Wednesday, June 20:
We left the house before 8:00 and drove down to Louisiana. The drive was pretty easy and we took a little detour to take the other bridge over Pontchartrain since the I-10 bridge has been a source of frustration lately. We saw some houses on the bayou that had been totally obliterated, and it was sad. People are still living in FEMA trailers on the land where their houses once stood. That doesn’t seem right or fair.
We met our friends Gary and Elena for lunch at Central Grocery for muffalettas, and then Scott and I took off to Gretna to go get our marriage license. Apparently the Orleans Parish office is a nightmare, so we made the decision to go to Gretna over on the Westbank. It was a paragon of efficiency, and we were in and out in under 10 minutes. We then decided to get something to drink, since it was HOT that day. We stopped into a little restaurant that specialized in hot dogs and when she found out we were getting married, she gave us our drinks for free (Coke for him, tea for me) and gave us some beads, too. I promised her I’d come back before the wedding to come eat, since they had tofu dogs and veggie chili. Even as a vegetarian, I still crave good chili cheese dog.
After that we got checked in to our B&B, which was a story unto itself. The Bywater neighborhood is artsy and known for its eccentric folks. Scott was unloading the car and one of our shopping bags (carrying stuff for the wedding) busted and the stuff went out on the sidewalk. Suddenly, a tall woman pulling a wagon said, “Hey, lemme help ya, I got a wagon” and started loading up the stuff in the wagon and dragging it to the back of the house where our room was. When they arrived I shot Scott a “WTF?!” look and he just shrugged. The woman unloaded the stuff and then said, “Hey, if you see Lisa, tell her Big Vicky’s here.” Lisa was the B&B owner, so we felt safe. Next time I went outside, Big Vicky had stripped down to a tank top and panties and flopped into the pool. She then invited us to stay for dinner (seared scallops basilico), which we politely declined. Apparently she lives in the neighborhood and hangs out w/ Lisa on their beautiful back patio pretty regularly. Only in NOLA…
Later that night we went to Dick and Jenny’s on Tchoupitoulas St. with the (then) future in-laws and Gary and Elena. The food was amazing. Then we went to St. Joe’s (a bar/patio on Magazine St.) and then took them around the Quarter that night. We even walked around Bourbon, since this was their first trip ever to NOLA. It’s tacky and depraved, yet somewhat satisfying.
Thursday, June 21:
We pickedup Mike at the airport, then to Cafe du Monde for breakfast. My dad arrived in the early afternoon and we hung out for awhile and walked around the Quarter and next to the river. Scott, Mike, my dad, and I took the ferry over to Algiers and then straight back, just because it was too hot to do much else. I got quite a bit of sun that afternoon and I sweated a lot. Good thing I was downing water like…uh, water. That night we had dinner at Praline Connection (so, so good) with a host of friends and family. It was really the first big “event” before the wedding, and it was exciting. After that we went to Vaughan’s to watch Kermit Ruffins play. As usual, he was awesome! I stayed out until nearly 2AM, Scott stayed out much later until after 3:30. Some our friends literally came home as the sun was rising.
Friday, June 22:
My dad called about 7:30 AM and said “I’m sick.” He apparently caught a stomach virus from my sister before he left and had been violently ill all night. I went to Walgreen’s to get Pepto, crackers, Sprite, and some Gatorade to take to him at his hotel. He didn’t look good at all. I set him up with stuff to drink and told him I’d check on him later. I felt so terrible, and I was worried that he was seriously ill.
My mom and her family arrived late morning and we went back over to Gretna to the hot dog place, as I’d promised. My mom, my aunt, and my great aunt just loved it! The food was awesome and the atmosphere was adorable. Afterwards, I drove them back to their hotel and went up to check on my dad. He decided to only attend the rehearsal and not attend the dinner. I was sad, but knew he needed his rest.
That afternoon, I started feeling kind of rundown and queasy for no reason. By the time we got to the rehearsal, no doubt I looked awful, and the chaos and disorder of the rehearsal did NOT help me feel better. I think both of our families had a collective 25 point IQ drop. You line up, boys on the right, girls on the left. Don’t walk outside to wander around if someone says “Hey, stick around.” Dee dee dee…People couldn’t get their shit together, and the coordinator didn’t seem to have a grip on things at all, but she morphed into a complete control freak. It was embarrassing and frustrating. We were pretty unhappy when we left, but knew things would go well the next day. During the whole ride to dinner, we complained and vented.
At the dinner, I felt really ill. I ordered food, but wasn’t hungry. Suddenly, I knew all bets were off. I bolted to the bathroom, where I proceeded to vomit like I hadn’t in a long, long time. When I opened the door, Scott, my mom, and a waitress were there. Mom and Scott hugged me and made sure I was OK, and the waitress made a “tummy cocktail” of bitters and soda water to calm down the queasy. It worked, but I still ate very, very little. Too bad, because the food was actually quite good. I sipped soda water and prayed that I’d feel better. Everyone met us at the Bulldog (an English pub with an awesome patio) after dinner (about 40-something people in all) and while it was fun, I wasn’t able to really enjoy myself since I was weak and tired. We turned in pretty early (around 11:30).