New Orleans has a sort of sweat your ass off, watch where you step, avoid the belligerent nutjobs at all costs, stuff your face with beignets & chicory coffee, nod your head to the beat, feel the spirits charm that just can’t be explained (despite my best efforts). It’s strange. And sensational. And a little bit overwhelming. It’s delicious. And fun. And breathtaking.
If you can’t tell, our trip to New Orleans was wild. Stephen & I went down there for the wedding of one of my oldest friends. A friend I made by talking shit in the back of film class. We stayed friends when our high school boyfriends turned out to be meh. We spent 3 weeks traveling around the UK & Ireland together reading Brett Easton Ellis novels on long train rides, drinking pear Bulmers in Sheffield, meeting South Africans at the Victoria Hostel & talking on the front steps until the sun rose at 4am, wandering Portobello Market for hours buying glass rings & antique tins, hiding behind trees in Sherwood Forest, filling in princess coloring books in a Nottingham history museum, OH RIGHT and nearly getting abducted (or something) in a London nightclub before I screamed nasty profanities at the top of my lungs and sunk my flailing elbows into some a-hole’s chest… then proceeded to get us lost near the London Eye (all the while telling Alexis I knew exactly where we were going) before some nice Bobby told us we needed to head a mile in the opposite direction… whilst – still bitterly offended by the whole nightclub scenario – I told him there was something wrong with “his people.” I think he must have known I secretly wished I was British. He was incredibly kind.
This story is supposed to be about NOLA though.
I reunited with people I hadn’t seen in several years. Lovely, hilarious people. And we drank and ate our way into bad health. I’m not sure we ate a single fresh vegetable for four days. The beignets, guys, the beignets. And the chicory coffee. From Café du Monde AND Café Beignet. And the po’ boys from Le Bayou. Go. There. SO MUCH YES. I was mesmerized by the hand painted masquerade masks made of paper mache, metal, feathers & sequins. So I poured over them in a little boutique while everyone else waited outside. I still wish I’d bought one. We listened to an incredible, lively brass band our last night on Bourbon Street. And saw naked women clothed in paint walking down the same street earlier that day. I forced Stephen into 2 voodoo shops looking for the right tarot deck. While the guys scoffed at the potions and voodoo books, inciting an awkward conversation about airport security with the voodoo shop clerk. We found the Lousiana Music Factory filled with that real New Orleans Jazz and explored (or sweated in) the infamous St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 (home of Nicholas Cage’s future resting pyramid). And then we ate some more beignets.
The Wedding in New Orleans
Alexis & Steven married on a beautiful plantation called Southern Oaks. Brick paved paths led around an enormous fountain to white chairs on the lawn. Alexis arrived in a white, fairytale carriage and left the same way + Steven + some fireworks. As an incredibly personal & beautiful wedding gift, our friend Clare (fantastic artist) painted a gorgeous Louisiana nightscape and guests initialed stars before attaching them to the vast sky. We were lavished with more than 80 hors d’oeuvres. Which were all ON POINT by the way. Southern Oaks, you are like a dream wedding venue come true. The building itself was incredibly gorgeous with traditional Southern columns, cast iron terraces, and floor to ceiling windows. The ladies bathroom alone was like a personal spa. We even made the guys pile in to check out the fountain built into the floor. Stephen & I took our picture in the photo booth with silly costume props (got to wear a mask, FINALLY). Then we danced to the Backstreet Boys & drank from an open bar until even in flip flops our feet hurt and our air conditioned coach whisked us away back to downtown New Orleans.