Posts Tagged ‘NOLA’

New Orleans Lunch

July 3, 2016

I had it today.

Not lunch exactly, although I did eat quite well, but what is referred to as having a “New Orleans Lunch.”

My host at the luscious Air BnB I am staying at in the historic (what part of New Orleans is not historic, by the way) Treme district, explained to me as she was making late reservations for Friday lunch at Galatoire’s in the French Quarter, that a New Orleans lunch is a lunch that lasts all afternoon and is really an excuse for old friends to catch up with each other.

It lasts at least two hours, usually three, sometimes four.

Today lunch was three hours for me.

I have not had a more enjoyable lunch with better company in some time, not in recent memory, that is certain.

She was a new friend, so I suppose that the idea of old friends catching up did not apply, but she felt like an old friend, in fact, by the time we had finished our time together, me teary eyed with gratitude and love for the experience, she had become an old friend.

I did not start out the day knowing that this would happen.

I am so grateful.

Utterly and completely and sincerely grateful that I say yes to things, always say yes, say yes, even when you don’t want to, say yes when a stranger touches your arm and asks you out to lunch.

Say yes.

I had started out the day in a very leisurely manner.

Which was really needed after yesterday’s travel and hit the ground running start to my time in New Orleans.

I was not able to blog last night since there was a problem with the WiFi here at the Air BnB, which is just scrumptious as I said previously, with just enough Southern Gothic creepy, but not too much, I mean, yeah, I did have a moment of wariness when I knelt down to pray last night before the sleigh bed that is four feet off the ground, what is underneath this monstrous thing? But a divine space, even with the cobwebs in the corner, filled with enormous, stunning, astounding amounts of art.  The owners are collectors, artists, collaborators, and are also a part of the CANO-LA organization.

It’s basically an art home.

So chock full of art, it’s almost, but not quite, too much.

The hostess gave me the best suggestion as to how to spend my afternoon, I wanted to be to the conference to check in by 6p.m. last night, so I had the afternoon.

She drew a little map and told me to go to the New Orleans Museum of Art and then take the Canal St. Street Car down to the river and walk about.

I did exactly that.

It was divine.

I decided to walk from the mansion, to the museum yesterday, I wanted to see New Orleans from foot for a while, I find that the best place to discover and experience things.

I took a bath first in the amazing bathroom that is part of my room, which is really not a room, I really have a full suite, huge bedroom, huge ( I mean huge, the bathroom is literally the size of my studio) bathroom, and my own, again, rather large, front balcony with rocking chairs and lounge chairs and a gigantic table, and a view, of I kid not, a huge nest with six (!) baby grey crested herons.

Then I was off to the museum on foot, after a pit stop at the Pagoda cafe to get an iced coffee.

Google maps said 40 minute walk.

It took me two and a half hours.

But.

You know.

I wander.

I meander.

I stop and take photographs.

I had a beautiful, sweet, small lunch at the Degas Cafe, a gorgeous little plate of gulf prawns with okra and corn choux and chili oil.

I walked around the St. Louis Cemetery #3.

I stopped at a wig shop.

Come on!

I had to.

I browsed through a vintage store.

And I strolled around City Park for a little while before heading into the museum.

There was a great exhibition by Bob Dylan, yes the musician, of paintings he did in homage to New Orleans.

There was a spectacular Monet that I had never seen before, Snow at Giverny.

There was also a Warhol, Stilettos, that was amazing, never seen it before either, not in books or other Warhol shows.

I got my art on.

Then I took the street car down Canal Street, wandered around the edges of the French Quarter and after headed to the conference.

I came back to the Treme district and had an amazing dinner at Lola’s and then slept like a baby through the night.

As I said prior, I didn’t have much of an exact idea what I was going to do today.

I knew I would be heading to the conference in the evening.

But.

Other than that.

I was rather in a mood to let the day unfold and surprise me.

Which it did.

In spades.

I started again at Pagoda cafe and got my iced coffee.

