From the Big Easy to the Emerald Coast

So I was pretty much out for four whole days, travelling to New Orleans and Northwest Florida. It was a really good weekend, given the beauty of St. Louis Cathedral and the gorgeous view from my hotel room and the epic awesomeness that was the Bad Blood music video by Taylor Swift.

The first stop on our road trip was New Orleans.

When I first wanted to go to New Orleans, we got lost and ended up in some run-down areas. Then, when we actually got to the city, it was crowded with traffic and a lot of party-goers, including a guy standing barefoot outside of a bar, drinking a beer. They don’t call New Orleans “the big easy” for nothing.

This time, my mom picked a different area for us to go to: Jackson Square. We arrived on a rainy late morning/early afternoon. The city wasn’t as crowded, even though it was a Friday, and I could see the beauty of the city. It’s a unique city, to be sure, and a very noisy one. But unlike New York City, the noise of New Orleans comes from the jazz bands and performance artists playing on the street corners. We ate lunch at a food court in a building called Jackson Brewery.

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My dad and brother, ever the NCIS fanatics, were quick to point out the various streets and landmarks that they saw in NCIS: New Orleans. I always love it when a show films on-location and a city like New Orleans is easily imitated but never duplicated.

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We went inside the Cathedral of St. Louis, the oldest cathedral in North America. There was amazing artwork on the ceiling and all around the church.

 

The only weird part was that I noticed a row of fortune tellers outside of the Cathedral. I guess rain isn’t a deterring factor for them.

After hours of driving, we finally arrived in the town of Crestview, Florida, which was a little outside of Destin and a lot rainier. My first day on the beach was cloudy and my glasses were tinted so darkly that even when the sun came out, I saw the whole beach as if it was dusk or early evening. It was also really windy, so I decided to just sit on the beach and do some light reading.

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I’m about halfway through with it and will write about it once I’ve finished it.

I really wanted to go somewhere other than the beach or shopping. We managed to find a museum, specifically the Air Force Armament Museum, but the place had a strict dress code: no shirt, no shoes, no entry. Given that my family and I were straight from the beach in flip flops and shorts, we wandered around the outside of the museum, which displayed a lot of old airplanes.

Most of the vacation was spent at the beach or hanging out at the hotel. I even got to swim in a pool for the first time in forever. But even out on the beach, my mind was still on Taylor Swift’s Bad Blood and it did not disappoint when it premiered on Sunday night (although Taylor’s outfit for the Billboard Awards kinda did). I was really surprised that the video turned out to be a rap remix, but the video itself was awesome, with references to movies such as The Fifth ElementFight Club, and The Expendables. If I was in the video, my character’s name would be Illyria after one of my favorite characters from Angel.

Not everything in this vacation was perfect, though. For example, my family and I went to Mass at the closest church we could find. The church was nice-looking, but compared to the gorgeous cathedral in New Orleans, it was a few steps down. Then I had to endure a video about diocesan improvement during the homily, which really stinks given it was the feast of the Ascension. But I knew that churches did this kind of thing once in a while. Just when I thought things would be okay, though, the recessional hymn was the ever-dreaded “Go Make a Difference.” It was my first time actually hearing the song and I wanted to throw up in my pew. Even the worst of the Praise and Worship genre would’ve been a God-send compared to this song. And keep in mind I’m the girl who likes “Ashes,” “On Eagle’s Wings,” and “Here I Am Lord.” The worst part, though, was that I couldn’t decide what I wanted to buy from the church’s Lighthouse Catholic Media/Dynamic Catholic kiosk because they had a lot of great CDs and books. I ended up leaving without buying anything. But maybe, given the less-than-stellar Mass, it was better that way.

On my last day, we took pictures at the beach outside of the hotel and had breakfast at Waffle House. Then, we endured a lot of pouring rain on the long road home. We prayed a Rosary to get us through. By the grace of God, we made it home safely.

 

Going on vacation is always fun, but getting home is still my favorite part.

I was inspired enough to write 2 poems.

 

Song of New Orleans

The city is dizzy, filled with twists and turns

Always a party wherever you go.

The streets are alive with the noises of the city,

a mix of trombones and trumpets,

street performers, artists,

and steamboats playing merry old tunes.

The city mixes the old and the new

Its citizens dance along,

in a strange chaotic order.

New Orleans dances to its own strange beat

Making a symphony out of cacophony.

 

Oceans and Pools

Swimming in a pool is always safe

The water is shallow and warm

inviting and easy

clean and nice

but oh so small

The ocean is not the safest place to swim

It’s vast and cold

unpredictable and fierce

Sharks and trash swim in the water

and if you aren’t careful, you’d drown

But oh the pull of the sea

call us out of our pools

We face the waves

and let ourselves get swept in he tide

Tasting the salt on our tongues

that makes us thirst for more

Instead of the sterile scent of bleach,

we are intoxicated by the air of the sea

We keep our eyes on the beauty of the waves

A mix of seafoam and sky

The water mirrors the heavens for a brief moment

as it lays still on the sand

But like our lives, the reflections are washed by the tide

The oceans call us to go deep into their waters

The fear diminishes as we sink in

Immersing ourselves in the ocean of grace

 

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