My family in Louisiana had been clamoring to meet the newest addition–and after the glow of California wore off, Kenny and I decided we were ready to try an extended road trip. We spent the night in Houston to break up the journey, but all of our feeding and diaper change detours still stretched out the second leg of the drive to almost seven hours. When your detour takes you to a combination casino/gas station/t-shirt outlet/drive-through daiquiri bar, however, you remember that everything happens for a reason, and that reason is fruity alcohol by the gallon:
We stayed with my beloved Granny across Lake Ponchartrain from New Orleans, in sweet, sleepy Covington. And herein lies the takeaway from this trip: the cobblestone streets of the Quarter are indeed navigable by stroller. Even an infant can appreciate the National WWII Museum if he’s perched in his carrier pack. And if you time it right, your baby will nap from the first bite of appetizer to the last lick of dessert (white linens! Candlelight! Thank you, Dick & Jenny’s!) without interruption. More memorable than any tourist attraction, however, was watching Simon spend time with a woman who loves historical fiction as much as I do.
My Granny has 14 grandchildren and, at last count, 13 great-grandchildren–but, as only grandmothers can, she celebrates every birthday with a handwritten card and makes us feel like we are indeed unique and perfect snowflakes. It’s her superpower. Elizabeth Haase Brown is also a consummate story teller, and I cherished the quiet of nap time so I could listen to her describe the early days of family-owned Haase’s, the rigors of majoring in English at Tulane, and her pen pal exchanges with the Catholic missionaries that dot our family tree. At eighty-six, she can wield an iPad better than I can, reads the Times-Picayune from beginning to end, and classifies the martini as its own food group. I keep all of her letters and read her emails twice. Lucky me. Lucky Simon.