Well, we’re back, it’s chilly, and I’m missing New Orleans. Waaaaah, Ricky!
It’s okay. I’ll snap out of it soon enough. I felt like this after the Stones concert, and I was okay after just a day or so. It’s just that first morning after, you know? I started feeling sad when we were getting ready to leave the hotel, and I actually cried in the cab on the way to the airport. Something about driving out of the French Quarter just really gets to me.
This might be the best time I’ve ever had in New Orleans. I’ve always had a great time...it was great on our honeymoon, it was great with our friends Kim and Steve, it was great with Shane and Matt and George...but something about this time was even better for me. George came over from Houston to see us again, and it made me feel great to know that we have a friend who was willing to do that for us. But there was something more to it, and I’m not quite sure what it was.
The closest I can get to it is that I have a greater sense of my own mortality after turning 50, and I just want to enjoy every moment. New Orleans is an incredibly sensuous experience. The sight of the winding river or the sunlight coming through a tall window into an interior courtyard; the sound of a washboard vest or a smokin’ hot guitar lick or horses’ hooves clopping along a narrow street; the taste of a plump salty oyster or the burning sensation of a shot made with Everclear; the feel of the sunshine or the caress of a breeze on your skin or the sometimes cloying humidity; the smell of something good cooking somewhere, or the smell of you-probably-don’t-really-want-to-know-what. If you let yourself, you can become completely immersed in this city, and I’ve never felt it more than I felt it this time. I suppose you could not give into it, and just sit back and take it all in with a dispassionate air...but why the hell would you want to do that? I obviously haven’t been to every place on earth, but I think it’s a fair enough assumption that there is probably nowhere else on earth quite like New Orleans. I adore the place, and it got into my blood from my very first moment there. It’s still in my blood!
Since I last updated, we saw the Daywalkers a couple more times, and they were all just incredibly nice. I had the chance to chat some more with Jason (the guitarist), and watch this space for a little more concerning him and the band soon...I hope! It sounds like there may be a CD coming soon, too...I hope! All these damn bruises I picked up down there will vanish soon...I hope! (Seriously. It’s bad. I’ve got bruises everydamnwhere.) We got to see them on Sunday, our last night there, and it was even more fun because the Saints were in town and won, so everyone was in a great mood. I’m still sore from dancing, but I wouldn’t change one moment! Thanks, you guys...you rock! Jason, you’re a big sweetie, and thanks for not hating me because I’m a liberal...although you swear up and down that I’m not. Haha!
We also seem to have found the perfect time to go: Halloween week. The oppressive humidity is gone, but the temperatures are still very pleasant. (I still kind of like it in the summer, because I hate wearing lots of clothes, but you know...hurricanes.) The place is crazy, with lots of people in costume, and I was thrilled to get to see my first New Orleans parade, the Halloween Krewe of Boo parade. The floats were amazing! I even got to dance with a bunch of Marie Antoinettes, and as you can see, George got photographic evidence. (That’s the Daywalkers in the background, too!)
We also got to see Gypsy Elise, who we saw last time and just loved. That last time, we got to the restaurant kind of late, but they kept playing past the time they were supposed to stop because we were all loving it so much and appreciating it. They kept playing for five people! We still laugh about grooving to “Word Up.” We got to shake our tail feathers at another place this time, and there were plenty of other people doing the same thing. Great to see her again!
I got to meet lots of new people, and as I alluded to in the previous entry, that’s not always easy for me to do. I sometimes have a hard time talking to new people, but everyone in New Orleans is just so friendly, and so many people just want to have a good time, that I found it easy to strike up conversations and not feel as socially awkward as I often do. Maybe that’s another reason I love the place so much. I can be the kind of social person I’d like to be without stressing about it or working too hard at it. I don’t know. I’m probably over-analyzing that. But there’s no denying that when meeting Ken’s colleagues this time, I felt more relaxed and comfortable in that kind of situation than I ever have. I felt fine when chatting up Jason, and not shy at all. So many people don’t believe that I’m shy, but it’s true. I have to really work at it. It’s not quite as hard for me in New Orleans. There’s just something about the city that brings out The Happy in people. Of course, it sometimes brings out the Drunk Asshole in people, but that happens everywhere. I see it often enough at Notre Dame games!
Oh no...it just struck me. What if I wasn’t just bringing out The Happy, but I ventured into Drunk Asshole territory? What a horrifying thought! Well, people were hugging me and shit, so I couldn’t have been too much of a Drunk Asshole-type. Unless the people hugging me were Drunk Assholes. *GASP* No, wait...Jason hugged me, and he was neither drunk nor an asshole. Whew. I think I’m okay.
Ahhhh, thank you, NOLA. You are a gem, and I couldn’t love you more.