Thursday, January 28, 2016

New Orleans

Three days that became four in the Big Easy with five other women, most of whom I barely knew. All in honor of my best friend and her June wedding to a man, I think we all agree, is the tops.  

So many sidewalk cocktails as we wandered in and out of antique shops and junk stores. Looking for deals. Looking for magic. Studying color and patina. Explaining ourselves. 

New Orleans feels like the one who got away. The city I wish had been mine, knowing full well, it wouldn't have worked out. We would have parted ways, and my heart would have been broken. I'm too earnest and wholesome for her streets. I dance like the mom that I am. 

But she has that pull. 

Chester offered to draw our portraits. With Afros. A dollar apiece. And because unlike most of the group, I am not from a city and am not accustomed wearing blinders, I said yes. We searched around for a pen and he sat down and got to work, sketching two nearly identical faces heart shaped faces, with eyelashes that would make any diva swoon with envy.  Resemblances be damned. 

We walked inside to dance to funk music and I wondered about the men on the stage. Who handed them their first trombone? Who taught them to play the tuba? Did any of them grow up around the corner from Chester? Do they see him and love him and worry about him as they hand him a cigarette on their way home?

New Orleans, you confuse me with your pomp and your poverty. You are weighted down by stories, sinking deeper and deeper below sea level as we watch tankers trudge on above us. And I want to know those stories. I want to live them. I want to understand you and I want you to come to understand me.

You are music and dancing and plates piled high. You are beautiful and worn and saturated with smell. You are hot and humid and hidden patches of green. You welcome us all, whispering to us that we don't need to be young and fresh faced, shiny and hip. We just need to be, and I am so grateful that you let us do just that.

We drank wine at Bacchanal and got down to nineties hip hop at Willie's Chicken Shack. We twirled in Trashy Diva dresses and indulged at Cochon.  Brunched at Atchafalaya. Felt fancy at Carousel Bar. In short, had the best of times.

Joanna, I'm so glad we girl ganged the heck out of the town. You're good at doing life. Thanks for sharing your friends with me. 

And since I managed to get not a single picture of myself on my camera...

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Color // Colour Forever Red

mid-city // monochromatic houses // the bywater remembers // tributes // red shutters // krewe de vieux // shiny trucks and crumbly houses // moving on to yellow

Because her blog is my favorite that I've stumbled on in a long time and because a search for color seems a  wonderful way to pass these winter weeks staring me down.  These were all found on the streets of the Crescent City.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Of This I Am Certain

When the skies clear and the temperatures rise, make no excuses. Don't let the dirty corners and the unmade beds keep you. And even though the toddler has an accident on his way to the bathroom just as you're walking out the door, followed by a leaking baby diaper, change them both and load up the strollers and worry about the pile of wet clothes when you return.

And, yes, your daughter may get a hole in her leggings. And it is almost certain that they will all come home caked in mud. Sure, statistical averages are in favor of at least one newly acquired bruise as your mother looks on with terror as your  children scale steep hills.  Your niece will probably rebel against the stroller and insist on being carried. But maybe on the walk back, she will fall alseep in that wheeled contraption, bunny ears flopped down over her face that looks remarkably like your sister's.

If you don't go, their cheeks wouldn't color pink. And their laughter won't ring out across the marsh. And you won't get to meet the great grandmother who would prefer not to tell you about the job she so loves.

There is one thing I know, and I tell you with certainty, it is always worth going. Always.