New Orleans has uncanny powers. Things and events touched by this city seem to become more heavily symbolic and meaningful. It produces coincidences that are charming and mischievous.
It was two years ago that I fell in love with New Orleans. It’s odd to know the exact date, but I do. On December 24th, 2010 I walked into the Spotted Cat and saw Meschiya Lake perform, and my heart was marked ever since. Though I did visit it again soon after, I have not had the opportunity to go back there until just recently. I have been trying to go again, but nothing worked out. Until a peculiar sequence of events conspired to bring me back.
The first was my college friends having a combined birthday and end-of-the-world party at the end of December. Lake City is about thirteen hours driving from DC, which is reasonably manageable. The drive from Florida to New Orleans is even shorter. The drive from New Orleans to DC, however, is much longer. While I was trying to figure out how to complete this route, a friend of mine mentioned that she was staying with her parents in Knoxville, TN for Christmas, and that I would be welcome to stop over. Knoxville is almost exactly half-way between DC and New Orleans. It could hardly be located more perfectly. At this point, I simply could not refuse the trip. As scheduling worked out, I arrived in New Orleans on the 23rd of December. On the 24th, I was again at the Spotted Cat.
Preparing for the trip, I messaged my friend whom I had met that first time on Frenchmen St. While she wasn’t going to be in New Orleans, we were going to overlap for a night in Tampa, FL. So we met and had dinner.
The above coincidences are not that unusual, given that everyone travels around during the holidays, I have friends in many parts of the country, and I think everyone has parents in Florida. However, the last touch was much more precise.
A couple months back, my dryer viciously attacked most of my dress shirts, ripping off many of their buttons. I have only repaired one. So when the time came for me to pack for this trip, I only had two shirts suitable for dancing – a black one and a blue one, the latter being the shirt I wore two years. I brought both, then lost the black one in Tampa.
I have two black vests I like to wear to dances. The newer one turned out to be in dire need of cleaning, so I had to pick the older one. The same one I had worn two years ago.
While I did recently buy a new pair of dance shoes, they did not work out very well, and I had to revert to my old pair.
So when the time came for me to dress to go to the Spotted Cat, on the exact two-year anniversary of my first visit, I was down to a single choice of outfit. The exact same one.