It has been hectic to say the least. I preface the following with my understanding that there is enough time in life to do the things that you care about - the things that you make a priority. I have envisioned making a post or update a couple times a week, but with the Europe trip backlog, NOLA trip, catching up at work, classes, going to the gym, this has not made it to the top of the list.
This is the first week back from New Orleans. The trip was super-fun. (Mike let us know what he thought about the U.S. using super- for everything.) I wasn't sure what to expect from this trip since the group (less me) did a lot of brainstorming but no real solid planning. Cady and I had a layover in Atlanta, and arrived in NOLA Wednesday evening. We quickly caught up with the Coloradans (Colorado-ites?) and the bloke from London over some whiskey and wine. We hit the streets - visiting the french quarter, bourbon street, the banks of the Mississippi. The one thing I will say about New Orleans is that it is saturated with art and culture. We met artist Welmon Sharlhorne on a street corner - he told us about his art in the Smithsonian (google it) snapped some pictures with us and kindly hustled a couple dollars as artists do. We also met sketch artist "Chester".
It was pitch black after midnight, Cady and I had peeled off from the group in search of some much needed rest. A massive man cut the street diagonally towards us carrying a large sack and a book. He had his hand outstretched and said something along the lines of "Don't be afraid, I'm a black man." I shook his hand, he let us know that he was looking to sketch us quickly and we, always looking for adventure, were happy to sit down and get to know Chester. He was breathing heavily under some dim porch lights and appeared to be drunk. He told us about himself, his sketching style, his family, and New Orleans. He had ripped a page out of a cover-less book and begun sketching prevalent eyebrows and afros. We picked his brain on life, art, and race relations (he had after-all thought it was appropriate to let us know he was black). I would say one of the coolest moments of the trip was when we departed. We paid and thanked him for the sketch, and before leaving he let us know how important family was to him. Among other things he emphasized taking care of any future children, and the importance of life - coming from an artist working the streets of New Orleans. He could have told us anything, or nothing, but what he said really opened my eyes to another perspective that I've not experienced.
We visited an art fair in the streets, and bought poems from typewriting hustlers in the french quarter. The oysters were fresh and the beignets were hot! (Cafe Du Monde was as raved about). This whole drunken street party continued a few more days until we couldn't handle any more and we took flight for home. This was a great getaway to blow off steam, and now Cady and I are looking forward to Portland, OR in a week and a half. Stay tuned, it's gonna get weird.