Cousin or not,  Ellen and I have lots in common....probably not music though. I thought she might keel over when Krishnas Das came blaring out of my ipod. We did discover that we share a disdain for cursing, she hates hearing it and I hate using it! I refrained most of the time but a few did slip out. Other idiosyncrasies we shared: Bras must be secured at Nordstrom, check. Chocolate, check. Always pack a bathing suit in your luggage, check.
     From the tao of Ellen I commit these tenets to memory, "sarcasm has no place in a family"  and equally as important  "always premedicate"!  Mostly though, I appreciated her ability to finish my sentences. I have a habit of starting to say something, get half way into it and trail off, leaving it unfinished. A bad habit that makes conversation pretty dull and blog writing even...  See, it can be annoying! Ellen did not miss a beat, she just finished my sentences for me. What a pleasure!
     Elle drove the entire 470 miles to Slidell! I controlled the snacks and the radio. She was at my mercy. We laughed while listening to the Satellite Sisters, and cried when Julie Dolan related the touching story of her daughter-in-law becoming a U.S citizen. The Sat Sisters' own family dramas gave us the chance to hear one another's views on a range of topics that spanned from Alzheimer's to chemotherapy for dogs. We both liked Liz Dolan's usage of the word messy!

Me Oh My Oh! We had big fun on the bayou!
 Terry and John welcomed us, gave us the grand tour of what I like to think of as Hyde Park on the Bayou, and served us a wonderful spread of Étouffée, shrimp pizza, and guacamole! Oh my gosh they have a four sided fireplace, french doors all over the joint, a wonderful kitchen, and a family dog, Blaise, that stays outside...Great!

Screened porch overlooking bayou and cypress trees

Birds Paradise and thoughts of  my favorite Wendell Berry Poem 

Hyde Park on the Bayou
We had not forgotten our loved ones in New York. True some were displaced and miserable but for the most part they were better off without us.  I can't speak for Ellen but I am more of a burden than a help when it comes to living without heat. My goldilocksing would be going into overdrive on LI in the cold. Ellen prayed and I sent good wishes up to New York and then we went with Terry to New Orleans.

Game On!
Did I mention the odds are stacked against me now. Terry and Ellen look innocent enough but look a little closer, even through Terry's sunglasses you can see the twinkle in her eyes. I kept up the first day but barely. Cathy, the absent third sister, who now was sporting the layered look in NY, had once told me that I was a pretty good walker to be able to keep up with her all over Brooklyn. I was full of grandiose ideas about my stamina. Terry and Elle quickly drilled me into the ground, smiling and laughing as they did it. They have the endurance of marathon runners. I think I may challenge them to 108 sun salutations on the winter solstice!
Hotel de la Monnaie

French Market Fun

Lenny sending me a telepathic message!

French Quarter

This is what I'm talking about! Wow!

I thought the numbers on the jars were prices , affordable prices, but sadly Terry informed me it was just a code to a big book and big prices.

 I wish you could hear the wistful tune that this accordionist was playing.

Two Cats

     We enjoyed lunch at River's Edge on Decatur along with a nice conversation with a tourist from Vancouver.  I devoured three beignets at Cafe du Monde, and we splashed in a bit of the shops, antiques, alleys, pralines, St. Louis Cathedral, Carousel Bar at Hotel Monteleone, and street musicians  Terry is a great tour guide! Then she chauffeured us all over the city. The highlights were St. Charles Ave., Audubon Park, Tulane, Loyola, Halloween decorations, and one more long street with great shops. I could tell without even getting out of the car... but I forget the name of the street. Maybe it was St. Charles. Whew.
     Halloween morning Terry and Elle easily persuaded me to stay one more full day and take in Bay St. Louis. As annoying as my incessant picture taking can be for myself and others, it is often appreciated when all is said and done.  I am sorry to say that I fell down on the job and have no photos of this day.
     We began with a wonderful tour of Slidell.  We visited with Terry's friend Chris at her shop Beau Coup Treasures, spotted a great headboard in The French Address, almost got boots and coats at Fred's and went antiquing in Picayune. All the while I am thinking that I am racking up the states that I have visited that the Primate has not! We are not competitive at all.
     Primate would be proud that we discussed a little football on the way to Bay St. Louis as Bret Favre is from that neck of the woods. Terry admitted to a little melancholy as she described how the environs looked before Katrina hit. Now others were suffering the effects of the Frankestorm, Hurricane Sandy.
     Weather was gourdgeous in Bay St. Louis. Shopping of course and then lunch at Trapani's.  When we returned home John took Ellen out on the bayou in his kayak. I wish I had a picture of the final excitement of the day, Ellen emerging from the bayou, booted, soaking wet, and delightedly dragging flotsam deposited from Hurricane Isaac. Priceless.
     We departed from Les Cyprès the following morning having I think finally exhausted Terry. Tuckered out not by reason of over-shopping but probably due more to her method of telling jokes. She  gets very physically involved when telling  jokes. We were howling.