Sunday, July 21, 2013

Cajun Country

I spent a glorious, humidity-filled week in Louisiana in the middle of July. The entire experience was a lovely time with family I don't get to see frequently, but I wanted to share the highlights! The festivities began after a luxurious emergency exit aisle plane ride where I was seated adjacent to an amorous couple in the sickeningly same salmon hue. I tried to catch most of my vomit in the pages of Skymall, the magazine selling everything I never knew I wanted.
My cousins, Katherine and Caroline, picked me and my polka-dot suitcase up at the New Orleans airport on Sunday afternoon. I ate and shopped my way through the city the next two days, visiting the French Quarter (at high tide thanks to unexpected showers), Cafe Du Monde, and Hard Rock Cafe on Bourbon Street. Mix the activities with a few episodes of Friends and late night meaningful conversations, and I had a thoroughly wonderful time with the cousins I hadn't seen in years!
Mimi and Didi arrived on Tuesday morning to start the next portion of the visit. We took the long way to their home in Baton Rouge, pausing at Oak Alley Plantation and Houmas House. Both tours were exceptional with tremendous views and history. I've never felt more Southern than when I stood at the top of the Oak Alley walkway with the Mississippi River behind me and a historic home in front of me.
After a workout at the fitness center with Didi, I accompanied Mimi on a shopping excursion on Wednesday afternoon. We bounced in and out of stores in an outdoor shopping center, but my favorite was one called Frock Candy. I've decided I need to make an annual trip just to buy out this particular establishment.
We rejoined Didi in time to catch the showing of Chicago at the Baton Rouge Shaw Center and then enjoyed a cocktail on the roof of Tsunami, a restaurant with one of the best views of the susnet over the Mississippi. I slept soundly after a scrumptious homemade Cajun meal of shrimp pasta. I need Mimi to cook for me constantly!
We spent Thursday at the Louisiana State Capitol, one of the most visited state capitols in America. Didi's connections got us the behind-the-scenes tour of the governor's office where I learned corruption in politics does truly exist (I actually wasn't doubtful before). We saw an old apparatus that governors past would use to change votes if they didn't like the outcome of the House or Senate meetings.
I met Alan Sebaugh, a state representative, and Aunt LuLu, our fantastic tour guide.
She mentioned having family in Oklahoma, a great-niece named Danielle married with kids, who turned out to be my nanny family's neighbor. The world is closing in #small.
Didi spent Friday squeezing an entire bag of limes for the margarita dinner party they hosted. I met one of Paul's old friends and heard all about Chinese fire drills in the middle of New Orleans streets.
Bright and early on Saturday morning, we (Blanche and Don included) were launched into the Atchafalaya swamp. Three and a half hour later I hadn't seen a single gator...but I did enjoy the breeze and the scenery! A nap was in order after lunch at Des Amis in Breaux Bridge and I woke up in time to troubleshoot Mimi and Didi's Apple TV.
Tyler was sweet enough to FaceTime me while I worked to correct the problem. After holding up every remote to the camera and trying different connections, the system was set up for Mimi and Didi's Downton Abbey. I wrote down every single step on a legal pad to avoid any confusion in the future. For once in my life, I felt tech savvy (even though Tyler was definitely the brain behind the whole operation).
We drove to the Commander's Palace in New Orleans for the fanciest brunch of my life before my flight left. Our meal in the Garden Room was delicious and the ambiance, though intimidating, was lively with jazz music.
All too soon, my flight was boarding and I left the city in America with the most character. I'm planning on making more trips to Louisiana after moving to Houston this year. I mean, A Very Lucky Girl has GOT to see a gator!

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