Day in New Orleans

February 17, 2012
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I remember pacing back and forth waiting as patiently as I could for my mom to come out of her room. We had decided one lazy Saturday morning that it was the perfect day to go shopping and out to lunch on Magazine Street. With two brothers and my dad we hardly ever get "girl time" and I was ecstatic. My mom walked out with a big smile, asked if I was ready, and we were on our way. The whole ride across the causeway we talked about life and everything that had been going on lately. I had recently gone to prom and we gossiped about all the things that had happened while constantly fighting over whose turn it was to pick the music.

We finally got off the causeway and drove to my aunts house to pick her up for the trip into town. My aunt came outside her house to meet us in the driveway in a bright blue striped shirt, a straw fedora with a black ribbon around it and black capris. I remember she looked like the spitting image of how spring would dress if a season could be represented by a person. When she opened the door of the car the smell of the garden in her front yard wafted into the car and we could hear the river rushing behind the levee right next to her house. As soon as she was in, buckled up and we had said our hello's we were on our way downtown. There was not a break in the laughing the whole way there while my aunt shared all her crazy stories that me and my mom live vicariously through. By the time we arrived on Magazine street, I could feel throbbing in my cheeks from the laughter and I was pretty sure my face would be stuck in a permanent smile.

The first store we stopped in was Whole Foods grocery, and I was not excited about going grocery shopping on our day out. However, I knew that Whole Foods would not just be a boring shopping trip as soon as we walked through the door. The smell of fresh bread and sunflowers flooded my senses. The bright assortment of beautiful flowers in the first room we entered immediately caught the attention of my Aunt Bonnie, who decided she must have at least one flower. We walked through the store looking at the exotic foods and laughing at all the funny names that they had. There was a million different types of Japanese soda, tanks full of live seafood, an aisle with every shelf loaded with candy from all over the world, an aisle with hundreds of different types of granola and flax on one side and cake mixes on the other side. My aunt and I waited on the granola aisle for about twenty minutes while my mom sorted through all the different textures and prices looking for a granola that my dad would like for his cereal in the morning. We finally found our way back out of the store, my mom with her bag of granola and my aunt with a beautiful orange flower in her hand, after my first thoroughly enjoyable shopping trip.

We made our way down to the next block, the sun pounding on our backs at this point and the wind beginning to die down. Good ole' Louisiana humidity was beginning to make its presence known. We stopped in a store filled with gorgeous clothes and I wanted them all, but soon realized I could not even afford one piece. We still walked around though, pretending like the clothes were just not good enough for us. My mom picked up an outrageously beautiful and overpriced silk shirt and ran her fingers down the smooth, painted fabric, shaking her head and stating how it just wasn't soft enough. My aunt tried on a whimsical chiffon couture gown with a bustier top that fit her like a glove. The dress looked like it had been made for her, but she laughed at herself while telling me that she just thought she could do better. I stood in the middle of the store, scared to touch anything that I might mess up and have to purchase. We walked out of the store laughing at the woman there that shook her head at us the whole time, knowing we would not be purchasing anything.

We continued down the typical New Orleans road with cracks in it sticking up almost a foot, all the way to a consignment shop that had the widest range of vintage clothes I had ever seen. There were brightly decorated leather Indian outfits, prom dresses that looked like they popped out of Grease and a section with clothes that looked perfect for any pirate party one could even dream of attending. The smell of a little mold mixed with must and a slight hint of recently used air freshener rushed us out of the store before we had fully checked everything out.

At this point we were beginning to feel worn down and decided it was time for a pick me up. We drove farther down Magazine to our favorite sushi restaurant, Sake Cafe. We sat outside in the shade on the wooden front porch. I remember the tea was ice cold and the perfect mixture of sweet and bitter, it was the most refreshing drink I could have had. It took the three of us about thirty minutes to scan the menu deciding what to order, how were going to split it, and whether it would be enough food or not. We finally decided on five rolls that we would all split and before we knew it they were out and on the table in front of us. We knew immediately that our eyes had been way bigger than our stomachs and realized we must have been extremely hungry. We took in everything for a minute before we dug in, looking at the combination of the spicy and sweet sauces, anticipating the delicious seafood and gawking over the beautiful arrangement of everything we had ordered. That didn't last long before we were attacking the plates in the middle of the table, everyone scrambling for the pieces we thought looked like they tasted best. Everything was wonderful and we sat there trying our best to finish at least three of the rolls, watching the jealous faces of passerbys on the street and contemplating whether or not we should offer a staring stranger our leftovers. We decided against that idea and packed up the leftovers into styrofoam boxes, all complaining about how stuffed we were now.

Now it was about two in the afternoon and the humidity had reached its peak, causing our clothes to stick to us as we left the cool porch and began to farther explore the street. My mom began to fan herself with a to-go menu she had grabbed from Sake Cafe and my aunt and I walked behind her trying to catch pieces of the wind. We didn't make it far before we found an antique jewelry store that my Aunt Bonnie had decided was the perfect spot to look for new mosaic materials. We searched through the endless clumps of heavy jewelry with a strong metal smell, looking for any pretty glass pieces. At the end of our journey through the store we had a whole box she could use to make new mosaics. After leaving the cool air conditioned room to go back into the sweltering humidity and heat in the street, we knew there was only one place left to stop. We hopped in the car and drove down another few blocks to my moms favorite snowball stand. We each picked our favorite sweet flavor and sucked it down like little hummingbirds at a feeder. Before we knew it we were cool and refreshed, slurping at the bottom of our empty styrofoam cups.

We loaded back into the car and headed to my aunts house. We dropped her off giving her big hugs and telling her how much we enjoyed the day and how she better send us pictures of whatever she makes with the glass jewelry. Then my mom and I headed back across the causeway, perfectly content and relaxed we smiled at each other reminiscing on how wonderful our day was and promising each other we would do it again soon. Less than half way across the causeway the rhythmic bumps of the road and slow music my mom had chosen lulled me into a happy sleep, and just as it quickly as it began, the day was over.

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