Robert and I went to New Orleans last weekend. I can't possibly put into words what a fabulous time we had, but hopefully these these
Will is dating a wonderful girl named Page who is from New Orleans. Page's mother and I were friends at SMU. We reconnected at our 25-year reunion a year ago and discovered that we both had kids who were sophomores at TCU. After determining that her daughter and my son did not know each other, we arranged for them to have lunch. They have been dating ever since!
Last weekend Page was to be a "maid" in a Mardi Gras ball with Will serving as her costumed escort. Page's parents kindly invited Robert and me to be a part of the festivities as their guests and we excitedly accepted.
I flew to New Orleans on Friday morning. Robert had business in California, so he joined me later in the afternoon.
Page's mother picked me up at the airport, and we met two sorority sisters of mine who are from New Orleans for lunch at the St. James Cheese Company. I don't know when I have had such a great time catching up with old friends. One of the girls and I hadn't seen each other in almost 27 years, but we laughed and visited like our college days were just yesterday.
Me with my friends Molly and Jennifer. Molly and my sister Marian were roommates for several years at SMU
My "Ploughman's Lunch" - delicious!
After Robert arrived, he and I dressed for the ball and then we dropped Will off at the New Orleans Convention Center where he would be outfitted with his costume. Will texted me about ten minutes later, "My costume is pink!"
Ready for the ball!
The ball itself was a fantastic experience. I loved seeing all of the ladies dressed in their beautiful gowns and long white gloves and the men in their costumes de rigeur (essentially tails with white waistcoat, white tie and white gloves). All of the ladies were seated around the dance floor, with the maids' mothers and grandmothers comprising the front row (the men stood at the back of the room). Page's aunt sat next to me and patiently explained the pageantry and protocol to me as I didn't have any idea what was taking place.
Will and others in costume sat on the floor while the queen and her court were presented
Page and her dad
The Queen and King (by tradition she is a young lady around 20 and he is an older man)
These cute little pages helped carry the Queen's mantle. The woman on the left in the red lace dress was the Queen's mother
Masked man in a pink costume (guess who!) and his lovely maiden, Page
After the presentation there was a time of dancing. Will was given three "favors" by the Krewe and could call out someone to dance with him and present her with one (the favor was a pretty golden pelican pin). He gave his favors to me, Page and Page's mother. Page's mom had also provided Will with some miniature king cakes that he could give to Page's friends so that he could have an opportunity to dance with them.
Around 10 o'clock the king and queen processed next door to the "Queen's Supper." This was a lively party with a very fun band and a buffet of breakfast food. For this Will changed from his costume into tails. The Queen's Supper was quite a good time!
Robert and Will
The band was great! At one point the pages got on stage and the singers tried to teach them a few dance moves. It was really cute to watch
The next morning we met Page's family for breakfast at the New Orleans Coffee and Beignet Company across the street from our hotel. Page and Will left soon after to drive back to TCU for the spring semester.
Will is clearly dressed for a long car ride, not for breakfast!
New Orleans is famous for its beignets and café au lait - yum!
Robert and I spent the afternoon at the National World War II Museum in the central business district of New Orleans. What a fascinating place! A new pavilion housing WWII aircraft was opening the following day, and we were able to sneak a preview of it. We also really enjoyed the "4-D" movie showing in a theater in the museum. The film presented an overview of WWII that was enhanced with effect such as seats that shook as a tank rumbled across the screen and snow that fell on the viewers during the wintry Battle of the Bulge. The exhibits in the museum were very interesting and well done, with many providing opportunities for multimedia interaction. We were there for the better part of the afternoon (and Robert would likely have stayed much longer had the museum not closed).
WWII planes displayed inside the new Freedom Pavilion
A World War II veteran visiting the museum
Leaving the museum we drove briefly through the very crowded French Quarter
I hopped out to take a picture of the Bourbon Street sign
For dinner Saturday night Page's mom recommended a restaurant in the warehouse district called Annunciation. I'm not sure that bad food even exists in New Orleans, but this was exceptionally good. An added treat was that my cousin Jenna and her husband Don who live near New Orleans were able to join us for dinner.
On our way to the airport Sunday we stopped for Poor Boy sandwiches at the Parkway Bakery and Tavern. I had the roast beef and Robert had fried shrimp. We definitely did not lack for great food on this trip!
As I told Page's mom, if I lived in New Orleans I would be fat and tired! But, oh, what a wonderful place to visit.