I flipped through a little guide book my hosts had left me and decided to go the Marigny district to see the galleries there.

I took a car, it was too hot to spend an hour walking, besides, I walked so much yesterday my feet needed a break.

I went to the Front Gallery on St. Claude.

And.

Fuck.

It was closed for an installation.

However, there were some other galleries in the neighborhood, so I did an impromptu art walk and discovered a gorgeous installation at the Good Children Gallery by Lala Raščić.

It rather blew me away.

The artist was there and explained how she data mined the internet to get the images that she created that were sheets of glass painted with 24 karat gold leaf and mounted on blocks of wood, then she strategically placed lights in areas to create shadows and shapes and the results where shined upon the walls.

I was breathless with the beauty of it.

After that I rather drifted down the road.

I was uncertain about going further, it was hot, there was not much shade, and it was a long patch of road before I would get to anything else resembling a gallery.

I noticed a place that I had passed in the car on the way to the Front Gallery and decided I would just peak in.

So grateful I did.

This is where I met my new friend.

I did not meet her walking in, I met two other artists and chatted with them, told them I was visiting from San Francisco and wandered around.

I was not there all that long, twenty minutes perhaps, and I was feeling the call to move on.

I stepped outside to get a car.

And then I felt a hand on my arm.

“Excuse me, I just wanted to ask you a question,” a lilting female voice.

I turned and smiled at her, “ask away.”

“Well, this may sound a little odd, but are you doing anything for lunch?  I just, well, I like to meet interesting people and I overheard you’re from San Francisco, and you look interesting, and well, would you?”

I was struck with the flattery of it.

I am an interesting person!

Jesus.

Hello.

Carmen.

I have hot pink hair, a wild assortment of tattoos and I am wearing a vintage gingham black and white halter dress.

Of course I look interesting.

And of course.

I said yes.

What transpired next was so astounding I am still in awe hours later.

We went two doors down from the gallery to her house and she gave me a tour of her art collection.

Then.

We drove, yes, I got in a car with a complete stranger, (not that I don’t every time I call for an Uber, but) off to one of her favorite restaurants in the neighborhood.

We talked and talked and talked.

And talked.

I told her my story.

She told me hers.

Suffice to say.

A fast friendship was formed.

She’s an amazing 72 year old woman living a rich, full, wonderful life.

I aspire to be that kind of woman.

She owns her home, has loads of art, goes out to jazz clubs, loves New Orleans, travels, does photography and has just started to become a writer.

There was so much more said and spoken of, matters of the heart, that I won’t divulge, somethings that are best left at the lunch table.

She footed the bill, “a little taste of Southern hospitality,” she said and laughed.

Then she gave me a ride clear across town to Magazine Street, through the French Quarter, sharing stories all the way.

We exchanged numbers, e-mails, and addresses.

We hugged.

I got teary.

Of course I did.

That’s what I do.

Heart on my sleeve and all that.

“Now you have a New Orleans connection, you’ll stay with me the next time you’re in town.”

And what do you think I said?

Yes.

Of course.

I said.

Yes.

I am honored, awed, and thrilled.

New Orleans.

I think I love you.

 

 

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You Look Like

June 30, 2016

Mint chocolate chip ice cream with cherries on top.

He said as I walked by.

“LOVE YOUR HAIR,” he added, giving me the nod for extra special emphasis.

Thanks dude.

Everybody likes to look like ice cream.

Well.

I do.

I did have to laugh a little at myself though for the outfit I was rolling down the street with, or up the street as the case may be, heading to the spot I spend my Wednesday evenings at getting right with God.

I had come home, started my laundry and rubbed one out.

Hey.

Look.

Sometimes a girl has to do what a girl has to do.

Although I could have taken up an offer I was made this afternoon.

“How about ten months?” He texted me.

“Um, hmm, I’ll think about that, let me get back to you,” I replied.

I got back to him a few minutes later, I already knew the answer, but it was fun for a moment to consider.

