Monday, March 7, 2011

visiting the boot

Tywanna and Jeff were planning a trip back home to Louisiana for a friends wedding and invited me to tag along, so of course I went! I had never been in the South before. I have been to South Carolina and Florida, however these hardly count. Louisiana was new territory for me and I was very excited.

Tywanna and I left early Wednesday morning to catch our flight. This was the first flight in a long time where I wasn't traveling alone. Time passes much more quickly when you have someone to keep you company. In the airline magazine we found entertainments and managed to create little origami elephants out of dollar bills. We fed them pretzels!

Once we landed in New Orleans, it was instantly warmer and delightful. We happened to arrive during Mardis Gras festivities, but unfortunately thanks to the weather, we weren't able to partake in them. This just means I will have to visit again. I did get to enjoy all the decorations that come with Mardis Gras. Apparently there are all sorts of wreaths, streamers, beads, lights, masks, and more, for celebrating.

Jeff picked us up at the airport and we made him take us for lunch. I had my first Po-Boy, fully dressed! It had shrimp, lettuce, tomato, pickles, tartar sauce, it had everything because, it was dressed. (This is my trying to show that I learned the lingo). After we were completely full, we drove to Slidell, LA to visit Tywanna's family. On our way we crossed, the Mississippi River!!!!!!!!! My first time seeing the river, and I was excited. I took a picture of the mighty river and waved hello. I met Tywanna's parents, sister, brother, nieces, nephew, and more. We visited around the house before having dinner and ice cream. It was late and we'd had a very long day, but we had long drive to Baton Rouge before we could sleep. Jeff's parents live there and were gracious enough to put us up for a few nights.

After a restful nights sleep I met Jeff's delightful mother and briefly met his father as he was on his way out. We decided to have beignets for breakfast. They were essentially puffed fried dough, with lots and lots of powdered sugar. I wish I could eat these for breakfast everyday! We met up with Todd and Nathan, two of Jeff's friends who were also in the wedding party. The boys had to run some errands which included picking up their tux's for the wedding, so Tywanna and I confiscated the car and decided to have our own fun. First we decided to get manicures, very fancy and necessary for the wedding of course. Then we decided to go shopping at Target, Tywanna needed some essentials and I just love Target. I ended up finding The Last Unicorn on DVD and Bluray and HAD to buy it, so I did. I've been looking for this movie on DVD for a long time, I have it on VHS but no longer have the means to watch it. Once we finished shopping we met up with the boys for lunch and decided that we would leave soon to caravan to Golden Meadow, LA which was about 2+ hours South and also a Bayou.

We arrived just in time to check into the hotel and make it to the wedding rehearsal on time. The rehearsal was a private event, so I waited patiently at the hotel for the after party. The weather was overcast, rainy, and incredibly windy, so I only managed a short exploration of the area. But honestly there wasn't much to explore. We were RIGHT NEXT to the water. Like you could just walk from the door of pretty much any building and into water. No drops, or steps, or walls, just bayou. There were many shrimping boats and I found myself quoting Forrest Gump often. Once the rehearsal was over Jeff and Tywanna drove back to the hotel to pick me up. The event was catered and had different sorts of traditional food. Like jambalaya, which was delicious. There was also banana fosters made with a beignet, first time I'd ever tried it. It was sweet and tasty. I met the bride and groom and enjoyed the Cajun music in the background while everyone played and talked. Elisa and her father had built a photo booth, which was a hit at the rehearsal and the wedding. I don't know how they managed to write the software and set it all up, but it was amazing. Not only did pictures print out for people to keep, but the camera saved copies of every picture so Patrick and Elisa had digital copies of every picture. This is a way better idea than disposable cameras! The after party was in our hotel room. The boys played games and Tywanna and I entertained ourselves with TV and eventually we fell asleep.

The wedding day Tywanna and I didn't have any responsibility until 6pm and the boys had nothing to do as well but entertain themselves. Unfortunately they needed the car we were using so Tywanna and I were stranded. But, there isn't much to do other than drive around really, so we just relaxed and enjoyed the scenery. There was a cow farm outside our hotel room, so we kept company with many cows. Jeff picked us up once it was time for the wedding, and Tywanna was very glad for my company because it was a full service Catholic wedding and it was very very long. My favorite part was when they were pronounced man and wife! Hooray! The party moved to the reception hall behind the church where we were given napkins as party favors. These were flailed about while the wedding party entered the reception. They were all wearing masks or top hats and dancing around to Cajun music. Tywanna told me that this was called a "second line." The reception was pretty standard, with food, cake, dancing, and wedding traditions. After the reception was over, Elisa told Jeff to take all the alcohol with him. I grabbed what I thought was a bottle of champagne, only to be incredibly disappointed in discovering that it was a bottle of malt something that was only pretending to be champagne. However, it didn't really prevent me from drinking a good amount of the bottle. It was a celebration after all.

Saturday morning we woke up feeling better than we expected. We showered and packed up for our last day in Louisiana. Unfortunately the weather was calling for very heavy rain, thunderstorms, and tornadoes. Despite the limiting weather, we convinced Todd to join us for the day and made a stop at Nottoway plantation. It is the south's largest antebellum mansion, also used as a bed and breakfast. There were many live oak trees on the grounds and the mansion was situated very close to the Mississippi River! It was a gorgeous house with lots of history.

On our way back to Baton Rouge it rained, a lot. And not just a little rain, a lot of rain. So much that everything started flooding. Well, it seemed like flooding to me. However, Tywanna and Jeff assured me that it wasn't flooding at all. Just the typical result from rain. The rest of our drive up I referred to "flooding" with air quotes, even though to me and my Yankee definition of "flooding" the yards and streets were not simply covered with water, they were flooded!

We had dinner that night with Jeff's family, as his sister had come to visit from Alabama with her 2 kids. After dinner we had a King Cake, and Jeff's niece had the baby Jesus in her piece. The King's cake is a traditional cake enjoyed during Mardi Gras. It was kind of like a giant pastry, covered with lots of colorful sugar. We had to get up really early for our flight home and so we spent the rest of the evening relaxing and packing. We arrived home to lots of rain and brother, being the best dear brother, drove up to BWI to pick us all up. I wish we could have stayed longer, and got to explore New Orleans. Unfortunately, with the wedding and the weather we just weren't able to. Looks like I'll have to get Tywanna and Jeff to bring me back to Louisiana again!

Check out a few more pictures in my gallery!

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