Sorry this has taken so long to post. Been under the weather and also trying to meet some deadlines. All I have to do today is organize 2 paper proposals, go to the library and sit through 6 hours of seminar…eek!
Well here goes. On Saturday the 25th we flew out to NOLA where it was a rainy day. The big parade for that day had been cancelled which meant we could get our baggage and make a leisurely drive to the Tom-pound where we were staying instead of rushing to St. Charles Avenue to try and catch beads! That night was sort of low key but included seeing my dear friends Rudy, Kurt, Charley, Ashley and of course, the infamous Julie C! I can’t wait to go back this summer for her high school graduation!
Sunday, AC and I took a long walk from the Tom-pound all the way up Magazine Street with our final destination being my friend Sarah’s apt. for a parade party. Along the way we stopped to stock up on Barq’s Red Creme Soda and ran into my friends Jimmy and Marlene. At Jimmy’s house we were treated to the best homemade red beans and rice and gumbo and also had fun playing with all the dogs that were visiting! I knew we’d run into people on the streets, and that’s what I love about NOLA the most. We eventually made it to Sarah’s where I caught up with a lot of former dancing buddies then AC got his first glimpse at the big super krewe parades: Bacchus then Endymion. The crowd was thick but we caught a few items. By the time Endymion came down the street some families has left so we were in prime catching location. We were plummeted with beads, frisbees and footballs! It was wonderful and AC was so cute jumping up and down for his first throws! 🙂 We had a rocky ride home with Rudy and his sis thanks to someone side swiping Rudy’s van which we affectionately call the Man-bulance, but got back to Tom’s before midnight. Never got Cooter Browns’s cheese fries, but there’s always a return trip to look forward to!
Monday was the big day because it was the day I’d be seeing my house for the first time and also the day of my favorite parade, Orpheus. I know tons of people in this organization and have gone to its ball the last few years, but denied tickets to it this year for 2 reasons: 1) it was AC’s first Mardi Gras and I wanted him to experience it on the streets where all the action is, and 2) Katrina destroyed all my floor length gowns so why make AC deal with renting a tux? Anyway, back to the house. My parents picked us up from the Tom-pound and we made the drive. I wasn’t as nervous as I thought because the weather was so pretty this day, I had AC with me, and somehow I knew we could deal with this quickly. I had asked that we just do a driving tour and not go inside, but my dad needed help moving a fountain that had survived so we were gonna be parked there for awhile. When we took the turn down Filmore, I couldn’t believe all the houses that were now empty, including my childhood friend Rose’s. Everything was desolate except for a handful of homes that had a trailer parked next door who were attempting to clean up. When we finally turned down St. Anthony, I pointed out the bike path I had ridden on and told AC that it led to the University of NO and Lake Pontchartrain. It was so strange seeing all these houses that looked pretty much fine on the outside but had that spray painted marking on the front door noting that the National Guard had checked for bodies. My dad also pointed out holes in the roofs which meant that people had had to escape from their attics to be airlifted out. Lots of houses had added their own spray paint messages. When we made it to my house my tears has started but I controlled them. I looked around the outside of the house first and had to laugh when I saw the corpse of a squirrel entangled in wires of a phone pole. I know that sounds heartless, but I’ve had a history with bothersome squirrels running through an apartment’s walls no matter how many times the hole was boarded up, and they’ve become my arch nemisis. Anyway, I saw the waterline all the way up the side of my house, then the backyard, then went inside. Everything looked so much smaller, the mold was crawling up the walls, and the floorboards were uneven and crunched when you stepped on them. I went to my most recent bedroom first and still was amazed at how everything sort of looked the same shape and size but felt danker. One could probably salvage what is left but my parents don’t want to. My mom especially cannot fathom sleeping in that house knowing that it had once been filled up with water and so much decay. I went to the other rooms and it was strange to see the sun pouring through the windows onto the dirty floor and mold. I made my tour as quick as possible and took photos of memorable spots. My friend Greg called right before I went in and said he’d be home after so to keep from crying my mind stayed focused on visiting him. I think I would have had a bigger breakdown if the house still had some of my stuff in it, but because it was empty, it was easier to process. I think one of my fears had been the emptiness of it all so it’s ironic that that is what became so comforting. Pics of this entire visit are here, please leave comments if you like.
After this visit home we went to Mid City to visit Greg, Blake, Nancy and all the pets. Then AC and I were dropped off in the French Quarter so we could hit all the hot spots during the day and avoid the messy crowds. I took him everywhere from Pat O’Brien’s to Marie Laveau’s Voodoo Shop then the eating and drinking began. Muffalattas, Pimms Cups, gumbo and margaritas, you name it. Friends joined along as we went from Molly’s on the Market to Napoleon House to the Carousel Bar in the Monteleone Hotel to Gallier Hall where we had Grand Stand seats for the parade. These were awesome! Thanks again Jeremy!
Post-parade we ventured to the Howlin’ Wolf to hear some music only to run into the parade again and see Lara and Renee for more throws! Tons of stuff that we could barely carry! It was amazing! I can’t believe we packed it in the suitcase, but if you want some of the loot, just leave a comment and I’ll share! George Porter played til 2am at da Wolf and despite being exhausted from the day, it was fabulous to dance around with friends to Porter and Ivan Neville’s Mardi Gras Mambo. AC got video of it and as soon as I figure out a place to upload it, I’ll share!