Big Love for the Big Easy

I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve sat down to type this, stared at the screen for what seemed like an eternity, only to get up and walk away.  Ahh, where to begin, where to begin..

For starters, a big congratulations to the Naked Girls for two amazing, unforgettable years!!  From the laughter to the tears – what a ride it’s been!  I’m grateful for every moment of it.  From the time we opened doors for this event, we were serenaded by the beautiful sound of live French Quarter jazz from the Fat Babies.  Once most of the audience arrived, the Naked Girls were surprised with a slide show.  A look back through the two magical, naked years with photos by PEZ.

We had, honoring the New Orlean’s annual tradition, the Streetcar Named Desire “STELLA!” yelling contest shouted at the Chicago Starlet’s very own, Stella LaRoque.  And, of course, what kind of celebration would it be without cake, right?  The cake was delicious and our cake topper was…well…brilliant!

Now here’s where it gets tough.  How do I even begin to talk about a place that has the power to stir up, literally, every emotion in me all at once?  New Orleans is a magical place to me.  I truly expect to see unicorns prancing down the street as I walk along it.  Yes, it’s that magical.  I want to sink my claws into its heart and never let go.  A little bit of the essence that I call magic is described pretty well in this passage by Reid Mitchell from All on a Mardi Gras Day:

I see in Mardi Gras much what I hear in a really good jazz band: a model for the just society, the joyous community, the heavenly city.  I see a recurring ritual devoted to spontaneity, a festival in which collective display is impossible without individual creativity, a form in which innovation is grounded in tradition.  In short, a model for community where individual expression is the basis for creativity, and, despite considerable evidence to the contrary, I trust I will find in my home town the creativity and good humor that will allow the best to endure, even if it must endure side by side with the troubles that should be long gone and human failings that will last until Gabriel’s horn.  Few people in New Orleans look for the millennium, but when the millennium comes, it will look a lot like New Orleans.

I’m heading down to the Crescent City in a few months and I’m already counting down the days.  I plan on lounging naked in the balmy air with a book in one hand, a Sazerac in the other, lulling myself into the land of dreamy dreams.  Who knows  – maybe this time I will sink my claws in too deep…

~Greta Layne

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~ by Greta Layne on March 12, 2011.

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