As a family, we've always gathered around food. There have always been the holidays where we have dinner, but that's just what you do. And for the last 20 years or so it has just been the Houston crew. It has been too difficult to get the New Orleans bunch together as our lives have taken us all in different directions.
So last weekend, we did just that. It was a trip we had been talking about taking, but never could get the momentum going. The timing was never right or schedules would never allow. But we all knew there was one thing keeping us from making the trip. It was a request from the last member of older generation in the family and we knew we had to honor it. It wasn't that he didn't want to see us, he didn't want us to see him. That sounds worse than it actually is, or was in this case. My great-uncle, Emmett, had been in the throes of illness and it was his wish that we not see him for fear that we would remember him in his weakened state. The reality is that we will always remember him as loving, kind, funny Uncle Emmett we knew growing up. The Uncle Emmett who used to pull quarters from my ears when I was a child. The time had finally come to make the trip to visit our family. We needed to pay our respects.
First there was pizza, the best way to satisfy the hunger cravings of a road-weary group of travelers. Magazine Pizza did the trick. Of course we went to the old standby of cheese pizza, but also indulged our cravings with the Margherita pizza and the Mediterranean pizza. We stood around and ate our pizza and learned about what everyone has been up to since we last saw everyone.
The next day, after several pots of coffee, we made it over to the New Orleans Aquarium as another tribute to our family's fallen. Emmett and his wife Louise had helped raise money for the aquarium and Louise had even volunteered there when she was able. On the way to the aquarium, we stopped for lunch, and considering we were in New Orleans, it had to somewhere authentic. We arrived the Creole House and had our fill of gumbo, poboys, local brews, and of course oysters. With full stomachs, we were ready to head over to the aquarium. It was a treat to watch all of our kids react to the fish and make memories just as we had with our cousins growing up.
Sunday morning we hit the road, but not without making one last stop. We couldn't leave New Orleans without a proper breakfast. We stopped off at Morning Call for beignets, cafe au laits, and some live music. My youngest couldn't get enough of the street performer just a stones throw away from us. After we had our fill and let the kids run around City Park, it was time to head west.
|The house number on the front porch|
So we all loaded up and drove east. So we could all be together and have room to visit, we found a double shotgun house in the Garden District. We had all of the New Orleans family and celebrated the best way we know how. We ate.
|Creole House Restaurant and Oyster Bar|
After a rest back at the house, it was time for all of us to gather in a room and have a meal together. After, it's the best way we know to honor our relatives who have gone to soon before us. We reserved the private room at Pascal's Manale and shared stories and memories of Emmett. As we talked, the food and drink came and went until it was time to be on our way. We all gathered just a little longer at the house to wind down and catch up just a little more, until soon it was time to say our goodbyes.
|Me and the little one taking in New Orleans|