Posts Tagged ‘vintage shopping’

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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School’s Out For Summer!

May 16, 2016

I’m done!

I’m done!

I’m done!

Take that Psychodynamic Lacanian theoretical paper, I see you, raise you a parental confrontation, a castration complex, and further, you can’t squash my jouissance.

Ha!

I slay you paper dragon.

“That was fast!” my friend in cohort text me back after I gleefully texted her to let her know I had finished my Psychodynamic’s paper.

It was.

And still I am surprised at how fast I can write.

It doesn’t always mean it’s good, I’ve some modicum of humility, not much, but some, but it does mean that I am capable of doing the work in an efficient manner.

And.

Not to put too fine a point on it.

I had done the reading.

I had taken good notes in class.

I participated in class.

So when I needed to review the material and I did not know what I was going to write on, I did not in fact, write on the topic that I was going to, I google searched it and there were too many theoretical papers already out there.

So.

I used an experience from my youth and wrote about that.

I actually thanked God after the paper was finished for being able to use the traumatic event to write a positive piece.

I am amazed.

Constantly.

By how the wreckage and dreck of my past can be put to use.

“Carmen,” a famous writer once told me, “most writers would kill to have the material you work with.”

Meaning that I have lived a lot of life and have had a lot of experiences.

Some of them dramatic, traumatic and packed with pain.

Pain that I have been able to turn to something else.

If not gold, a kind of beautiful word garden that I can pick and choose what I will present in this bouquet of meaning and language.

I love poetry and words and sonnets and prose and sex and eros and flowers and life and apples and culture and French and travel and all these things add up to something, more than who I am and all of them inform me and build me and shape me.

I am so many things.

I am over the moon to be finished with my first year of graduate school.

I am officially a second year student now.

I am proud of the effort I put in and aware that I did not do any of it on my own.

It was with joy and humor that I spoke with one of my friends today from my cohort.

“Oh, don’t worry,” I said, so and so and I messaged and text and I know people are skyping, I’m totally fine with going over the take home with you.”

We did it together.

I had already turned in my final but I was more than willing to help my friend.

And when I think about all the help I had getting through this first year I am blown away with gratitude.

Friends who bought me groceries when I had to go down in hours at work and I hadn’t gotten my financial aid disbursement yet.

Friends who let me study in their living room when there was a kid’s birthday party here at the house with some many children it was like being inside a bouncy house trying to study.

Friends who bought me readers from Copy Central.

Friends who gave me rides to and from classes.

Friends who commiserated with me about the amount of work involved and how they did it, my nurse and doctor friends, my lawyer friends, my fellows in cohort.

My employers for being flexible and once a month letting me have off on Fridays so I could go to classes all day.

All the people who cheered me along the way and said, you can do it!

I did it.

Thank you friends!

I couldn’t, really, have done it without you.

That is not to down play the amount of work I did.

I did a lot of fucking work.

I showed up consistently, I didn’t miss a single class (which also helps me in writing the papers, let’s be honest, it’s a lot easier to stay on top of things if you are in the classroom, the importance of every class when it’s an intensive full time program taught on the weekend is huge), I did all my readings, well almost all of them, I may have missed an article here or there, but I really read all the books and texts and the majority, over 95% of the readers, I turned in every paper on time and I showed up for every project I had to present on time and prepared.

Yeah.

I know.

Fucking perfectionist.

“Now you can relax,” a friend text me.

Yeah.

Sure.

How though?

It’s going to take me a minute to unwind from all of this, I already know that, it feels very surreal to have all the work done when I consider that over the past year there was always something I had to be working on.

Going back to full time work is going to feel like a vacation.

Speaking of vacation.

New York in four days!

OMG.

I’m fucking going to New York.

I can finally get excited about it.

I have all my work done.

“That paper isn’t due yet, though, not for two weeks,” my friend text me when I said I was going to do the Psychodynamic paper today.

Yup.

Except that I will be in New York next weekend and I don’t want it over my head and I didn’t want to have to worry about carving out time after I got back from the trip either.

Although.

Heh.

I was a smart cookie.

I’m going to be coming back really early on Monday morning, flying out of JFK at 7:30 a.m.

What with the time change it will be 9:30 a.m. or something like that, and I asked off for the whole day from work.

Yup.

A full day to decompress from the trip and not force myself right back into the grind.

I’ll get to ease back in.

Super grateful I planned that out.

I have also made loose plans for the trip.

Friday I will get up and walk around Clinton Park, the area I’m staying in, grab some coffee and eat some breakfast and then make my way around Brooklyn.

I’m just going to wander.

I have an 8p.m. date with a friend to go do the deal in Williamsburg at Northside, so I figure  I’ll just mosey about Brooklyn all day Friday.

Hit the vintage shops.

Hit the coffee shops.

Wander around the Brooklyn Botanical garden.

Maybe pop into the Brooklyn Museum.

Go to book stores.

I’m very tempted to also hop over to Green Point and see if I can get into Three Kings Tattoo for some fresh ink.  I wouldn’t be able to get a tattoo that day, I’d have to go back after the consultation but they’re open late and I was thinking late Sunday I could get the work done.

It’s a thought, I have very tentative ideas about a piece.

I just like the idea of getting a piece done there, as I have in Paris now twice, it would be fun to add New York to the geographic map of my meandering travel life.

Then Saturday hit the city.

I want to go to the Guggenheim and the MOMA.

I know that’s a lot of museum to do in one day, but I’m on my own and I’m good company and I walk fast, I take the subway into New York, I hit the MOMA first, it closes earlier than the Guggenheim which will be open later, then onto the Guggenheim.

I drink lots of coffee.

I see art.

I buy notes books and take pictures of graffiti and get stickers.

I walk.

I soak it the fuck up.

I eat what ever I want.

Raw oysters.

I drink bubbly water till the cows come home.

I go do the deal somewhere if it makes sense to do so.

I plan on doing the new Whitney on Sunday and then walking the High Line Park and wandering around the little independent galleries around Chelsea.

If I decide to get a tattoo I head back over to Green Point and do that.

Part of me also wants to go to Coney Island.

But I’m not sure.

And I think that’s something to do with another person, ride the Ferris Wheel, go on the tilt-a-whirl, ride the Cyclone, seems like I would want a person to do that with.

Museums and walking about and exploring though.

That’s the deal.

That is my celebration.

I gave myself a trip to New York when I headed into the beginning of this semester.

I am so glad I did.

I am so excited to do this for myself.

I’m so grateful I made it through the school year.

Here’s to the beginning of my awesome summer vacation.

I have no idea where it’s going to go.

I just know I earned it.

And.

It’s going to be fucking awesome.

It already is!


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