This weekend M & I escaped the cold for our first trip to New Orleans. It was so much fun. We typically don't 'get away' often during the school year. But one of our dearest friends was having his birthday bash in the Big Easy and we knew we wanted to be there.
Is there anything better than doing exactly what the soul is yearning for? I'll admit the days before we left were anything but perfect. I was in and out of the doctor's office, M had an insane schedule with sports and school & the -32 degree temperature made me want to do nothing more than throw another quilt on the bed and come out of my hole on July 4.
But we packed our bags, dropped off the pup & sat on the couch for a silent minute before we left saying good intentions and thoughts about the trip (a Russian tradition I learned from my best friend. Pretty sure M may have been just thinking about a cold beer but I was SO into it) and off we went.
I love New Orleans. If you think its just Bourbon Street you're wrong. So wrong. New Orleans is music & art & architecture & oversized urns & beignets & kids playing trumpet & wrought iron balconies & voodoo & fortune tellers & that is just scratching the surface.
We started Saturday with beignets and coffee at Cafe du Monde. After brushing the powdered sugar out of my hair we walked around Jackson Square in the sunshine. The artists here are incredible, the music was loud and life was good. We ventured off the main drag to admire beautiful homes & gardens around the French Quarter. We ate oysters & walked mile after mile around the city. I could write for hours about the secret gardens tucked behind old brick walls, or the 5-foot tall ferns that redefine the term 'hanging basket', or the balconies, my god the balconies, it was all so lovely.
The 65-degrees and sunshine felt like I had won the lottery. We walked everywhere and for a brief moment or two I was taken back to my time in Perugia, specifically Spring time, when I lived behind one of those brick walls with a secret garden and the arched doorway with the skeleton key hole.
The best part about getting away was the time with M. Life is about the people you spend it with. I am oh so glad I chose to spend it with him. Baseball season is days away and this is exactly what we needed before life gets absolutely insane until June.
And then, like magic, Saturday afternoon we were in a parade. For our friend Kevin's birthday present, his cousin organized a true New Orleans Second Line Band to parade us down the streets (police escort included). We danced and waved napkins and people joined in. A bride joined us in her dress. A young woman swept up our 70-something friend & started dancing with him, a bunch of kids started clapping and joining in. New Orleans, the city where a band will give you a private parade and you can drink a glass of wine while you walk in it.
That night we celebrated. We laughed, we cried, we explored Frenchman's Street and watched amazing live music. We ended the night with new friends & some serious laughs - the Big Easy indeed.
If this trip taught me anything its that you have to get away. Even when its not easy. You have to. Even when its 36 hours. You have to. This winter has been long & cold & seemingly endless. But ringing in March with a sunshine filled day after a weekend away... seems to be the key to realizing that Spring is going to happen.
Here's to hoping she Marches in soon.