I’ve been in New Orleans for a good 18 months now, and I’m beginning to worry that I’ve lost my tolerance for cold weather. I know this arctic blast is unusual for a usually subtropical New Orleans. But why wasn’t I prepared? My Jersey genes –– the ones trained to embrace freezing temperatures –– failed miserably this time around. I guess I’ll take the hot, sticky humidity any day over the icy cold.
Fortunately I stayed busy during the deep freeze, with work and other opportunities to flit around the city. On Thursday I attended a bridal show at Pat O’s on the River. The show drew a strong turnout despite the weather. Attendees were rewarded with some sinfully good wedding cake for braving the cold, the kind of cake that makes you want to divorce and remarry just to have another six-tier cake all over again.
There were almost 200 brides-to-be with entourages in tow. And each bride took it seriously. While I walked from table to table, stuffing my face with –– you guessed it! –– wedding cake, other ladies were interviewing vendors and scoping out tables strategically. They meant business. And that’s what the wedding industry seems to amount to here: big business.
As I’m sure many of you know, there are countless ways to put on an enchanting wedding in New Orleans. Weddings are a huge deal here, and why shouldn’t they be? Everyone deserves a spectacular wedding, and New Orleans offers some spectacular venues: Audubon Park, Jackson Square, just about anywhere else in the French Quarter.
On Friday my husband and I went to the Hornets game, which helped me renew my commitment to local sports teams not named the Saints. A friend gave us some amazing seats just a few rows up from the court. But we went in with rather low expectations, figuring the arena would be largely empty, as the Hornets were playing the New Jersey Nets … better known as a traveling circus team and more officially known as the team with the worst record in the NBA.
Much to our surprise, the arena filled up quickly with energetic fans who apparently enjoy doing the chicken dance during timeouts. We were also pleasantly surprised by the presence of Drew Brees, who at one point tossed an autographed football into the stands. A few other Saints players were there, too, including Pierre Thomas and Usama Young. Hip-hop artist Ludacris took in the game with his posse. Luckily for Hornets fans, the game turned out to be a real nail-biter, ending with a last-second CP3 score. And no, I didn’t care one bit that the Nets disgraced the state of New Jersey yet again.
Come Saturday, my husband and I braved the cold once again, setting out on a journey to the netherworld: Lakeside Shopping Mall. My husband had to return Christmas gifts, and I tagged along to people-watch.
The weekend came to a close with a trip to Rouses and the purchase of our first King Cake of the season. Mulling over various fillings for a while, we eventually settled on cinnamon. By Sunday evening, the entire cake was gone … down to every last gold, purple and green sugar speck.
I guess this is proof that the annual age of decadence is upon us. I say bring it on. Last year we bought probably five or six King Cakes during Carnival season, and I suspect we may surpass that record this year. And every last sugar speck will be well worth it –– until we hit the scales on Ash Wednesday. We’re down for just about anything this Carnival season, especially with the worst of the cold spell behind us. Or so we hope…
Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler!