The Last Trip, Part II

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.

Perhaps there is a positive construction to put on it: Fair Warning

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.
New Orleans is part of the United States at this time

We took these photos in early April when the Cherry Blossoms were in full bloom
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.”
I am not sure that the dress looks its best in these photos

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.
We re-took the photos a few weeks ago; note the length of my hair

Note horizontal band of pale grey across the neckline
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.
Note another grey horizontal band at the waist and a vertical band just visible on the left side of this image

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!
Take it all in: three patterns; for some reason, this makes me think of Picasso’s Three Musicians

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.

21 thoughts on “The Last Trip, Part II”

    • This is an important perspective. A bit on the bone-chilling for my taste, but since my bones are chilled anyway by this administration, I am glad I read it. I have been scanning the news through this article’s lens. I see a couple positive signs of dissent, but not many.

  1. I love this outfit. It reminds me of living in New Zealand in the 90s. My friends were the avant garde masters of wearing dresses with pants, before it was a thing elsewhere. You’ve channeled that spirit well. And the dress texture and details are lovely.

    I miss New Orleans. And indeed, it is a different “nation,” culture, and spirit than the rest of the US. And that’s a good thing.

  2. Very becoming dress. I am a fan of dresses worn over pants. Powdered sugar will make trouble under the best of situations and what an opportunity you presented.

  3. I love that outfit – the dress is really charming and interesting and wearing it over pants makes it really sing.

    And one never spills powdered sugar when wearing white!

  4. I like a dress over a pant. It makes me feel tall. This is a laughable illusion, but I’m sticking with it. In reality, rounded up, I’m five-two. In my mind, I’m a leggy ectomorph. I like it there.

  5. Coincidentally, my last trip in the Before Times was also to New Orleans. We mistakenly arrived on Mardi Gras, thinking we had booked a week AFTER that date, and my outfit was slightly earthier/muted tones of the classic green, yellow, and purple. We stayed on the outskirts of the street parties, but the atmosphere of that city is incredible.

    The highlight of the trip was a tour with All Bout Dat tours – a black-owned company. The woman owner / tour guide has a phenomenal breadth of knowledge of the city’s history and heritage. The jazz scene was incredible as well, I hope you had some time to take it in!

  6. Directrice – I adore this outfit. I wish you had run into our old landlord, Mr. de la Houssaye, so you could tell him how far we’ve come since we shared a two-bedroom apartment where you graciously agreed to live in the bedroom that was really not big enough to be called a bedroom. As this was right after college, when we were starting out in the work world, I like to think this is where the seeds of the Directrice were first planted…

  7. Having recently shared with me an update about a certain Tall Blond God from Santa Fe (with whom I went to high school and who was at the same college you and I attended), you might also remember a wintery evening when visited me and didn’t have a coat warm enough to wear on his walk home. I loaned him one, and you warned him not to belt it lest it look he look as if he were wearing a dress over pants. This is a *very* odd and oddly specific memory, and perhaps I should not blurt it out here, but I’m too amused and nostalgic to stop myself. The real point: you were right about dress-over-pants then, and you are right about it now. Also, Sarah Cooper YES! The “reaction shots” she inserts kill me.

    • Clearly I was too unsophisticated at the time to realize Dress Over Pants was the perfect thing to wear . . . but he would not have agreed. I certainly was bossy. I think you, Marie, need to get rolling on Tik Tok. Have you realized that Tik Tok was foreseen by 30 Rock — Making It Happen?

  8. Adding my voice to the last two – miss your lovely, smart, irreverent posts. Hope your journey brings you back to us, your loyal readers, but mostly, hope you, the photographer, and the kitties are well and weathering the storm.

  9. Dear Directrice and Photographer and cats, and Fatima too! I’m hoping you are all well. Sending best wishes, from me in Australia.

  10. D, your following misses you. I miss you. If some life upheaval or personal epiphany or just 2020 has happened to cause this blogging hiatus, I totally understand. But I’m humbly begging you: please don’t sink this blog without a trace, even if you have to suspend it awhile! (Pardon my projection onto you, but for me self expression is the first thing to shut down when I’ve suffered a deep hurt or loss.) Clearly, I am not the only one who is thinking about you, wondering where you’ve gone, and wishing you well.

    • Christine — I just wanted to reach out and thank you for your perceptive and timely message. Of the many, many funny comments posted on this blog over the years, I laugh most frequently over one of yours, when you said you’d thought of this blog when layering one cheap dress over another while getting dressed for work one morning. It was music to my ears. The Photographer and I are doing OK; we’re working at home almost as seamlessly as we were working before. But some days I think about how much we’ve collectively (all of us) lost in the last 3.5 years, how much we will lose as a result of coronavirus, and how much is at stake in the upcoming election — and I feel deeply fatigued. And not the least creative (to the extent that my wardrobe musings can be called a creative effort). But I have to get up, do a few jumping jacks, and carry on! Thank you for reaching out. May you, your family, and the entire Directorate, come through this together. The Directrice


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