New Orleans was technically Ramona’s first “trip”. Yes, we went to Lodi for my sister’s wedding in October and to Aspen on a road trip in July, but NOLA was Ramona’s first place of “travel”. And she was amazing. AMAZING. I certainly have a little travel buddy on my hands. The first day we were there, I was carrying her in the Baby Bijorn and she was fake laughing to get attention from all the passers by on the street. And let me just say, there are a lot of passers by on the streets of New Orleans. Let me also say that Ramona was maybe the only baby that I saw. I mean, honestly, bringing a baby to New Orleans is like bringing a baby to Vegas. Not a lot of people do it, but I had a wedding there and I wasn’t about to leave the bean behind.
So Ramona was a star. Everywhere we went, people stopped to admire her or pick her up or remark on what a social baby she was. I mean, EVERYWHERE. And She loved it. She’s an attention ham, for sure.
This was also my first time “traveling” with a baby. And it was hard. Not logistically, but emotionally. I’m a world traveler. I love to travel almost more than anything in the world and when I do, I like complete freedom. I love to make images. On any other occasion, I would probably have positioned myself on a street corner for hours, waiting for the perfect “decisive moment”, or perhaps I would have stopped at a random club at 1am to listen to music and sip on a dirty martini. Maybe I would have stayed 5 minutes or maybe I’d have stayed until sunrise. The sky was the limit. But on this trip, I realized quickly that this kind of freedom is simply impossible with a baby on my chest. I mean, literally impossible. I can’t get down on the ground to make images with Ramona on my body, and apparently babies aren’t allowed in bars in New Orleans. Ironically. So naturally there was some grieving associated with my experience. But after I came to appreciate that I was spending time with the most beautiful girl in the world and making a different set of street images (ones that incorporated Ramona), I was able to let some of this go. There will be countless travels in my future where I can be self-indulgent. Our trip to NOLA was a travel first for me and my daughter– wandering the town without an agenda, listening to street music, eating the local food (which Ramona and I agree, is some of the best in the world). It was truly a virginal experience and one that I will look back on very fondly. It was all very different, but so very beautiful.
Many thanks to my dear friend, Caitlin,who took the beautiful images of me and the bean, and to my mother in law who allowed me one night of freedom, and kept me sane on this trip.