While I was in Texas for my friend Melissa’s wedding, I decided it was high time I went to New Orleans. You know, experience new things and such. When I told my awesome client and friend Alyssa about this plan she got so excited all the Southern came out and she began planning my trip for me! But, as things happen, regional flooding in Louisiana devastated her small town outside Baton Rouge and there was a hurricane on the way.
So instead of spending 2 days together we carved out a couple hours beginning with lunch at Parrains Seafood, a local staple with the best oysters I have had in a long while:
After catching up over lunch we crossed the parking lot for coffee and I convinced Alyssa to begin putting her amazing stories online because the photos she takes and the stories she tells are powerful (this is her blog) and I am so excited that she’s sharing again.
We linger over coffee for awhile and then Alyssa agrees to a selfie but for a photographer that means 10 minutes to set up her cell phone on auto, even as other diners offer to help. No, this is how a photographer works 😉
Too soon I was back on my way and pulling into New Orleans in time for dinner. I stayed at a fantastic yoga studio up in the loft and while it’s small it was also perfectly situated on Magazine Street and in the middle of everything I want to see.
Wednesday morning I was off to the plantations, starting with the one that everyone knows: Oak Alley:
It’s gorgeous, the house tour is fantastic and so, so photogenic. I could string a hammock up between these trees and nap for hours:
At the end of our tour I was looking down to the back lawn where another tour guide was waiting to meet her next group. With a few photo filters this seemed to me a picture that could have been taken a hundred years ago:
I talked with a few tourists in from Australia and they recommended the Laura Plantation, just down the road and I loved my stop there.
While a much different plantation, this was a quieter stop and I had a nearly private tour (there were 2 of us plus the guide) and the history of the home and family that lived here was brilliant.
Brilliantly, we got to discuss a lot about history and I shared recommendations for my favorite new book (America’s First Daughter) and musical obsession (Hamilton) neither of which the young tour guide had read or seen. It was a beautiful place but I wanted to get back to town before traffic picked up so I skipped the swamp tours on my way back though I did stop at a beautiful cemetery.
Thanks to the elevation, floods and proximity to the Gulf, cemetery plots are all above ground here and, though different, they are beautiful.
There was a lot to explore so I made sure to try jambalaya, beignets and of course fried green tomatoes:
In the midst of my trip, I got some horrible news from a client in one of our group programs so while I was mostly “off line” and not working, I needed to be there despite my vacation. Without going into all the details, our client was in an accident where she was badly hurt and her infant son was killed. It’s still horrifying and tragic to think about and I’m glad that we could surround her with love and support as soon as it happened.
I was definitely feeling very raw and found myself crying when I thought of her loss so I took advantage of one of the perks of staying in a yoga studio and signed up for the evening ‘restorative yoga’ class with the studio’s owner. As it turned out, no one else showed up so I had a private lesson!
Friday brought a long drive back to Dallas for my flight home, made longer by the fact that my rental car did not have cruise control. It did, however, have a total of 7 miles on the odometer when I picked it up.
Friday night I stayed with my aunt, uncle and cousins in Dallas before returning the car and catching an early flight home Saturday morning. Not too bad of a trip to Dallas, Austin, Baton Rouge and New Orleans in 9 days!