We stepped into the mall with extreme optimism and a little bit of money in our pockets. When we left, we were dejected, depressed, grumpy and empty-handed. We didn't know what half of the stores were and why they were selling a flimsy shirt made in Taiwan for $60. The whole place was like one big sensory overload nightmare. Sales and people everywhere and sparkly things and smells and noise. I could never figure out what floor we were on in those big department stores and I think if you have a store so big that you have 3 sets of escalators, you need to scale back a little. I think Abercrombie & Fitch wins the award for the most obnoxious store in the mall with it's loud techno music, that putrid smell pouring out of its doors so strong that you can smell is 6 stores down and the overblown photos of half naked people displayed in the store's windows.
We burst into the parking lot grateful for fresh air and sunshine. I went home and cleaned and ironed all of Chris' nicest, best fitting clothes and packed them in his suitcase. Maybe all of this is due to our old people tendencies or our distaste for consumerism for its own sake. Regardless, I'm not the mall's #1 fan.
However, one thing made our mall trip worth it. Growing up, we called the nuns that don't wear full habits or opt for more mainstream clothes "JCPenney Nuns". I always think of this when I walk into that store. We happened to have parked outside of JCPenney's and were walking through stacks of clothes, trying to make a beeline for the exit when we saw nuns in JCPenney's, buying Saints t-shirts. Maybe you think we're creepers, but this moment had to be documented, so Chris took a picture with his camera phone.
To soak up some more of that awesome sunshine, we went on a date to Old Algiers Fest, a free festival right alongside the river. The crowd was large enough for it to be a festival, but small enough to enjoy ourselves. There were lots of booths with local artisans and restaurants, and we wandered around looking at some gorgeous jewelry and pottery before we settled down on the ground in front of the stage for the main event - Irvin Mayfield. He's a Grammy-winning jazz musician and Cultural Ambassador of New Orleans. What a treat to see this show for free! You could tell him and his band were improvising a lot and their easy-going nature spread to the crowd who started dancing by themselves, their family and complete strangers.
Of course, the scene was littered with several distinct characters you could only find in New Orleans! The last photo is my favorite. Irvin Mayfield had his four or five year old son on stage playing his little trombone the whole time. You can see the awesome guy in the front too, decked in Mardi Gras beads and feathers. The woman to the right danced by herself, with her dog, and with strangers. I LOVE THIS CITY!