Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Meeting in the Middle

Back when we first began planning to meet somewhere in the middle, New Orleans seemed like the perfect option. Not too far, but different enough from Maine and Oregon without having to deal with monetary exchange rates. And hot. Sultry. Swamp-like. Hot.

With a nod to my true nature this turned out not to be the case. NOLA was in the middle of a cold snap. Warmer, yes, than mid-coast Maine, and slightly drier than Portland, Oregon, it was still cold, with a stiff wind, and us without our basic winter garb- silks, balaklava, thermo-kevlar-diachrotic inner and outer liners, boots, hats, gloves, Inuit nose warmers.

But really, really wonderful, with a feeling of history and grace and slightly the worse-for-wear beauty that I thought only I possessed.

Here's me at Joey Bonhage's studio. Note the appearance of disbelief. We had ducked into the Commander's Palace for brunch, and found Joey was closed when we finally re-emerged from our food coma. Lafayette Cemetery, across the street, was also closed but we visited St. Louis No. 1 twice to make up for it.

This was a grave disappointment, but we recovered quickly and after another streetcar ride felt nearly back to normal.

The Krewe du Vieux- The first of the Mardi Gras parades of the season and one of the last to still eschew motorization with all the floats man or mule pulled, winding through the French Quarter and with a nice nasty political leftist bent.

We were there by luck and happenstance and the good fortune of knowing Peace Corps Dave, a New Orleans stalwart who turned us onto the parade, welcomed us to his place for a pre-party ( we bailed on the post party due to flop-belly- a condition well known to travelers far and near) and is an all around good person to know.

We wandered, took a couple of guided walking tours, ate, drank, wandered some more and got familiar with the tiniest portion of a really wonderful city.

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