally said at one point: “We are sorry for the inconvenience.” INCONVENIENCE. Yep, you read that correctly! Honestly, arriving to a place with no towels or complementary shampoo is an inconvenience. This was MUCH more than that! Oy vey.
I’d also like to say that being authoritative while intoxicated is not an easy task, but I actually think I did a pretty good job… except I just kept saying over and over that there was a dead body, and I didn’t realize that each person I talked to probably thought we had like, witnessed a murder or found a rotting corpse or something in a basement. Then, for some reason, the only phrase I could think of to describe him differently was: “oh no, he’s like, freshly dead. Kinda like sleeping dead.” Drunk Abbey is very eloquent.
I also forgot to mention that, at that time, we were convinced that this was our host. So, when Airbnb reps were like “have you contacted your host?” I kept screaming, “NO, HE’S DEAD!” Guys… they probably thought I was insane.
I’m also reluctant to say, that we actually passed this dude A LOT while getting ready to go out. People were hanging out on the patio… we came back to drop off leftovers… we waited outside for our Uber. Every time he was there. Same position. But in our defense, we weren’t tryin’ to creep and we were already sketched out by the area so to be honest this seemed normal for the situation.
Finally, the cops get there and half of our group is too drunk to spell their last names and the other half is running around packing or on the phone trying to figure this whole thing out. Meanwhile… our Bachelorette is still sleeping like a rock.
The weirdest thing is that the cops were totally unimpressed with the situation. Like what happens in NOLA that cops are just totally nonchalant about stumbling upon a dead body during a bachelorette trip?? Voodoo, I tell ya.
The police officers had a few theories on how the dead guy (who would have been alive at the time, obviously) got into that room.
- He had been a previous tenant or somehow knew the code to enter into the property, which should have been changed each time there was a new tenant (which is the scariest option, since he would have had complete access to where we were staying and pretty irresponsible of the Airbnb host if that were the case)
- He was able to jump the fence and pry open a window to enter into the room where he then passed away
- He was the host and had complete access to the property
- The host was somehow involved in the death/knew this person
Either way, it looks as if he had possibly overdosed and had been dead LITERALLY the whole time we were there.
After over an hour, Airbnb (bless them) gave us the go ahead to leave the property and they would compensate us for our hotel rooms that night. Sounds amazing… in theory. Have you ever tried to get a hotel room at 3 AM in New Orleans on St. Patrick’s Day weekend? Nearly impossible, my friend.
It takes us another hour to find and book a hotel. Then, we had to wake the bride… How were we going to tell her? So many things had already gone awry this weekend and this would just be the icing on the cake.
Her mom, who was on the trip with us, drunkenly decided that she was going to fireman carry her to the car. Honestly, in theory this wasn’t a great idea… but in practice it was so much worse. Sleeping beauty was kicking and fighting back and couldn’t quite understand what was going on (probably because she was still drunk). Everyone kept saying, “get up the cops are here!” She seriously thought we were playing a joke on her.
When the whole carrying thing didn’t work out, we finally got her up, in her PJs with no shoes and a blanket wrapped around her, and started walking to the door. She looked sleepy and shell-shocked, with this sort of blank stare on her face. When we finally told her that there was a dead body and that we had to leave, her exact words were: “Why didn’t you tell me there was a dead body?! That would have put a little pep in my step!” (I think those were the mixed drinks talking).
Finally, we are all walking out the door, luggage in hand. People are passing the body on the way out, which is now starting to decompose in ways which I will not explain in this blog for your own sake.
We finally get to the hotel. It’s almost 4 AM and the only room available has 2 double beds. We booked 2 rooms with 2 double beds, but our reservation was messed up. But, are we really surprised with our luck at this point? So, 1 room, 2 double beds, with 8 people… you do the math. At this point, I’m crying. I’d sleep on the freaking dead body futon at this point I’m so tired. I think that kind of triggered the front desk lady and she actually ended giving us the only other room left available: a suite with 4 double beds and a pull out couch. Praise sweet, Creole baby Jesus.
Side note, we did find out that said dead body was not our host, by the way. Though he was fairly concerned with the text he got at 3 AM that said: “the cops are here and need to talk to you.” Once we told him the story, he felt super bad and refunded us for the whole weekend, which was awesome and just compensation for what we went through.
THE AFTERMATH: WHERE OUR LUCK BEGAN
So, the rest of the weekend went fairly smoothly. We almost missed our swamp tour because we were running on 2.5 hours of sleep, but they actually turned the boat around for us… once we told them about the dead body.
The good news is that this story made us plenty of new friends and really bonded the whole group. Since we never found out this guy’s name, we named him Roman, because that’s the street we stayed on.
Turns out, Roman became pretty popular around New Orleans. Here we are pouring one out for our homie after the St. Patrick’s day parade with our bartender.
And, just in case there was any leftover voodoo from the situation still on us, we made sure to get blessed with holy water – AKA Southern Comfort. Here’s Becky, the brave nurse who touched Roman to confirm he was dead, getting blessed.
Side note: we did NOT step over our friend Roman like the bartender said!
Anyway, we really owe it to our buddy Roman, because after we found him, our luck definitely turned around. In fact, I highly recommend New Orleans if you get good weather, no canceled flights, plenty of sleep and a death-free weekend!
Almost a month later and there is still no news story or police report that we can find about our good buddy, Roman. Which is why our group collectively decided that this story deserved to be told.
Roman, we’ll leave you with this Irish toast.
May your glass be ever full.
May the roof over your head be always strong.
And may you be in heaven half an hour before the devil knows you’re dead.
As we all have returned home and spread this story around, we’ve gotten a lot of questions. Though, the first was from my brother who only cared about if the dead body smelled bad… Anyway, it’s likely that this blog didn’t answer any of the questions that you had. In fact, maybe now you have more questions like:
- How did you not noticed for almost 12 hours that there was a dead body in your Airbnb?
- Why did the cops literally not give an effff about this situation?
- How was that sketchy place even allowed to be an Airbnb?
- How are you not traumatized?
- Was the food in New Orleans good? (Okay, this one is a yes)
Yeah, I’m still asking myself the same questions, so good luck. If you’re a true-crime fan and you’re totally fascinated with this story and want to learn more or if you (like my brother) want your weird questions answered, I’m an open book. Comment on this post or reach out to me on Instagram at @theabbeynormalblog. Cheers, and may you trust the universe the FIRST time it says: don’t go.