Saturday, April 23, 2011

Going Home

"You see us as you want to see us...in the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions. But what we found out is that each one of us is a brain...and an athlete...and a basket case...a princess...and a criminal. Does that answer your question? Sincerely yours, The Breakfast Club"
One week ago today I attended my 20th high school reunion.  To say it was a wonderful, magical weekend is an understatement.  I had not gone to my 10th and rarely returned to my hometown so this was a big deal.  I grew up in the Mandeville/Covington/Madisonville area, which is on the other side of the lake from New Orleans.  There are pockets that are so charming, with picture perfect homes, straight out of Southern Living.  Homes that I've been looking up on real estate sites, daydreaming about, emailing to friends jokingly suggesting we time-share...the kind of homes with painted shutters, gas-lit lanterns, wrap around porches, and jasmine spilling over.
It was a great place to grow up.  And the friends...we got together as though we hadn't skipped a beat.  The first night back included a dinner with friends, a trip to the local pub where so many familiar faces were, and it all ended at the Waffle House at 3am.  I felt like I was 17 all over again.  The reunion event the next night was spent catching up with more old classmates.  So many of the women looked great, just as they did 20 years ago.  I think time has caught up more with the men.  I'm actually happy I skipped our 10 year because I would have just been a bundle of nerves back then.  But this one...well, everybody seemed so comfortable and friendly and genuinely excited to see one another.  It was so successful that we all agreed we would reunite in 5 years instead of waiting for another 10 to pass by.  My best friend and I took a picture in the photo booth...it was the end of the night so not the best but one of the only ones I have from the event.  She now lives in DC with twins but we're still best friends to this day...
The morning after I was up early watching TV in bed in our hotel room, thinking about the whole weekend.  A wave of feeling homesick and nostalgic washed over me and I just sat there and cried.  Hard.  It was such a delayed reaction.  And this feeling lingered over this past week, so much so that I couldn't sit down and write about it.  I remember my first night in my college town I had dinner with a high school friend, who, by the way, just made an album in Nashville and we'll probably see on the CMAs one day...anyway, he said something that night that I'll never forget.  He said we spend 4 years of high school trying to get out and the rest of our lives trying to get back in.  Y'all don't worry...now that I'm fully settled down from the trip and life is back in full swing, I'm feeling less clingy to yesterday.  It was funny, though, that the show I was watching while crying so hard was CBS Sunday Morning and they were interviewing Molly Ringwald, who has just turned 40.  

After the weekend of reunion festivities, Jeff and I headed across the lake to spend some time in New Orleans.  I couldn't be that close and not get my fill of everything the city has to offer.  We stayed in this hotel pictured below right in the French Quarter, another area just dripping in charm.
I do suggest that if you ever stay in the Quarter, make sure to get a courtyard facing room so you can have a peaceful sleep.  Even though we stayed right on Bourbon & Toulouse, we didn't hear a peep.  We had such fun roaming the streets, the shops, and trying to figure out where Brad & Angelina live.  Nick Cage had just been arrested there the day before...so sorry we missed out on the action.  
Po-boys and jambalaya at Mother's...
(only because my all time fav, Central Grocery was closed on Sundays)
We stumbled upon newly opened, Sylvain, a restaurant/bar that just does everything right from the understated decor to the way they serve a bloody mary (with a tiny pickled okra and a side shot of beer...oh and they boil and peel their tomatoes, no mix here).  We chatted with the owner who also writes for Playboy and has lived in New York.  He moved to New Orleans to open this perfect little spot.
We had an early dinner at Galatoire's and it was heaven!  It is truly old school New Orleans where it's mandatory for men to wear a jacket and they ask you if you prefer a certain waiter, assuming you're a regular.  I should have made Jeff wear a seersucker jacket...    
"Tradition no 136: We serve French bread as hot as our summers" - Galatoire's
A few more snapshots of our time there...
We wrapped up the trip with the morning at Cafe du Monde for beignets and their delicious coffee made of chicory...the perfect ending.





     

9 comments:

Pinecone said...

Everything looks so wonderful!! I have never been to New Orleans...always wanted to go.

It is totally understandable to feel all of that at your reunion. I always feel that way when we visit family. We have lived so far from all of our family for 14 years. I am used to it and I deal with it. Then when I see everyone...it is so hard to say goodbye.

Your pictures are great and it looks like you had lots of good food in addition to a fun reunion.

Happy Easter
xo
Ashlyn

Farmchick said...

It has been a few years since I have been to New Orleans. It is a city that just has that certain something...don't know quite how to explain it, but I love it! Sounds like you had a great time at your reunion as well. Love the pics!

Nelle Somerville said...

Magical! So wonderful to see NOLA through your eyes. We LOVE it there and hope to visit in the next year. Happy Easter!!!

Town and Country Gals said...

Tiffany,
Sounds and looks like you had a greag trip and fun reunion! What memories they bring back! Meeting up with old friends and classmates and finding out what they have been up too is always fun. I've never been to New Oleans but it looks fabulous. Love to visit there someday!
Rebecca

Holli said...

What a great trip! I loved all of your pictures.... felt like I was there :)

JMW said...

Looks and sounds like an amazing time! I can understand the emotions you felt - I'm sure a flood of feelings crept up on you and it just came rushing out. Love the pics of New Orleans - you guys are such a cute couple!

Tessa said...

I've been looking forward to hearing a recap of your reunion! So glad it was such a wonderful (and emotional) trip! My parents still live in the town where I grew up, about 45 min. north of us, so we are there often. Four of my best high school friends still live close by too. There is something about the friendships made when you are growing up that can never quite be duplicated with friendships made in adulthood. They will always know you in a way others can't.

xo,
Tessa

Sara said...

Oh Tiffany, you just summed up about how I felt about the reunion and going home again. My folks moved away in 1995, but NOLA/Mandeville will always be home. It just does something to the soul. You are such a talented writer and photographer. Keep it up.

Evie said...

oooo that drain is slightly different, but I adore it! Where can I get one? That is the question.