Despite major rain all day yesterday, the spirit of festivity prevailed in NOLA, and we celebrated two events: my paternal grandmother's 88th birthday, and my second cousin's birthday and wedding. We'd all tied one on Friday night but rallied for a wonderful lunch at Mr. B's yesterday, with cocktails at 11:30 and lunch starting an hour later. 25 or so cousins, aunts, uncles and kids sat around a huge square table bedecked with a birthday ribbon and balloons. The boys were terrifically well-behaved throughout the meal which lasted until sometime after we left at 2:15.
My friends in DC always laugh in friendly fashion at my propensity for dressing up whenever the suggestion of doing so is even little more than a figment of possibility, but growing up, we dressed up a lot, and I still enjoy puttin' on the glitz. Fishnets and heels before noon? Well, grandma doesn't turn 88 every day. A full change of fancy-dress attire a mere three hours later? Why not!
Today I am mighty tired, this past week of partying nipping at my heels in a major way. But it sure has been fun. Last night we gathered for the wedding. My second cousin first met his bride in 8th grade, they dated for several years in high school, and then parted ways. She married someone else, he went to law school, but then things went a bit sour in her marriage, and he threw his hat back in the ring. More than a decade after they first broke up, they tied the knot, happy as can be. Great story, and they celebrated in true New Orleans style by having a Second Line escort us from the ceremony to the reception site.
Most of you have probably not heard about Second Lines; they're a very, very Louisiana, specifically New Orleans-area thing. Traditionally, the Main Line or First Line of a brass band parade would be followed by folks who simply wanted to enjoy the music and festivity. They'd march behind, waving white handkerchiefs and parasols. Last night, when guests were handed a wedding program, they were also given a handkerchief; afterwards, we filed out of the ceremony venue, following the bride and groom, a tuba player, a trumpeter, and a drummer. It was great fun all of us waving our hanks, some of us twirling parasols, cocktails in hand.
On the way home, T and I managed to hail the looniest cab driver in the world. By the time we returned home, maybe 2 miles, possibly 3, we learned that she'd been left by her mother at 16, was a long-haul trucker for 5 years and covered all 48 of the contiguous states, was a musician with grand aspirations, considered herself wildly chatty, thought a guy she'd happened to pick up twice was in love with her, had bronchitis possibly because she'd started smoking again, could really ramble on and on and on, and wow, when we got home and exited her cab, it was with enormous relief.
Off to Cafe du Monde!