It’s been an extraordinary 10 days. A moment and a movement that I hope we will look back on in a few years as a watershed.
In keeping with the general tenor of this lighthearted blog, I am not going to soapbox. (I’ll hold that until we’re a little closer to November.) But I did want to share two of the more moving things I’ve read and listened to in the last week: this opinion piece about the meaning of protest by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and this essay by Dawn Turner about empathy.
Back to business! We were talking about New Orleans.
Upon arriving in the new New Orleans airport (MSY) — which only recently opened — I heard a brass band playing. What do you think greeted me as I rode an escalator down to the exits for ground transportation? When the Saints Go Marching In. I took that as a positive sign.
But then I got in taxi and saw this notice — advising me that if I were to kill a taxicab driver, that I would in turn be killed by the State.
That seemed kind of heavy to me.
One of the most interesting things I observed while in New Orleans is that residents occasionally referred to “the United States” as though they were talking about a country separate and apart from the city of New Orleans. I asked about this and was told that the city’s heritage as a Spanish territory and then as part of the French Empire, which was then sold to the United States, had given New Orleans a sense of identity completely its own. And that the city’s participation in something larger was . . . . subject to change.
Interesting, I thought,but it’s been more than 200 years.
Shortly after arriving at my hotel, I asked the front desk clerk for a map and directions that would take me to Magazine Street. He told me that he didn’t know where that was.
I stared at him in disbelief because Magazine Street is sort of the Fifth Avenue of New Orleans. You can’t live there and not know it. Also, it was two blocks from the hotel.
I did not ask him for restaurant recommendations. Instead, I asked a friendly bellhop — a fount of excellent advice — who began by inquiring whether I was looking for Creole or Cajun. Correctly reading my blank stare, he explained the difference with economy and elegance. “Creole is about the sauces. Cajun is the game.* And the spice.”
We went for Creole one night and then for modern cuisine the other. After just a few days in New Orleans — no breakfasts — I was very, very full. But that didn’t stop me from buying beignets at the airport on the day of departure.+
Here is what I wore for my board meeting. A printed cotton dress over pants.
I bought this dress for $30 on The RealReal. It’s a little big (Fatima!) but I think it is nevertheless pretty awesome. When I say it’s “printed” — I actually mean “handblocked.”
This beautiful fabric is quite stiff and printed with three different patterns. There are bands of pale grey; a delicate pattern of interlocking hearts in black; and a larger pattern that looks a little like fleur de lis in orange.
All of the edges are raw and the skirt is pleated and very full. My usual DoP silhouette is a sheath style dress, but I thought this full skirt was fun.
I don’t think this outfit looks great in either set of photos (early April photos or late May), which could mean that the outfit simply is not that great. But I love the dress and think it looked better in person than it does in photos. The people of New Orleans like it.
Once the bodice is tightened, it will be perfect. It’s just a little big.
After visiting New Orlean, I found this 2017 speech by Mitch Landrieu, explaining his decision to remove statutes of Confederate leaders from the City’s parks and squares. It’s a wonderful speech; coincidentally, it begins with a quick list of the city’s cultural influences.
If you haven’t been watching Maria DeCotis (offering her interpretation of Andrew Cuomo’s press conferences) or Sarah Cooper (lip-synching Donald Trump), you should check them out.
Creative people will create under almost any circumstances.
Stay safe and well!
Dress: Hache from The RealReal
* By “game” he meant animals. One of the examples he provided — the one that stuck with me — was alligator.
+ I purchased a first class upgrade for this trip — one of those times when doing so cost no more than purchasing extra legroom in coach — thinking that I could board with my suitcase, my work tote, my handbag, the giant mask that I had purchased and had to hand-carry due to its size and fragility,** and the beignets. But the gate agent was very strict and made me consolidate all of my items (put the mask in the suitcase, swallow the suitcase) into two bags. While I crouched to the side of the jetway entrance, trying to do this, my bag of beignets ripped and powdered sugar went everywhere. I was wearing black wool trousers and a black sweater. Such a lady!
** The mask will the be the subject of a future entry.