10 year high school reunion at Mardi Gras 2007 – Laissez les bons temps rouler encore a Nouvelle Orleans!

Only 3 months behind on my blogging…

What a crazy, crazy week.  Wish i could share more, but not really.  You’ll just have to trust me on this one =)

high school reunion photos

pass christian parade, aka Kinski’s photos

Mardi Gras Day photos – all work safe  =)

High School Reunion

OLA Class of 1996

OLA Class of 1996

I took a red-eye out Thursday night to be there, ready to go, to kick-off the reunion tour of Our Lady Academy.  The school had grown quite large after we graduated, but thanks to Katrina, well, um, yeah.  I think the most touching moment was hearing the story how they combined both SSC (the boys’ high school across the street) and OLA just for that year after katrina.  They had all the kids in a large auditorium somewhere, and they asked how many of them had lost everything.  almost 80% of hands went up of 100 or so kids.  Life always goes on.  life always goes on.  always.

We had a pre-party Friday night at a parent’s house.  It was so great to see people not only after 11 years, but after something like Katrina, just knowing everyone was okay.  And, the stories, my god.  We all wholeheartedly thank god we had just missed the Internet; otherwise, omg the stuff we did could be archived for all time.  Although i wish i could recall how i dressed up as a California Raisin doing the "walk like an Egyptian" dance.  Apparently it was funny.

Saturday was the reunion.  We had the restaurant reserved from 3-6pm, but we stayed until 1:30am, going through 3 bands.  To my surprise, i found someone there i could actually explain what i do at work.  Our congressman was there having dinner.  His daughter and i used to sail together.  anyways, i was saying hi asking how Sarah (w/ the ‘h’) was doing, and i realized in mid-sentence, "you know what intellectual property is!!"  And of course he nodded his head, and i said, "I do open source at Microsoft.  I do open source at Microsoft," in this "you can appreciate what i do…"  I did a little dance (pre mardi gras parade warm up routine) in my excitement.  We all just laughed.

Karleen and I went to the Waffle House to debrief about the events of the past 24 hours.  She then gave me the greatest gift i’ve ever been given with this story:

Karleen:  "Yeah, i was in the bathroom when Jill <made up name> asked me how much you made.  So, i said, ‘you know sara, how she is about that stuff, how humble she is and how embarrass she gets.  she doesn’t want anyone to know.’"

Jill:   "Is it 100,000 thousand dollars?"

Karleen:  "Oh please" waving her hand across her face.

Jill:  "Is it 200,000 thousand dollars?"

Karleen:  "Oh please" waving her hand across her face in disgust. 

Jill:  "OMG, how much does she make?!"

Karleen:  "Sara would kill me for telling, but it is around 4"

I about had an asthma attack from laughter in the waffle house.  I should note that i’ve never told Karleen what my salary is, but it isn’t 400k.  As a thank you (additionally, karleen was my personal handler for the trip – i really like to party), i sent her and her family one of the "boats" from Made in Washington, to experience a typical meal on a 400k salary – not like i would know or have any idea, but it was a good guess.  And they *loved* the boat it came in.  =)

Then the band from the reunion had the same Waffle House idea that we had, and joined us at our table.  We went to high school with one of the guys, and the other was a local cop.  It doesn’t take long for a conversation to quickly turn into sharing Katrina stories.  The cop told us how he accompanied a SWAT team into the court house right after Katrina hit.  They didn’t who or what they would find going through records, court cases, etc.  It was incredible.

Pass Christian Parade

Just a quick Mardi Gras 101:  There is no universal theme for Mardi Gras.  And actually, Mardi Gras starts Jan 14 until Tuesday at midnight, just before Lent begins in the catholic church.  The parties just get more and more intense as Mardi Gras week approaches, as more parades roll.  Each parade is run by an organization, so you pay to be a member of that org.  For example, Kinski is the organization that runs the pass christian parade, but we would just call it Kinski’s.  The organization decides what the theme will be.  So, Kinski came up with "an international affair."  Then within the org, you’re broken out into krewes (just like crews), that map to a float.  Each krewe or float comes up with their own theme that relates to the overall theme.  My relatives’ krewe theme was "The Bay of Pigs."

Then came the local Pass Christian Parade.  I was starting to hurt from the non-stop action, but I was managing.  And it was COLD.  Like 40 degrees cold right along the beach.  But alas, it was good times.  An aunt and uncle are long time members of the parade, so they dressed up as pigs for their "Bay of Pigs" theme. 

It was just a great time.  In outlook at work, i had blocked out my vacation time with the Mardi Gras Mambo as the subject "Down in New Orleans where the blues were born, it takes a cool cat to blow a horn…"  And to my delight, there came a float blasting out the Mardi Gras Mambo.  I was in heaven. 

Mardi Gras Day

After hanging out with cousins i haven’t seen in years until 4:30am (anyone keeping track of my lack of sleep), I’m up, again, at 7:30am in my old bedroom.   I run on solar batteries, so I’m up whenever the sun is up.  It’s Lundi Gras (Fat Monday), and i’m taking the day off.  I hang out with my mom going to the local shops and such, trying to support what i can of the local area merchants.

Then comes Mardi Gras day… the crew of family members get together at 6am to head into the city.  we wanted good parking.  and yes, my family represented their Krewe by wearing their pig outfits.

It was incredible.  It was about as crowded as Christmas or Turkey day, no where near as crowded as Mardi Gras, but it was 90% locals.  A local will always dress up for Mardi gras.  it is like Halloween on steroids for us.  Very few people were in typical tourist attire.

My favorite moment was calling a coworker Dylan back in Redmond to logon to the Bourbon Cam, and take a pic of me.  I wonder if he went deaf from our screams.  It was 9am on Mardi Gras Day, but by 4pm, you couldn’t find a square inch of street available to stand on. 

We got home around 5pm, and i was out cold by 8pm.  I was partied out.  done.  no more.  Flew back home on Wednesday, as Mardi Gras 2007 and my 10 year high school reunion was officially over.

Anyways, that’s my report from New Orleans, 3 months late.  As i said in a previous post, life always goes on.  always.  Thanks for allowing me to share with you.

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