“Get your year and check back with me,” I replied.

Mother fucker.

REALLY?

Like the third one in a week.

What is up?

Did no one get their birthday last June?

What the fuck is in the air?

My hormones I suppose.

The blood is high, I can tell you what.

My cycle won’t hit until I get back from New Orleans.

Great, I thought tonight as I stripped down to hop in the shower, my breasts a good half size larger than yesterday, great, I’m ovulating or soon will be.

Meh.

I do not need to head of to New Orleans with plans of getting laid, I have other things to think about, do, go to, experience.

Was I heading to New Orleans with a partner, it would be the perfect place to wander romantic in the warm night rains and make out under a lamp post.

Just nibble my neck there and there and then we’ll stroll through the French Quarter and maybe a few cemeteries, because, well, death is sexy, no?

Anyway.

I took care of business, and then laundry and then the shower and in between packing for the trip and being on top of the clothes being in the wash, I had, um, a curious assortment of an outfit as I walked out the door.

And.

I have to say, I pulled it off.

I don’t know how, but sometimes more is better.

Leopard print leggings.

A mint colored nightshirt with candy skulls in pink and white piping, topped off with a sea green sweatshirt and of course a big mountain of cotton candy pink hair with some pink roses and a sequined star clip.

Because sequins.

Hello.

I probably look ridiculous.

But.

Fuck it.

It made me happy and I was cozy as fuck.

Because, bitches, it’s cold out there.

Freaking foggy, chilly, cold, etc, etc, etc.

It was 50 degrees this morning when I got up and socked in with fog, which never really lifted.

It got a tiny bit sunny in the Mission, but the fog that had burned off was rapidly being replaced by 3 p.m. with a fresh batch of cold as fuck rolling in over Twin Peaks.

Hello summer in San Francisco.

They are not kidding.

And the Outer Sunset?

Shut the fuck up.

It was never not foggy out here.

I don’t suppose it ever really burned off.

When I hopped off my scooter and came in and greeted my house, “hello house,” I immediately turned on the heat and lit up some candles.

Welcome to summer, break out your scarves.

I am so looking forward to being somewhere warm for a little while.

I’m sure the heat and the humidity will lose their luster pretty quick, but right now, it sounds fantastic.

A warm run of nights where I can walk outside bare skinned to the air and drift in the warm magnolia scent of summer.

Bring it the fuck on.

One more shift at work and then I’m ghost.

I’ll finish work at 6p.m.

Scooter home.

Grab my rolling suitcase, which is 95% packed, and head out the door to the airport.

I will probably call for a car.

I could try the MUNI and the BART, but I think I’ll also be hitting rush hour commute time and I don’t particularly care to risk being late on the flight.

I would rather get there a little early and blog from the waiting area at the gate.

Tomorrow!

I fly out tomorrow.

My flight is out of SFO at 10:41 p.m.

I’ll have a brief, less than an hour, layover in Las Vegas, then onto Houston, Texas, with another brief layover and transfer.

What with the time change I will arrive in New Orleans at 8:24 a.m.

I’m not excited about the indirect flight, the two change overs are going to wreck me for sleep, but it was worth it to get the discounted ticket, otherwise it was going to be another three to four hundred dollars to fly direct.

I figured that was money for the Air BnB.

Or for the experience of being there, restaurants, souvenirs, tickets to places, should I swing into the New Orleans Museum of Modern Art, it’s actually close to where I am staying, or just for riding around the French Quarter on a street car.

The disjointed travel was worth it.

I’m not upset and it worked out well for me timing wise too.

I’ll hang out and have a nice leisurely breakfast somewhere fabulous in the hood where I am staying and roll into my Air BnB at noon.

A swim in the pool?

A soak in the tub?

A fresh change of clothes, a sexy sundress.

And then off to explore a little and a late lunch before for going to the conference and hitting the registration and the big night get together.

I’m so ready.

Saturday I am really going to play by ear.

