I ate a giant peanut butter cup in The George Bush international airport, which I thought was fitting, then flew in over the Louisiana Bayou to New Orleans. There are houses out there in the middle of the water on stilts, spotted amongst the green. They can only be reached by boat.
We went for lunch and ate plantains, nervous and excited and itching to put on shorts, it was warm and muggy . It rained in spurts but after what has felt like a six month winter in New York, warm rain on bare shoulders is rather agreeable.
There was a thick fog when I first saw the Mississippi river, a lamp post barely visible 20 feet away. New Orleans looks like a film set. It has a quaintness, a beauty and sensuality about it that makes you want to cancel your flight home.
We headed to a friends house, sat on the porch, smoked and ate chicken. Leaning back into the porch swing while we drank our beer, wondering if it would storm. It didn’t.
We took taxi’s all over. The drivers were mixed and memorable.
I wore sleeveless clothes all weekend joyously.
I met all Sophia’s friends, we drank. I think they liked me. I liked them. We took the ferry over to Algiers and wandered the streets around Mardi Gras world, we came back pinker.
Then there was Bourbon Street. More statue performers than any town should allow. It didn’t matter that it wasn’t Mardi Gras. Kissing in the street, more drinking and karaoke. I don’t know how we found the hotel on Saturday morning, my drunken navigation apparently quite helpful.
We took an airboat out on the bayou, our guide had no front teeth and got a kick out of frightening us for laughs. I was too hungover to react. I held an alligator which took less bravery and was more wonderful than it sounds.
I think I liked The Maple leaf best of all. Broiled crawfish, heaped in piles like treasure on tables in the middle of the bar, strawberry beer, spicy corn. More smoking and story telling the back yard feeling young and confident and content.
I visited two plantations on my last day, sat on the bus looking out the window, listening to TV on the Radio’s ‘A method’ over and over, wishing I had traveled more in the US.