We just got back from a "quick" trip to and from New Orleans. For a variety of reasons, it was one of the best trips back home I have ever been on. It is funny how the interactions between people, community and us can have an impact on the quality of a trip home.
Graduation was a success, of course. It was great seeing Caitlin graduate. She has worked for over 6 years for that degree, and UNO provided its fair share of roadblocks this year to her achieving her goal. Well, it wasn't UNO's fault--it was the Louisiana State Legislature that threatened to close all public universities if they didn't receive the necessary funding to keep them afloat. Thanks Bobby Jendel for doing such a crappy job handing the states finances....
Spending time in the city, though, with Devin was priceless!
I finally got time to walk the city with Devin the way I used to do with his brothers and sisters when he was their age (10-14). I got to joke around with him in the Quarter. He's getting my sarcastic whit now that he's older. I introduced him to a bit of the history in the Quarter, and his mother and I showed him some of the kindness and generosity we feel for the street musicians and Quarter characters that make the Quarter such a special place. I think he had a wonderful time. It will add to his experience there the next time that we go down there--which, ironically, may be in a few weeks when I take Caitlin back home from her visit up here.
What also added to the quality of this trip was the "lagniappe" moments we had when we ran into various friends from our past. Seeing Blake, Kia, Debbie Davis, and others made our trip. Spending time with them was great. Being able to catch up on what is going on in New Orleans through their eyes helped me refocus quite a bit. For some, the city is going in a positive direction. For others, the city has yet to recover from Katrina in a socially and culturally healthy way and may indeed be moving in the wrong direction culturally. If the city doesn't sink into the water, though, I believe Susan and I will find our way back to the city to live out the last years of our lives. I don't believe there is anywhere else for us, honestly.
The food, of course, was great. We spent one day just doing appetizers at various restaurants. That was an incredible edible adventure! We will do that again.
All in all, a great trip back home. I miss New Orleans.