I know where I will be in the evening, at the conference, but I really do want to do a little exploring, walk, shop, dine, see what New Orleans has to offer, and also, what do I have to offer to the city, since I am such a taker.

How can I go and best be of service to the situation?

Make amends for the time previous I was there and my behavior, it was not so pretty.

I’m wild with excitement.

And I’ll keep you posted on all the adventures.

Promise.

See you next from the gate at United Airlines flight 455 SFO.

Happy.

Joyous.

Motherfucking.

Free.

Less Than 24 Hours

June 12, 2016

Since I heard the announcement.

And.

I have booked tickets to New Orleans.

As well as.

Secured a place to stay.

I cannot believe it all fell into place so quickly.

I mean.

Ridiculous.

Yeah.

I dropped some dough, but I didn’t spend all the money I had earmarked for my New York trip that I had been saving for and I transferred that money from my savings account, leaving me with a little more than my standard prudent reserve of one month’s rent and utilities.

Hey.

I know.

I don’t have a retirement plan.

But fuck it.

I only have this one life to live and somehow I don’t think that it would have all fallen together so beautifully if I wasn’t suppose to go.

Besides.

Please.

I’m going to be with my fellows.

Unless I decide to not leave the Air BnB I rented.

Holy shit.

I mean.

I was basically had when I read the “Historic, Opulent Mansion Suite With Swimming Pool” and then I saw the photo of the HUGE claw foot bathtub and the bathroom that is probably as big as my in-law studio and I was like, book it, book it, book it!

Except.

First.

I had to book the plane ticket.

Last night I was searching, searching, searching.

I couldn’t find what I needed and I couldn’t find what I wanted at the price I was willing to spend.

Everything for the time frame I was looking for was $700-$900.

That’s just a little rich for my pocket.

I figured.

I could go as high as $700.

Not that I wanted to, but I could.

I can.

I will if I need to.

Funny how registering for a commitment and dropping two five dollar bills into someone’s hand committed me to doing the deal and going to New Orleans.

“You could back out,” a insidious little voice said in my brain.

“Just consider it a donation to your favorite cause,” the snarky little voice continued.

Fuck off.

I love that I get to be wild and impetuous and leap once in a while on an unexpected adventure.

I have no man in my life, no children.

Yes.

I have friends and commitments and doing the deal and the yoga and yes I need to do all these things, but there was no one else to consult, no one else to worry about.

The only person I had to please was me.

And I am so well pleased.

I went to bed with a dazed head, a bit of a head ache from looking over too many travel sites trying to find the best deal and I realized that nothing needed to be done that quick.

I could take the day.

I could take the morning.

I could take a breath and pause.

Make sure that my impetuous idea was actually a intuitive decision that would serve me.

And.

I did just that.

I shut down my computer.

I set my alarm.

I had signed up for a morning yoga class.

I decided I would yoga it up, shower, have breakfast and coffee and do some writing, go meet my person, do the deal, and then look for a flight to New Orleans.

I saved the listing for the Air BnB and went to sleep.

I woke up a half hour before my alarm and was too restless to go back to sleep.

Hello brain.

Glad to see you’ve already had a double shot of espresso, mind if I make some coffee for the rest of me?

I got up, did my little morning routine, did some writing and headed off to yoga class.

It was hard.

What with my schedule change this past week I was unable to make any classes during the week, so it’d been five days since the last time I had stretched and I could feel my body was slow to warm.

My brain was also busy and I was grateful to get into my body and my breath and let it go.

I know that thinking about something constantly does not do me well.

It does not serve.

Action.

That works for me.

Not trying.

Not thinking.

Doing.

So I did the yoga.

And thank fucking God.

It got me out of my head, I left feeling light and sweet and joyful.

A good hot shower, some hot breakfast and coffee and I suddenly, out of nowhere I had extra time.

Where the hell did that time come from?

I have no clue.

However.

I felt it.

NOW!

Look now.

I opened my lap top and there it was.

$577.

