NOLA On My Mind

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I crave the sweet, humid and intoxicating air of the south.

I cringe at the memory of fermented, foul smelling liquor, rotten food and human waste

I long to be wandering through forests of tall trees, cool and quiet

I hunger for the sweet tea, and french-creole delicacies only I got a taste of

I can hear the street music vividly, and my skirt still sways to it

I am thankful for the South, for it has shown me something I hadn’t known I was missing.

 

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A few weeks ago, we took a road trip to New Orleans for a funeral. When I would say we were going to a funeral, people would apologize, and I would smile and say “no, no it’s a good thing that’s happening. We are going to celebrate an amazing man and his life with dancing, music, love and memories new and old.” I wish every funeral could be celebrated the way some celebrate in the south, with a Second Line. Of course the air was heavy with emotion. Sadness and happiness collided like a waterfall pouring down into a quiet stream below it. But it was also beautiful, in a way that one would have to personally experience. For me, seeing the people who traveled across the world to be there, the family walking together, and at different times carrying their father’s ashes through the street…it all equated to something beyond words.

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My beautiful friend Cristina, and her husband, dancing with her papa at the end of procession. 

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Our friend Wolfi came all the way from Germany, with his Saxophone and played in the Second Line!

It really was an incredible experience, and I believe that Charlie would have wholeheartedly approved of this sending off. I can hear his laugh and see his smile every time I think of this day.

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This was a road trip for the books. We slept in the back of the truck at truck stops, we drove for 12 to 14 hour stints, we sang songs, hiked, played I spy and counting games up the wazoo. All with a 4 year old. We were all happy, sleep and caffeine deprived and excited about “what was next”. Our state cruise looked like this: CO–> KS –> MO –> AK –> LA –> MS –> LA –> TX –> NM –> CO. And here’s a look at some of our adventure. I had wanted to take my Canon, but between trying to pack light, and the fear of it being stolen I decided not to take it and instead used my phones camera. I have an Android Galaxy S5 and the editing was done via Instagram (a few were post trip edited in Adobe Photoshop Elements).

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Leaving Colorado, riding off into the sunset.

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Sunrise and fog in Missouri

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On our way to Arkansas to play!

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Splashing in Devils Den State Park, AK

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My cupkeiki and I sitting on the ledge, hiking the Yellow Rock Trail at Devils Den State Park, AK.

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Swiftly through Arkansas we went, and arrived in Louisiana just in time for a beautiful sunset.

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From Louisiana, we crossed over the Mississippi, to play in, well…Mississippi.

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We spent 3+ hours monkeying around at Clark Creek Natural Area, MS. Waterfalls, vines…the works and a good workout!

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We ate Frog Legs and Cat Fish Po’ Boys and drank the delicious local brew Abita, Purple Haze in Madisonville, LA at The Crabby Shack

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We checked out the French Quarter our first evening there.

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The following morning, we went out in search of Alligators. *Note, they are “abundant” but not in town. We went to the Jean Lafiette National Historical Park and Preserve, where we “saw” 3 alligators…there were probably many more that saw us.

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Magnolia Trees in full bloom!

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Cheers and good vibes everywhere!!

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Cafe Beignet, no long lines like Cafe Du Monde, just saying. 

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The band, Tuba Skinny. You can find them online. Listen to them, they are incredible!

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We trekked all over the French Quarter for a full day. It was hot, humid, and beautiful. *except the stinky puddles-cupkeiki.

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We made it Galveston, TX and went shell hunting and for a ferry ride.

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Sunrise in TX, where land is abundant and for sale.

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We zipped (and by zipped I actually mean had an endless car trip) through Texas and into New Mexico where we wanted to visit the Carlsbad Caverns. It was amazing, and the elevators were out of order. But my cupkeiki did amazing and her and I jogged up and out in 25 min. Once out, she celebrated then promptly passed out and we drove out of New Mexico and into a snow storm in Colorado. That’s Colorado for you.

What a fantastic trip, filled with fantastic memories. My family and I bonded and I owe a special thank you to my manimal, who works so hard everyday but worked especially hard to make this trip happen for all of us even though things are crazy busy.

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