There aren’t many things much better, in my opinion, than spending a spring-like day in the French Quarter, especially when it’s all dressed up for Mardi Gras. It’s fun to go with a friend or two, but I have absolutely no qualms about walking around New Orleans by myself. Maybe I’m a little selfish, but going solo allows me to do exactly what I want, and I get some “me time,” which I have discovered is a necessity.
I hadn’t planned to go today. I should have been vacuuming, doing laundry, something productive, but I didn’t have to be anywhere until 6:00, and as the weather was perfect, I made a game-time decision to cross the bridge. I came up with several, seemingly valid, reasons for the trip. With the bone chilling weather we had been experiencing, I hadn’t been to New Orleans since before Christmas, and while I enjoy life on the Northshore, I was in need of a city fix. I also “needed” some new photos for work and possibly for my website. I even told myself I should really scout things out before next weekend’s Mardi Gras fun, which, of course, was completely untrue. But I know that the real reason I made the drive today was because of my mom.
Mom didn’t spend a lot of time in New Orleans, but every time she came to Mandeville for a visit, we would take her for an outing in the city. She always seemed to enjoy walking around and checking out the sights. (And she never failed to ask for an explanation of most every item on most every menu.) 🙂 She always brought her little camera with her, as she shared my love of taking photographs. She was a master at staring through the viewfinder for a few seconds, determining that she didn’t have a great shot, and moving on to an ever so slightly different vantage point. And she did this over and over and over again. Maybe it stemmed from all those years she spent paying for film and processing, and she hadn’t quite gotten accustomed to the digital format where even bad shots were free. Maybe she just wanted to have a camera filled with only good images. Whatever it was, I inherited a little of it, and I catch myself doing it from time to time. Brett still calls me Jenna when he sees me check out a scene through my camera lens and decide it’s not worthy of the millisecond it takes to delete the image if it’s no good. And I smile to myself when I’m alone and catch myself doing it because I feel like a weird little part of her is there.
Today would have been Mom’s 71st birthday, and my New Orleans excursion was my simple way of celebrating her life. I only stayed a couple of hours. I took some photos that I was pleased with, but from time to time, I just looked into my viewfinder, smiled for a few seconds, and moved on to another location. And while I went “solo,” I certainly didn’t feel like I was alone.