Hooray! It’s Fat Tuesday!
…too bad I’m at home, getting ready to go to work.
Really, that’s ok. I’m not one for big crowds. I am, however, a huge fan of the city that is arguably partying the hardest today.
If you were to ask me, on any given day, what city I’d like to be in other than my own at that moment, there’s a good chance that I might offer up New Orleans as my answer. My love for the city isn’t unique; just as so many other people do, I love it for the food, the music, the emphasis on slowing down, and – of course – the genteel enchantment that is a leisurely stroll down the street, cocktail in hand.
Very fortunately, I’ve traveled to New Orleans once a year for about the past decade. At this point, it’s easy to say that the more time that passes, the harder I fall. I was remiss in not mentioning my trip last November, when I flew down there for a conference. For what it’s worth, the conference was so good that I was actually excited to attend each day, even as the streetcars and merriment of New Orleans called to me from outside the rotating hotel doors.
Still, I feel pretty strongly that a visit to the Big Easy for a conference alone is hardly a visit at all (a box lunch, delivered inside the neutered air conditioning of the host hotel, masquerading as a “taste of New Orleans”? ew.) Luckily, I wasn’t alone on my trip. One of my sister’s best friends attended the conference as well, and so my sister and one of my dearest friends came along for the ride.
It was, simply, a fantastic few days. By day, I was a responsible conference-goer. But each night, once I stripped myself of the plastic nametag holder I wore around my neck, I was a member of a group of women celebrating not only an amazing city, but also our own histories with it. We ate, drank, laughed, got caught in a monsoon-esque downpour, ate some more, and toasted everything all over again.
In short, the whole trip was dreamy.
I’d give a lot to be there with those women again, even right now, when I’m sure the city is riding a wave of Hurricanes so strong that I wouldn’t even make it up the stairs to the creepy-yet-wonderful Mardi Gras museum hidden above French 75, much less to the parades themselves. Still. I’ll meet you there just about anytime, for a quick dance with the city that will always hold a piece of my heart in its dazzling, buttered, boozy, and oh-so-colorful clutches.