March 4: Nick and I got on a plane in Seattle, sat a while, then got off another plane in New Orleans, picked up our rental car, and went to my friend Lewis’ place to sleep.
March 5: We joined Lewis and Jeanine in going downtown, as we had accidentally scheduled our trip to coincide with Mardi Gras. Their plan was to bicycle about the city and sample the parades; we didn’t have bikes available, so we split up. When we got to Zulu, I raised my hands, hollered for beads, and got smacked in the face by a whole bag full. I shared them with Nick and then giddily dragged him up Zulu’s route against the flow of the floats, stoping regularly to scream for beads. He got hit in the side of the head with one of their medallions and was worried it drew blood for a bit. By the time we’d caught Rex at fast-forwards, he was utterly exhausted and overloaded with all these new sights and experiences, while I was feeling a place inside me get filled up that I hadn’t realized had been empty half my life.
Over the next few days we drove around New Orleans, checking out neighborhoods, and scoured various rental mapping websites to figure out what area we wanted to live in.
March 8: We started filling in an application for either of two amazing three-bedroom places in Mid-City and realized that, technically, someone in the Seattle postfurry scene from whom we were both Very Estranged was our second-previous landlord. We diffidently contacted her asking her to be chill if our new potential landlords followed up on us truthfully listing her in the list of past landlords. She demanded an apology from Nick, which he wrote at length.
We spent the weekend, in part, worrying about how this was going to go over. She could potentially ruin our chances if they contacted her, y’know? But we got the application finished off, and submitted electronically.
March 11: We went by the realty office to let them know we’d submitted the application, and wanted to make sure it was in the running for both places, not just the one officially assigned to it in their online system. They told us it was, and that they were handing off our application, and those of the four or five other people interested in these two places, off to the property owner that morning; we could expect some news within the hour. We bummed around midtown for a bit with lunch and chilling in City Park, then went back to Lewis’ place in Harahan (where we’d been staying).
Shortly after getting back, the phone rang. We did not get the absolutely dreamy three bedroom shotgun house one block off of Canal but we got the only slightly less amazing (and slightly cheaper) 3br shotgun two blocks off Canal was ours if we wanted it, and could come in to sign the lease today.
Five minutes after that, Nick got mail from the Very Estranged ex-friend going on at great length about the many, many sins that both he and I have committed to her person, her absolute blamelessness in all of our interactions, and how she could not ever say anything nice about us ever. We laughed. All that stress and fear, for naught.
Tomorrow, we run in town to grab the keys, then fly back to Seattle. And start packing or selling all our stuff. I think we may be hanging the beads we caught in a place of honor when we start decorating the new place; they really felt like the city saying HEY WELCOME HOME in its own special way.
It’s far from a perfect city. It’s got its flaws. It’s got its disasters. But I think that after twenty five years away from it, thirteen of which were spent leaning what “winter” is really like, I will be glad to be back home.