Dreamy days sustained by salt water, samba, and soul sisters.
It’s that giddy feeling somewhere between extreme gratitude and nervous excitement. You know the one. That’s how I felt, sitting in 34D, getting ready to take off at 6:30 am. As the months turn to years, I have less opportunities to enjoy the company of my favorite people, simultaneously, on this pale blue dot.
For one serendipitous reason after another, a few of the amazing girls I met in grad school, moved to the Big Easy. Naturally, I am always looking for a reason to visit. Three weeks ago, when I received two unrelated phone calls, one from my younger sister, Teresa, and the second one from my friend Garima, letting me know they were going to NOLA in August, I immediately began my frantic search for a decent ticket. This collection of incredible women came together so naturally, I am not sure if we could have planned it better. Two window-seat-rides and twenty-something days later, I was loading my backpack into a veteran minivan packed with lovely lasses. Elation was the sensation that filled the car as we rolled by swampy landscapes, concrete suburbs, and risky advertisements.
Although this is my third trip to Nola, it surely won’t be the last. The city has a charm that I can only describe as Cajun. It’s an eclectic and savory medley of spices that’s difficult to separate. That said, I don’t return for the pralines, beignets, or spiked ice tea. Nor do I go for the hybrid architecture, creole dishes, or soul music. I go for Cristina, Leah, and Cari, the three magical girls that live there. They are all artists at heart but different manifestations of creativity. I met them, and Garima, in grad school. Our acquaintance has been shorter than others but it was love a first chat. There is something about a woman’s 20’s and 30’s. All that growing and changing makes for a more vulnerable person and more intimate interactions. Instead of that painful physical change of adolescence, this era is somewhat of a mental scavenger hunt for identity.
Despite being in Nola, we didn’t wander from one tipsy encounter to another. Although there was a bit of that, we spent our last steamy summer days cooking, eating, and confessing to the soundtrack of Leah’s records or banjo. We did do some more finite things too which I think is best told through a photo montage.
Iced Bailey’s and Cathedral
Cristina Molina’s work at Contemporary Arts Center New Orleans
Kim and Banjo