I've been trying to put my weekend into words. Normally this isn't a problem - and it shouldn't be this time either, but for some reason it is. Perhaps I should start with what the weekend entailed.
This weekend was my best friend's official wedding. It didn't matter that the deed had been accomplished twice before - once in Mexico and once in the living room of a justice of the peach - all in the last six weeks. This was the big to do with family and friends from all over flying in to share in the joy. This was the weekend my best friend chose as the wedding she wanted us to attend rather than the small wedding in Mexico (we had to choose unfortunately) and we were thrilled to join in the celebration in New Orleans.
That's right - New Orleans, a city with whom I have a rather interesting relationship.
To me, New Orleans is a lady - as stately and elegant as she is mysterious and firey. In some ways, she is my grandmother in city form. A living, breathing, much misunderstood, alcoholic lady who only wants to be loved and admired. Unfortunately, my grandmother is no longer around to be understood - but the city that gave birth to her is and perhaps it is that spirit of her that I channel when I am in the city.
Much to my friend's dismay and delight this was the second time I have ever been to NOLA. The first time was in 1993 when I traveled from Virginia to Los Angeles. What my friend doesn't know is that I almost never left the city and when I did I cried. Perhaps that is why it has taken me so long to return - I know there is a pull in that city that makes it almost impossible for me to leave easily. Even 15 years later I still do not know what it is in that city that wants me to find a small cottage in the Garden district, lock myself into a room and write in the manner of Faulkner and Hemingway. Not their style, but their manner - well, minus the booze.
This trip was no different than my first. I felt the energy the second we reached our first hotel (allergic reaction - forced to move to a second hotel - long story). It was a pulsing flow that pounded against my brain and my skin looking for a way to explode out of me. I had no idea how to channel the energy I was receiving both from the people around me and the city itself. I tingled with it to the depths of my souls and to my soles.
On the face of it, New Orleans is not much different than any other really old French/Spanish/Southern city. There is beautiful architecture and a very distinct way of life that has changed little in the past several hundred years. But that is where this lady deceives you. It isn't the structure that pulls you down to this city which by the rights of physics should not exist. It is the nitty gritty, the dirty, messy part of her soul. It is the river that twists its way through neighborhoods and streets and sometimes breaks its corset just to take a deep breath an let it all out.
So, how did my weekend end up. 1 wedding done, many pictures taken, even more friends made, two pictures drawn (something I have never done before), a poem written and a desire to eventually move there even more deeply engrained than before.
What is it about this city?
Pictures to come.