Eyre Affairs

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Location: New York, United States

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

"Your unpolluted memory..." ~ Jane Eyre

I listened to the coverage of Mardi Gras today on NPR.

There were many stories on this Fat Tuesday coming from Nawlins. I am grateful that Sarah and I saw it in 2004; I know when we both return it will not be the same city. We are even talking now about heading to Jazzfest in May. Over pad thai and curried tofu in the Village last week, I said that it is going to be a bittersweet trip if we go. Sarah knows. Still, we are drawn to going to a city we both had an amazing time in.

As a little girl, my parents left my sisters and I with the grandparents for a week while they headed to Nawlins for Mardi Gras. I remember them coming home with beads for us, not quite certain of their significance. My mother talked about mint juleps, my father about zydeco. I had no idea what the terms meant. Now I now that they are a part of one of the best cities on earth.
It is my father's passion for the Big Easy and its jazz that perpetuated my excitement when Sarah and I got tickets to fly there in 2004.

The voices I heard on NPR today were filled with pride and pain. Rather than lament what is lost in this post, I want to celebrate what was gained when I went to Nawlins with Sarah in June of 2004. It is rare that I get choked up when writing, but I feel the tears welling up right now.

The Highlights of Nawlins...
* Eating BBQed alligator and drinking Abita Purple Haze at our first meal in the city
* Feeding Sarah cake in the middle of Bourbon Street as onlookers smiled; I saw the cake man on Foodnetwork once and was ecstatic when I saw he was selling his slices of cake on the street.
* Being at Preservation Hall and hearing "When the Saints..." Cliche, but oh what a wonderful cliche.
* Getting soaking wet on the Steamboat Nachez with Sarah. We wanted to take a tour of the Mississippi River, and although it was sunny when we left the port in the Big Easy, the clouds came marching in and we got rained on.
* Drinking Pimm's Cup at the Napoleon House (aka Sarah's House!).
* Eating popcorn and sipping a drink whose name I don't want to say in conjunction with Nawlins anymore in the garden at Pat O'Brien's.
* J and J sneaking us into the Ritz Carlton Club Room for pre-dinner champagne and cigarettes before our meal at Jaque Imo's.
* Being drunk the entire Sunday we were there (we started with mimosas at brunch at Commander's Palace that morning and just didnt stop).
* Sarah being told by our waiter at Commander's Palace that she was "skinny like a worm" and needed more whiskey cream sauce on her bread pudding.
* A man asking me for a light while we were watching the Yankees play at Lafitte's Blacksmith Bar: "Hey Peaches, ya gotta light?"
* Pre-coffee coffee at the Dauphin Hotel's breakfast area
* Sarah taking a morning jog down Bourbon Street and a random woman screaming back at her, "Girl, what is the hurry?"
* The elephants at the Audubon Zoo.
* Shrimp Baritaria at Petunia's.
* Walking through the Garden District.
* Dancing on top of benches at the Maple Leaf Bar when we saw Rebirth Brass Band play there on our last night...

I do hope we make it Jazzfest. I also hope that one day I go to Mardi Gras as well. I want to take my father back there one day, and I want to be able to one day go back and have it be the same as when I last left it.

In the spirit of the city, Let the Good Times Roll...


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