Nothing soothes my soul like time spent in south Louisiana, and this past weekend was no exception. Friday morning we made the drive down to Baton Rouge to begin checking off items on our our Louisiana Bucket List. First on the list, devour a Drunken Fish Roll at Drunken Fish sushi. When Jon and I started dating he was a sushi connoisseur while I was more of a burger and fries kind of girl. He took me to eat sushi on our second date and I actually had to spit my roll into my napkin to keep from throwing up. It was mortifying. But Jon assured me that sushi was an acquired taste, and since he was smokin’ hot, I pushed through.
I shortly discovered that sushi wasn’t half bad just as long as it was deep fried. Enter Drunken Fish Roll: a deep fried batch of crawfish heaven, drizzled with honey. Now in the 7 years that I’ve been with Jonathan, I’ve developed a much more sophisticated pallet and actually eat ‘real‘ sushi. Since I hadn’t eaten at Drunken Fish since my sushi infancy, I wondered if I was idealizing the scrumptiousness that is a Drunken Fish Roll. Let me tell you: I was not. Hands down the most delicious thing that I have ever eaten. If you’re ever in Baton Rouge, do yourself a favor and try it, even if you don’t like sushi. Trust me on this one.
After deep-fried sushi, Jonathan dropped me off at my grandparents’ house and he headed down to his hometown of Cut Off, Louisiana. Yes, Cut Off, Louisiana. It’s about an hour south of New Orleans. Yes, an hour south of New Orleans. A common question is “They have land down there?” Not much. It’s commonly referred to as “Da Bayou” and its about as stereotypically Cajun Country as you can get. Think ‘Swamp People’.
While Jonathan enjoyed his time jet-skiing on da bayou with dem gatahs, I enjoyed a much more sophisticated Saturday at the the Baton Rouge St. Patrick’s Day Parade where my BFF April and I caught two bags worth of beads, cups, stuffed animals, and green panties. Yea, maybe sophisticated isn’t the right word. But it was fun and sentimental to participate in an event I’ve enjoyed since childhood.
After the parade we went back to my grandparent’s house where my Uncle Brandon boiled up the best batch of crawfish I have ever had. I’ve been a bit stressed lately, but there’s something about eating crawfish on a warm Louisiana day, drinking a cold beer, and spending quality time with friends and family that helps me to shrug off all those worries and just be present. It was a perfect moment.
Eventually, I had to say goodbye to my Aunts/Uncles/Grandparents/Cousins/Family friends, which was difficult, especially when my cousin Gracie asked if she’d ever see me again. I told her I’d try to come home for Christmas and she responded “That’s a long time”. It’s a good thing I had on sunglasses, because I definitely didn’t want to be caught crying. There’s no crying at Crawfish boils. But that being said, saying goodbye to family is the Absolute. Hardest. Thing.
I was glad to have April there to cheer me up. We took a mini-road trip down to New Orleans to see my other BFF, Talia. On the road, we jammed out the The Dixie Chicks and I was transported back to age 16. April and I reminisced about how we’d both been at their concert when they played at the Cajundome 12 (!) years ago. We both sang “Heartbreak Town” at the top of our lungs, somehow remembering every single word to a song we hadn’t really listened to in several years. It was another perfect moment.
When we got to New Orleans we picked up Talia and her husband Josh and headed to Jacques-imos, an eccentric New Orleans restaurant. We got really lucky and scored a table set up in the bed of a truck parked outside. I’m totally serious. Here’s proof:
And while dining in a truck bed we were serenaded by a homeless man’s cowbell rendition of Freebird, I saw an old college friend ride by on a clown bike, and we were eyewitnesses to a high speed car chase. Seriously, is there anywhere other than New Orleans where that combination of events could happen and no one even thinks twice about it? Another perfect moment!
It’s like God knew that I needed a classic Louisiana sendoff for our upcoming adventure, and he 100 percent delivered just what my soul desired. Sunday was a bittersweet ending of our weekend as we enjoyed lunch with Jonathan’s family. We ate at our favorite hole in the wall pizza place in Baton Rouge before shedding some tears as we said our final good-byes to more loved ones. The. Absolute. Hardest. Thing.