Back from NOLA
This past weekend I took my first trip to New Orleans. When Amy asked me if I wanted to help her with a retreat at St. Charles Avenue Baptist Church, her previous employer, I jumped at the chance. They are in the process of finding a new minister and asked her to lead them through a visioning retreat. She asked if I could help them create a mosaic. Of course!
And so I went, not completely sure of what I was getting myself into, nor what I was going to say. But I did my homework, bought supplies, packed lightly and fortunately, made it to the correct airport on time.
I must say that the retreat was a success. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the spontaneity of taking a tiny idea and working with a community to create a tangible creative product, plus a set of words of guidance that will help them move forward. Plus it was great working with Amy.
I am in the process of answering an interview that Amy sent to me as a follow-up. Call this blog post procrastination. I’m just kidding, Amy! Sort of.
But I have to say that I fell in love with New Orleans. I never really had any desire to go there before Katrina. To me, it involved large, drunk crowds. I hate crowds, especially drunk ones. I had enough of that with two UNC championships and several Halloweens in Chapel Hill. Besides what if I caught the spirit and ended up with my top over my head and an internet sensation? How could I possibly maintain that Girls Gone Wild reputation???
Plus I was scared that I would somehow end up in a cemetery with a crazy old woman casting a spell on me and forcing a voodoo doll in my hand. I am a complete freak magnet and have been “touched”, with a series of prophetic dreams throughout my lifetime and way too many coincidences. Plus cemeteries are beautiful. I love them. So much so that I even said that was the one thing I wanted to see while I was there. Carol drove me right by one to satiate my curiosity. Later none of the psychics in Jackson Square jumped out to tell me something eerie and foreboding. I survived my trip without any intersection of black magic. What a relief.
Although I am sure that both of these scenarios are part of NOLA’s culture, they are far from all of it. New Orleans is filled with dense neighborhoods of beautiful homes, delicious food, and cute shops. All of which are oozing with creativity and a slow and welcoming Southern style. How could I not completely love this place? My short visit (including the day and a half retreat, which was over an hour away) was just a taste of what New Orleans has to offer. I imagine it is a place where you can consume good food, good music, great art and yes, lots of frozen drinks, ’til you pop. I can’t wait to go back. In fact, it is the first place I ever thought my family might could go as a vacation. We aren’t beach people, but I believe that there is something in New Orleans that we would all love.
Oh my goodness – I want a beignet so bad right now. Thanks for the picture!