© 2018 by Brandie Freely

the next best time: NOLA Escapes

 It had been a few quiet months since my encounter with Cortez (refer to “Cali + Vegas”).  So I was due a good time.  I packed up a few things and hopped in my car one weekend.  Solo.  And headed to The Big Easy to see umm… let’s call him Santiago.

I’d been looking forward to the hours alone in my car.  The only concern I brought with me was that I may blow out my speakers and not have music for any portion of the trip, because that would absolutely ruin the sold out concert I was about to headline.  When I left, the sun was still elsewhere in the world. Headed east I would get to see it rise.  How perfect? I pretty much floated down the highway and marveled at the sky’s changing hues.  The farther I drove, the lighter I felt.  It always happens that way. Getaways are essential to life if you ask me.  You wanna survive? You better leave sometimes.  Get the heck outta there when it’s necessary, and sometimes even when it’s not (keeping proactive and preventative).  –that’s just my non expert advice.  

 

Anyway.  

 

I followed the directions all the way from Texas to the front of his place in sweet NOLA, and… after my emotional detox on the way there, I was more than ready to receive that long anticipated embrace.  You think I didn’t need it? You’re crazy.  I melted into it.  Melted into the moment.  Into the memory.

 

Santiago.  A wordsmith.  Conversations made up of lines and stanzas.  Lover of art.  He creates it beautifully.  Literally.  His paintings are distinguished by their colouring.  Bright.  Life like images. Captivating.  He pays close attention to detail, almost over analyzing every single angle.  An artist. Sensitive and introspective.  The attitude of the alchemist.

 

The week leading up to my visit, he’d stressed over our plans.  He wanted me to fall in love with New Orleans.  Ha.  I was just in love with the fact that he was stressing over making sure I enjoyed myself.  

 

So, you’re gonna design a whole weekend... with me in mind? Really?

 

Yeah.  

 

I’m pretty sure the magic of New Orleans and the sequence of events throughout the weekend in general ushered me into a new phase of acceptance.  That my life was going to be forever different no longer felt forced, or like a bad thing.  You know? Somewhere on St. Charles Ave. as we passed alongside the street cars beneath the limbs of age old trees I began to want –even need the change.  

 

It’s like Santiago took my hand (tenderly –it should be noted) and led me into the new.  

 

It was colorful.  Everywhere.  Things of old were now beautiful and respected masterpieces.  The streets were decorated with rich stories of old.  Santiago knew them all and told them to me.  I absorbed every detail with my eyes wide in wonder.  

 

One of our first stops was the soft opening of the Sankofa Market in the 9th Ward.  Santiago is the President of the non-profit’s board, so I stood back and watched him move through the crowd of people and work his charm.  

That in and of itself was one of those moments where I was like, yeah…  Come on change.  I want you. HA! –Simple notes of life’s potential.  That’s all.

 

From there, we headed into the Warehouse District to an art exhibit at the New Orleans Contemporary Arts Center.  Spent time there and then walked across the street to a museum to check out some more conversation starters.  I remember there was this piece that seemed to be painted in reverse layers.  I can’t explain it, but it was literally the very first time I’ve ever analyzed a piece of art with someone in that way.  We were so into figuring it out.  So intrigued by the process and technique of the artist.  It was really, really nice.  –More simple notes of life’s potential.       

 

I was different already.  My ideas were changing.  Becoming more complex in a good way.  And it was still early in the visit.

 

wayment.

-this is long, so let’s do a

“to be continued” here.

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