Tag Archives: Lower Ninth Ward

Getting Lucky in N’awlins

The grinding groan of the landing gear signaled our descent into the New Orleans Airport. It also woke my sleeping husband long enough for him interrogate me.

“Are you still planning to meet that Internet stranger while we’re here?”

“She’s not a stranger,” I said. “She’s The Lucky Mom.” I paused. “The person who won the bracelet giveaway on my blog?”

My husband stared at me without the tiniest spark of recognition. “When they find you dead in an attic, I will come and identify your parts.”

On the day Lisha and I agreed to meet, New Orleans experienced a cold front. It was like my husband and I had packed Arctic air in our suitcases. As I pulled one turtleneck sweater over another turtle neck sweater, I wished I’d brought mittens. I pulled on the coat my husband had teased me for packing and took the elevator down to the lobby to wait.

Lisha told me she’d be driving her husband’s green Prius, and I think I jumped into her car before she actually came to a full stop. Once inside, we squeeeeeeed and hugged like old friends.

{Or like people who have never actually spoken but only communicated via comments’ boxes on blogs and Facebook pages.}

“Hi Lisha!” I said, all confident.

And that is when I learned I had been pronouncing Lisha’s name wrong in my head for months.

It isn’t Lisha. {Like I just caught a FISH-a. Or I just broke a DISH-a.}

It’s Leeee-sha. {Like I have to PEE-sha.}

I made the necessary mental adjustment.

“I’ve gotta get a hat,” I told Leeeeeeeeesha. “It’s freezing outside!”

“Let’s go down to the Market,” Lisha said in her awesome raspy, super sexy Southern drawl.

I hadn’t been to the French Market in a decade, but some things never change. If a person wants two Saints tee shirts for $15, that’s still the place to go. You can find hand-painted scarves and voodoo dolls and magnets, feather boas and feather masks, and anything with a fleur-de-lis.

I just needed a hat.

As we walked and talked, I realized I was creating a blog post in my head.

So here are 5 Things To Make Sure of Before You Meet a Blogger In Real Life based solely on my day with Lisha.

1) Make Sure To Dress Alike. On the day we met, both Lisha and I wore orange coats. It’s not like Lisha called to say: “I’m going to wear orange. Do you have anything orange?” It just happened. If you took a poll, I’m guessing one in fifty people might have an orange coat, but he would probably be in jail. That said, it was cool and we look excellent in our photos since we are color coordinated.

2) Make sure one of you knows where you are going. When I lived in New Orleans, I always got lost. This is because I was born without any internal GPS system. Meanwhile, Lisha was born with a Garmin implant or something. We went all over the place and she never got lost.

Lisha brought me to the Lower 9th ward where things are still in pretty bad shape, but she didn’t complain when I got a little trespasser-ishy.

3) Make sure the blogger is Southern. I forced Lisha to go with me to look for a hat. And a voodoo doll. And a bunch of other stuff. Lisha was brimming with Southern hospitality, so she probably would have let me shop all day, but our hands were freezing. And because Lisha is from the South, she was beyond generous. She paid for our parking, our lunch, and all the gas we used driving around the city. I’m not sure I said thank you enough. {Thank you, Lee}.

4) Make sure the blogger is sassy. Some dude followed us to the River where we planned to sit and chat for a while. He tried to get us to fall for one of the oldest gags in the New Orleans book of tricks. He asked: “You wanna bet $5 I kin tell where you got yo shoes at?” Lisha looked the man right in the eye and politely said, “I’m from here.” She wasn’t rude or anything. She allowed the man his dignity. But she set her boundary. And seriously, that is the oldest trick in the book. See the * if you don’t know the answer.

5) Make sure the blogger will give 100% of herself to you. If our interaction was representative of the kind of person Lisha is in real life, I can tell you she is a patient, devoted friend. We bloggers tend to be plugged-in sorts. But for five hours, we ignored the cell phone bings and pings and push notifications to enjoy the other person’s company: To listen. To laugh. To look into each other’s eyes.

The more I listened to Lisha, I realized she’s got it backwards. Sure, her blog may be called The Lucky Mom, but really, the people who have her in their lives are the lucky ones. This is the woman who lights up when she talks about her husband and her three sons; the woman who served as a full-time caregiver to her mother for years until she passed away; the woman who is planning to have her eightysomething-year-old mother-in-law move in right after Mardi Gras. How many people open their arms that wide? And that often?

Lisha was apologetic about having to leave me on a corner four blocks from my hotel. I’m sure she felt she was being rude, but she had to leave me there because it is Mardi Gras season: a parade was a-comin’, and there was no way to cross the route. After having lived in New Orleans for many years, I promised her I knew the drill. We pressed our faces close to each other and hugged goodbye.

We took this picture ourselves. Can you tell?

As I made my way back to the hotel, stopping to catch flying beads, plastic cups and doubloons, I felt like I’d gotten lucky.

Not only had I not been chopped up into tiny pieces like my husband had predicted, but I think that — quite possibly — I had the best blind date. Ever.

I met a wonderful blogger {and person} — in real life in my favorite city in the world.

Oh, and I found that hat.

Click HERE to read Lisha’s account of our meeting.

Color-coordinated. With hat.

If you could pick a blogger to spend 5 hours with, who would you want to meet?

* “Yo shoes are on yo feet. That’ll be $5.”

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