My ticket.

Now.

Granted.

That’s still more than I would have liked to have spent, but still, not bad for a last minute purchase and moreover, it was the times I was looking for.

The deal with this being that I have work until 6p.m. Thursday the 29th of June.

The family would normally have me be working that Friday, but they will be heading out of town for the weekend and I have the Friday off.

I did not want to to fly out Friday, it would have meant losing a day of the convention I registered for, but I had not been able to find any flights that were in my price range that also left during the evening of Thursday the 30th at a time that would work for me.

I wanted to find flight that would allow me to work a full day Thursday, then basically fly a red eye to New Orleans.

Sleep on the plane.

And arrive in New Orleans on the morning of the first.

I hadn’t been able to find anything last night that would have allowed me to do so without it costing upwards of $800.

The flight I found was for 10:50p.m. evening Thursday, June 30th out of SFO.

Yes!

I can work my full shift, hop on my scooter, get my stuff, and Uber to the airport without having to ask any time off from work (I’m saving the last of my vacation pay for my grad school retreat in August).

The flight arrives in New Orleans at 8:54 a.m. Friday July 1st.

Fucking perfection.

I will get in, make my way into the city, probably head to Morning Call, the 24 hour beignet cafe in City Park, that is close to where I am staying.

You know.

The opulent, historic MANSION, with swimming pool and claw foot tub and twelve foot ceilings.

Giggle.

I will feel like a princess.

The Air BnB also offers a bicycle with the room.

I will check in at noon, chill out, maybe go for a swim, then make my way over to the convention which is a couple of miles away.

I’ll probably ride the bike unless it’s crazy hot.

Or.

I feel like walking.

A couple of miles is a nice walk.

The event starts at 4:30p.m.

I’ll probably do the two events Friday night that are listed and then go see New Orleans all day Saturday.

Walk the Garden District.

Check out the neighborhood where I’m staying.

Dine out.

Oh jambalaya, I can taste you now.

Then do the deal in the evening.

End the day at the conference on Sunday, check out of the Air BnB and have a lunch somewhere splendid and then hit the airport.

I’ll fly back at 6:50 at night, get into SFO in the late evening, right before midnight.

And have all day the fourth of July to recuperate from my travels.

Fuck yeah.

Luckiest girl in the world.

Seriously.

Love my fucking life.

So.

So.

So.

Hard.

It’s fucking fabulous.

Seriously.

 

Pulled That Trigger

June 11, 2016

Holy shit.

I can’t believe I did it.

Especially when I looked at the cost of flying there.

Fuck.

But.

Fuck it.

I want to go and I decided.

And I registered.

Yes.

I am going to be out of town Fourth of July weekend again.

Last year I was in Atlanta.

This year.

NEW ORLEANS!

Woot! Woot!

Heh.

I am a little excited.

I found out the family I am working for will be at Carmel Valley Ranch down the coast for the holiday weekend and I’ll have that Friday-Monday off from work.

Then, tonight, I heard an announcement about he “Road to Detroit.”

What?

My ears perked right up.

I plan on being in Detroit for the big one in 2020.

Yeah.

I like to make the plans.

But Atlanta was so amazing, I committed then and there to go to the next one.

Well.

Wouldn’t you know?

They’ve decided to build some enthusiasm for the big one in 2020 by doing smaller regional events and the first one, this year, is in New Orleans.

My whole body broke out in goosebumps.

I have been thinking non-stop, every day since Saturday, about going to New Orleans.

In fact.

I started writing it down in my morning pages, I am a world traveler, I am going to New Orleans for Jazz Fest.

But.

l have to say, when I listened to my heart, my gut, my interior, Jazz Fest seemed just too far off, so the other day I just started writing I am going to New Orleans.

Then.

Tonight.

The announcement, the see me after for more information.

I registered.

Fuck, it was only $10 to register!

The Atlanta convention was $100.

Granted, money well fucking spent, but still.

Anyway.

