I have been to New Orleans three times. Each time with different people and for different reasons. Once with my family from France. That was a hoot. I was 19 and was the only person in the group who could speak both French and English. There were 7 of us total. My great aunt and uncle, who had never been on an airplane before their trip to the united states, their oldest son Alain, his wife Joelle and their daughter Chrystelle (she spoke some very broken english at the time). Also along was another grandchild of my uncle’s–his name is David.

So we all pile in a rented mini-van and head off down the interstate to New Orleans. Four out of seven people in the van smoked. Which would have been fine. I grew up in a family of smokers and was used to dealing with it, BUT my aunt had a hissy fit everytime someone opened the window. So, we had the A/C blasting and no window open to let the smoke out. That made it a looooong drive.

So we get to New Orleans and we get a map and begin to get ourselves hopelessly lost. I really, really wanted to take over the driving, but alas, it was not my rented van. We finally find a motel way out of the city and go back in to find our way to the French Quarter. Remember, I said my uncle and aunt were with us. I had an idea of what waited for us on Bourbon street, but I’m not sure that my uncle did. My uncle in the last of the 19th century french men. Very proper. His letters, when he writes to me, sound like poetry (and look it too, he has beautiful handwriting). I never thought I’d be with him when he walked by his first dirty sex toy shop. My cousins were annoyed because the drinking age in France is 18 and of course, here they could not drink. I don’t remember doing much else in our time in NO with my french family. We walked up and down Bourbon street…I’m not sure if we even made it over to Jackson Square. I know I didn’t get to try any beignets that trip. (the rest of the trip, we drove along the coast and then back up to Tennessee. my cousins wanted to swim in the ocean, so we all stripped to our underwear–we failed to bring swimsuits–and went out into the gulf.) Luckily, none of us took a camera so it will not be documented for future generations!

Memories of trip 2 to come….