There's nothing like a trip back to your roots to make you feel whole again. And that's exactly what I needed going into this past fall. I had just gotten the news that I had fallen short yet again, and did not land the job I thought was basically in-the-bag. Melancholy ensued, self-doubt reigned, and the couch became my second home. After a week I even rearranged all the furniture in my house, taking comfort in the household objects I did exert control over. My one ray of light at the end of the dark tunnel that was my mind, was a trip to New Orleans my friends from high school had organized. About a year and a half ago my friend Linnea got married and we all headed down to Nashville for the bachelorette party. Needless to say, we all probably had too much fun on that trip because now we're addicted to doing one every year. Insert, NOLA 2016.
Surprisingly, none of the girls had ever been to New Orleans, let alone Louisiana, so although I was born in Lafayette, I felt a certain sense of pride showing off my cajun upbringing. All we could talk about on the cab ride from the airport was the food we were going to consume: seafood gumbo, fried okra, catfish po'boys, oysters on the half shell... ironically we did not consume any of said delicacies that first night and just got drunk instead, too happy to be in one another's company after being separated by so many miles. The laughs were plentiful, the vodka-tonics overflowed, and the hangover the next day was merciless.
Seriously though. One of the worst hangovers ever. Our first full day in the Big Easy and I could barely walk (this was due not only to my constant need to stop and hurl but also because I awoke to a bruised and swollen left foot and had to slowly limp everywhere, the pain was so bad; I'm told I tripped through the front door last night and went flying into the couch. Typical). Anyways, the gang picked out an adorable garden breakfast spot to refuel and I made mental maps of where all the toilets were located. It was an entertaining brunch to be sure, and I'm pretty sure everyone in the restaurant thought I had irritable bowl syndrome.
We spent the next few hours wandering around the streets of the Quarter, popping into a few shops here and there, until finally I felt like I had overcome the last hurdle of my hangover. So obviously alcohol was the next stop, just in time for happy hour. I know, I know, I'm a glutton for punishment. But hey, when in NOLA...
The rest of the day and night was a blur of gumbo, jazz, and dranks-on-dranks-on-dranks. Leave it to Linnea, Emilie, and Laura to find the only country western bar in the French Quarter where we dropped at least two full drinks on the floor, and met the best shot-girl in the business. Eventually we found our way back home and slept like babies, eager for the next day of adventures.
And adventures we had, or at least culinary adventures. Breakfast was amazing, dinner was beyond words (seriously, never say no Jacques-Imo's), and finally we got the chance to get outside the Quarter and hang with some locals (I even met a Rottweiler named Big Freeda).
All good things must come to an end however and Sunday night we all re-packed our bags, hugged out our goodbyes, and headed to our separate destinations. One of my favorite things about my friends, besides our uncanny ability to have a good time wherever we go, is that no matter how many miles we put between us, how many months we pass with out seeing each other's faces, we can pick-up exactly where we left off so seamlessly it's like we never left. So here's to good friends, good times, and good ol' Louisiana. "Laissez les bons temps rouler."