Monday, October 24, 2016

Wedding Day

New Orleans - Part 2

While it was delightful to have the opportunity to tourist New Orleans a bit - the purpose of our journey was to join the celebrating two great people. Eileen is one of fabulous gifts of UPeace. I loved the learning there - but the people I know because of that place are so much more incredible. She's one of Carly's 'people' (do you know what I mean? Oh how deeply I hope you have your own 'people'. I can't imagine life without mine) and I love that over time I have had the opportunity to get to know her a bit more. She's inspiring, energetic, a dreamer AND a do-er. She's kind, thoughtful, and generous. AND she's a ridiculous amount of fun. It would impossible to image her being smitten with anyone other than an equally great person. It always feels a bit funny to meet someone at their wedding, but - Hugh appears to be all the wonderful that he was rumoured to be. I wish them a lifetime of joyful celebration, surmountable challenges, patience, kindness, and of course deep deep love.

Their wedding day was filled lots with magical moments. Another wonderful Upeacer asked me to take lots of pictures (a task I'm happy to be assigned) ... so I tried. Here are some of my favourites.

Eileen and Hugh got married in Audubon Park under the Tree of Life which was planted in 1740! It's a giant oak - with incredible branches. We arrived to a giant shade tree which was a nice break from the hot sun and a very talented saxophone player while we waited for the wedding party to arrive.


Doesn't it make you want to climb on up? 
Eileen's lovely parents, Ginger and Charlie  
A variety of people did climb up. 
Peddlin' the petals
He was great!  
The groom arriving and greeting his mom

Watching a beautiful bride approach 

A reading by one of Hugh's sisters. 
Another by Eileen's Godmother. 

Both the Dad's spoke - which was lovely. I unfortunately didn't get an in focus photo of Hugh's dad's speech. I love how the ceremony was filled with laughter and great big smiles.





Don't they look smitten? So much happiness! 
The kissin' part of the ceremony really needs to be in series. The sweet 'steamy' moment, followed by Eileen's laughter and trying to remove the bright red lipstick from Hugh's beaming smile. Adorable.




 And the celebration! Time to move onto the party!



The amazing tree! 
From here - we piled onto the school bus to take us to the Napoleon House for the reception. While we waited for those getting pictures taken there was a chance to look around, nosh on tasty things, and people watch the busy street below us.

For some reason - I didn't take many pictures from here on out. Apparently food was too distracting - but I have a couple and the wonderful Ms. Avra has said I could share some of hers that I really loved.
So there are a few versions of this picture - and at least one person look ridiculous in each of them... 
My beautiful date (photo care of Avra)
New Orleans Roomies (photo also care of Avra)

View from the balcony
The venue
I think this is when another wedding was walking by... 
During dinner
The first dance - which kicked off some ridiculously fun dancing
(photo by Avra)
The band that played was awesome. Lots of fun and great energy. Shortly after this I was introduced to what is apparently a bit of a New Orleans tradition, the 2nd line. After a bit of dancing inside, the band lead us out into the street - where the bride and groom lead a parade (carrying parasols) with the guests all following, with handkerchiefs. There is dancing and laughing and celebrating as you weave through the busy streets.

Oh yes, in New Orleans, you parade with your drink 

I tried to take a little video - as there was no other way to capture the event. I loved how random passersby joined in. I don't know that I've ever uploaded a video though... so I don't know if this will work.


video

Towards the end of the night - sweaty and happy (also photo by Avra)
This one is also by Avra
We paraded around until some crazy folks were walking in bare feet rather than their heels (not a place I'd choose to do that in. Hope they're well immunized) and everyone was through and through joyous.

The next morning - lots of people were hurting, but we stopped by for coffee with the newlyweds - and lucked out on a brunch date with Eileen.


I was a smidge too late. Moments before Charlie's hat was pulled down tight
into what looked like a most uncomfortable nap. 
Poor fella, needed a bit of lie-down while we waited for brunch.
I promise the car was stationary - or we would have moved him. 
After brunch we did a bit of a wander through Crescent Park (I think that's what it was called) over the rusty rainbow.
Apparently when they put in the new park - they didn't really take out the old pier. 
There were pillars all throughout with different messages, peace, equity, family... 
The butt view climbing the rainbow
I'm sure you can guess why it's called the rusty rainbow. 
Captain Eileen and her brunching crew!  

All 'round a wonderful celebration. I feel fortunate that we were able to go - and look forward to many more moments of celebration throughout the years with these awesome folks.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Swamp time

My best beloved and I recently returned from an all too short visit to New Orleans. We went to join in the celebrating of two awesome people gettin' hitched, but that's a different entry. I promise.

Eileen (the beautiful - at this point - bride to be) hooked us up with some of her other friends who were scheduled to go on a 'Wild Louisiana' tour. My gut feeling to getting into a kayak and going on an adventure to look for alligators wasn't exactly a 'yes lets!' but my curiousity won out over my hesitancy regarding water and large creatures - and I am so glad we went. It was a wonderful way to meet some of Eileen's friends (she seems to collect awesome people) and see a habitat so completely different from the one we live in.

Poor Carly kind of got the short end of the stick... I wasn't a very good paddler - there were too many things to see - and try to take pictures of. Good thing she loves me so much. :)

Anyway - I took a tonne of pictures - and I still find them exciting so I thought I'd share.

The paddlin' team
Our kind of quirky guide. Things that make guiding challenging? Hearing loss...
but he will full of interesting tidbits and stories. 

Apparently this type cedar doesn't ever rot - even in water. Which also means it got very over
harvested - aren't people just great... 


This stuff is called Spanish Beard. It's on most of the trees and it looks a lot like hair. That said, we were told that people often use it for hair in costumes and then get to meet the insects that live in it, which act like chiggers. Maybe not such a good plan. 
Saw Grass - apparently quite brutal to have to walk through - but pretty to look at.







Coolest root system!  

Cones! 

We saw some wildlife. The hope was to see an alligator - alas, we only saw smaller creatures.




Unfortunately Carly blinked, but the dragonfly was pretty cool! 

Apparently these spiders 'swim' and latch on to fish and other water creatures. 
There was this moment where it felt like everyone could see what my eyes couldn't. I looked and looked. There was a space - which I could see. There was a dark patch - that's all I could see. I took a picture, in hope that perhaps with a bit of zoom - I could see what others could... and ah ha! An OWL!
I think it might actually be two... but without being able to change the angle, it is hard to know for sure. 
It was a great first adventure day. Sunny, warm, and great company.