Monday, October 08, 2007

To New Orleans...

This weekend was fun. One of my graduate students got married. They were kind enough to invite me. The wedding was held in New Orleans and turned out to be a very fancy affair.

The wedding itself was glorious. It was held at a venerable old institution. The venue was amazing. The reception was very good too. It too was held in a classic old building. The food was excellent. Of course, there were many friends there, including several former and current students. It was most jolly.

Before the wedding, there was all the chaos of people meeting together from many different points. I rode down to The Big Easy in my new truck, that performed flawlessly, in excellent company. The journey was enriched by my iPod. At the last moment, one of the Bridesmen (a new fangled idea), had to use my hotel room to get changed. There was then a gathering for 'pre-match' drinks. This was in the very 'down at heal' "Chuck's". It made a nice counterpoint to the opulence of the wedding itself.

The ceremony was interesting. I have never seen so many bridesmaids (and bridesmen), and groomsmen (and groomsmaids). It looked like there was an entire football team of attendants. The other thing which was kind of unusual is that not a word of the ceremony was audible. I whispered to the folks around me that they might have been saying "Isn't this fun! Let us mouth some stuff for a while and then just go party". Who knows. However, there was an announcement of the new married couple, so we must assume that the deed was done in the proper manner.

After several hours of reception, the whole proceedings were interrupted by the arrival of one of the better New Orleans brass bands. Parasols were handed out. After a couple of circuits around the room in which the reception was held, the band led a second line out into the street. This was both excellent and fun. It seems that the families have some 'stroke' (as they say in these parts). There were police there closing down the roads so that the second line could proceed without impediment. It was absolutely fabulous. For those who know New Orleans, we went down both Magazine and Poydras with our procession. Tourists were even taking pictures!

Eventually, we reached a rather grand hotel, where the bridal party was staying. After a big finale, the brass band left. Apparently, the plan was then that we should all go down to the French Quarter, with the bride and groom. Needless to say, the theory on this was not quite what happened. After some chaotic hanging around, a consensus was reached that those of us in the proverbial 'madding crowd' should retire to the hotel bar, to await further instructions. There had been a brief incident with a limousine and a visiting football team outside the hotel that made this seem like a prudent choice. However, this move to the hotel bar too turned out to be a little more interesting than might have normally been assumed.

When we arrived in the bar, one of the other patrons turned out to be the Reverend Al Sharpton. I was just a little disappointed that he was only drinking coffee. However, due to a small collision incident (note to self: learn to look where you are going next time), I got to chat to him a little bit. For all the public persona (I have an in built distrust of public figures), he is actually a nice and interesting guy. I certainly applaud his efforts on behalf of the Jena 6. When the bride (eventually) arrived, he was kind enough to pose for photos with her. Although I have a copy of the picture of Rev. Sharpton kissing the bride, I will not share it here -- I am sure that my students new husband and Mrs. Sharpton would prefer that (not that there is anything sordid -- it is actually very sweet).

After a while and some quite interesting traditional jazz, we moved out to the Quarter. The bride was AWAL by the time we left, but showed up later, along with many of the wedding party. I have to admire the resilience of my students. Thus, it was a very happy, jolly and late night. It was good to be back in The Crescent City. Although all these events took place in the so-called 'Isle of Denial', it was nice to see the place looking something like it used to before The Storms (do not forget Rita!). The tourist dollars are more revenues for the coffers of the City and thus (assuming that the money is not stolen, or diverted -- this is Louisiana, after all) at least in theory it may be able to be used to help regenerate the still badly afflicted parts of the place.

As for me, I had a wonderful weekend. I hope you did too.

The CP

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