[what the witch doctor ordered]

This past weekend I drove to New Orleans for a dear friend's wedding.

I have to admit: the trip did not start well.

Friday morning I woke up to pouring rain. Then I heard about the shootout/subsequent manhunt in Boston and I knew I had to watch the news, at least for a few minutes. A few minutes turned into 45 and I was officially running late. Once I was finally on the road, the gas station pumps (all 3 that I tried before an attendant emerged to help me) refused to read my perfectly good debit card. Apparently, every time it rains the pumps pick one unlucky soul and refuse to take their card. After finally getting some gas in the car I discovered that one of the roads I needed to take was closed due to a downed tree.  Not such a great start to my first solo road trip.

Once I was on the road though everything went smoothly. Sure it rained the entire way into New Orleans but the traffic was light, there were no cops out, and I didn't get lost once. I checked into the bed & breakfast and went in search of a dress. I had brought a dress with me but it didn't seem to fit the mood of the wedding so I went looking for something else. I came home empty handed. Well that's not entirely true; I did stop for a smoothie.

The next morning I was up bright & early to enjoy the breakfast part of the bed & breakfast. Word of advice: if you're ever in New Orleans, stay at the Terrell House. And if you stay there, eat the breakfast. It was amazing and totally worth waking up for. After a delicious home-cooked breakfast I set out to enjoy the day pre-wedding.

I started the day in Jackson Square, then poked into St Louis Cathedral, wandered through the art merchants, and watched a few street performers. After the performers finished their show I hopped a double-decker bus to take a tour of the city. Once the tour was over it was time for lunch. I chose a table at the French Market, ordered a daiquiri and some gumbo, and sat back to people watch and listen to the jazz band playing in the market area. For the sheer joy of it, I took my daiquiri to go when. Although I knew that there were no open container laws in New Orleans I was still convinced that I was going to get in trouble at any second. I kept looking around to make sure I wasn't the only one with an open container of alcohol on the streets. While strolling I decided to pick up some pralines for Mom. Each praline shop claimed to have the original praline recipe or the best praline recipe. So I decided to put them all to the test; I wandered in and out of praline shops, sampling their wears. Once I was finally satisfied, I made my purchases from Aunt Sally's and headed back to the B&B to relax and get cleaned up pre-wedding.

The wedding was amazing. Absolutely, unbelievably amazing. For starters, the Terrell House courtyard is just gorgeous. Wire lanterns hung from trees, the fountain dripped with white flowers, and candles flickered softly from tables and lanterns. In the middle of this beautiful Garden District setting was an even more beautiful wedding. The wedding was small; maybe only 35 people including the wedding party. There's something so magical about a wedding so small. I felt so honored to be invited at all. Both the bride and the groom emphasized that they had only invited people they truly valued, which made the event that much more special as a guest. The majority of us were staying at the B&B as well, which leant the air of a family gathering to the whole event. It very clearly meant a great deal to the couple that we were there. I got to know some of the other wedding guests and loved everyone else I met.

Finally Sunday morning rolled around and it was time for a final breakfast. I got to say goodbye to the bride and some of my new friends before setting out on the road. The drive back was nice & easy, especially since there was no rain and minimal wind (podcasts help a lot when driving long distances alone).

All in all it was the perfect weekend away from home. I had forgotten how great travelling alone can be (I know I'm weird--I prefer to travel by myself).  Not only did I get a chance to explore and have some me time, I got the honor of sharing in a wonderful wedding.

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