…”In the heart of the night…”

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I had sooo much fun in New Orleans, and while I meant to post from there, I’ve actually been home for several days, still basking in my NOLA glow….

While I was there:

— I imbibed. And imbibed. And imbibed. I may not need to imbibe maybe ever again. To my credit, I did nothing regrettable, forgettable, or editable. And I was never hungover!

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— I took the same sightseeing tour twice, coincidentally with the same humorous guide and driver. The first time I simply gaped. (And grinned, like a lunatic. I was so happy to be back ‘home”.) The second time, I took so many photos that I almost fell out of the top of the double-decker bus!

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— I ate all my favorite NOLA foods, like gumbo, jambalaya, red beans and rice, and shrimp-just-about-anything. (Try shrimp and cheddar as an omelette filling — yum!) And the beignets!! Hot mess! And the coffee au lait with chicory! A-ma-zing! (Thank you, Cafe du Monde!!)

— I was on a super-fun ghost tour, which divulged more history than it produced ghosts, although some of my friends were frightened. The ghosties were probably walking right next to me, saying, “Where ya been, girl?!” Our guide was from Michigan, with a decided Cajun accent from her 20 years in NOLA. I admit I’m envious of her choice to stay.

— I wandered around Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 (any Anne Rice fans?), and marveled at the quiet and the peacefulness. I did not find the Mayfair tomb or anything with a keyhole shape.

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— I had 150 people sing me “Happy Birthday”! And I stood up on Nature’s Sunshine’s stage and welcomed it all in, like the ham I am, ma’am. (It was a video that got forwarded and screengrabbed — not a good picture. However, it is proof that I was up there, acting like the Queen of the World.)

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— I danced like no one was watching at the Mardi Gras party they threw for us after the conference. In fact, when the DJ started the first song after dinner, and Earth, Wind, and Fire asked me to “Let’s Groove” tonight, I pranced out all alone and shared the spice of life with myself — until several others thought it looked like fun! So much talent in our group!

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— I wandered happily through the Quarter with my “family” at all hours! Oh, wait, we’re all family to NOLA! (Look at that violet sky…. A violet sky!!)

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— I totally forgot about the trailer for a little while! I took a few looooong showers and enjoyed stretching my toes in the adult-length bed, too! (Thank you, Sheraton on Canal Street!)

I didn’t get to see all of the places that I loved, spending time in only about a quarter of the Quarter I got to the Carousel Bar at the Monteleone Hotel, and to Bourbon Street!), and missing some of the Garden District wedding-cake Victorians along St. Charles. It’s all good, though; it gives me a reason to go back (which I want to do today — right this second).

“… it’s been so long waiting just to see you again, anticipating all the time I could spend in the heart of the night…”

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I had always meant to take Frank on this trip down memory lane, yet I believe I needed to do it without him this time. I relived my past within NOLA’s past and we could be ourselves without judgment or censure. When I am able to persuade Frank, he’ll enjoy the food and the architecture, yet he’s never really comfortable around crowds, so Bourbon Street will be in daylight only. This city reminds me a bit of San Francisco, and he liked it there while stationed in Oakland in the Navy.

You may remember the devastation that Katrina’s aftermath caused in 2006, and while I know they are still rebuilding, they’ve bounced back so much that I could not see the underlying damage. New Orleans has recovered from so many fires, floods, hurricanes, and illness; Katrina was a tough blow, not a knockout. It helps that these are resilient people and they love this city as much as I do.

“…and I trust in your love, never falling down. I trust in your love, just like I do in this town…”

Thank you, NOLA. I needed this trip as much as I need to be within your warm embrace. It made this odd reality of the trailer a little less odd, and reminded me to be creative and memorable! And to keep rolling along, no matter what.

Laissez les bon temps rouler!