I talked to the dude and forked over my ten bucks and did a happy dance and rode my scooter home with a wild silly grin slapped on my face.

Until I started looking at tickets to fly there.

Holy shit.

That’s a lot.

Then again.

It’s going to be a lot no matter where I go.

I had reached out to my friend in Wisconsin and not gotten back from her and the tickets to Minneapolis/St. Paul were about the same as New Orleans.

And well.

Fuck.

I owe myself an amends to go back to New Orleans and do it right.

I have only been one other time.

I was only there a night.

I was busy running away from home with my not so secret crush, as it would later turn out, at the age of 19, having just dropped out of college, blew that full ride good.

Seriously.

Fucked myself out of a full ride to university.

I just had to get the fuck out of Dodge, or Madison as the case may be.

It was a huge geographic.

I had no idea where I was going to end up.

Homestead Florida.

Never heard of it?

Don’t worry, you don’t want to know.

Along the way there, so many adventures.

My we were so young.

He was 17 and I had just turned 19.

We had very little money.

He had a Datsun 280 Z.

It was maroon.

It had bucket seats and a tape deck.

We listened to Jethro Tull and Steve Miller and The Eagles and anything Southern rock we could.

We smoke a lot of cigarettes.

A lot.

We camped out.

But in New Orleans.

We stayed in a cheap motel on the very edges of town and decided the next day to stop and go through the down town area.

We were so young and naive and broke.

We parked in a parking garage and I remember my friend climbing out of the car, my soon to be lover but never truly boyfriend, I got scooped by the older guy in Florida who you know did some minor hot point hits for the Mafia and was 28 to my 19 and introduced me to smoking crack cocaine and I was his old lady, but I digress, and his curly, unruly hair barely held down under the sailor’s hat he had bought at Sacred Feather on State Street in Madison–a Greek sailor captain’s hat in dark navy blue.

I remember the first time I heard “True Dreams of Wichita” off Soul Coughing’s album Ruby Vroom, I felt like my heart was going to blow out of itself.

Push out dead air from a parking garage
Where you stand with the keys and your cool hat of silence
Where you grip her love like a driver’s liscense

That.

That was what it was like.

Standing in the humid murk of New Orleans and we were running away and it was scary and romantic and full of bravado and more than a modicum of stupidity.

Young and dumb and so on fire for life.

And too stupid to admit how afraid I was.

So fucking scared.

It only got worse, but that day, wandering around New Orleans, the boys in the Quarter tap dancing with Coca Cola bottle caps on the soles of their shoes, no diamonds here, and my heart trilled in my chest when we walked down a windy little street and I saw a peek inside a courtyard.

The trellis heavy with flowers and the wrought iron gate, the quiet splash of water in a standing fountain and I felt something batter in my chest, a bird with a broken wing.

I want to live here.

I want to come here again.

I want to sip bowls of coffee with my bare feet on the patio cement.

I want creole food and The Meters and Clifton Chenier and Gumbo yaya and voodoo and heat and humidity, I want the hair lifted off the back of my neck and spit curls at the nape damp with heat and sweat and love and the miraculous.

I had no idea what I wanted.

But.

Oh.

I did so want.

We spent no money.

Except.

At at tobacco shop.

I bought one pack of fancy Nat Sherman silk cuts.

And he bought one really nice, for a couple of naive kids from the North, cigar.

We got lost on the way back to the motel.

Remember folks, I’m a bad navigator.

And we had the car literally, and I am not joking, shook down for the change in the console at a 7-11 we stopped at for directions.

It scared both of us.

But we got out and that was it.

My only visit to New Orleans.

I dare say.

This time will be a little different.

Though I hope for bowls of chicory coffee and jambalaya, shrimp creole, and dirty rice, Zydeco music, much doing the deal, and summer dresses and sandals to dance in.

I’m about over the foggy gloomy summer.

I’m going to New Orleans!

Happy.

Joyous.

Motherfucking.

Free.

Bitches.

 


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