I left without Happy, Wiley, Nigel and Pippa to hit the road with my daughter, Ashe bound for NOLA on her new adventure, transferring to Tulane. It was an unforgettable mother-daughter road trip and week, getting her settled in her new city. It was HOT, but we were so busy having fun and enjoying the time together, I almost, almost, didn’t notice the oppressive, soul crushing HEAT.
On Saturday, we returned from dropping Miles off at Asheville School, camping at Rocky Bluff, and hiking at Max Patch. Ashe and I had planned to leave for New Orleans on Monday and drive straight through. She was no where near ready to go when I returned home…By Sunday morning, I had decided that driving straight through was not what I wanted to do. I got Ashe up and we whirled into action trying to wrap up the packing, so we could leave that afternoon to drive to Auburn, the half way point to spend the night. We got all packed and loaded then hit the road before 3:00. I had talked about camping at Chewacla State Park in Auburn, but that didn’t jive with Ashe’s road trip plan. We ended up getting a room at Tru hotel right across the road from Chewacla. It was right around $100, so nice and new. I had never stayed at this brand, but can tell you it is a carbon copy of Aloft. We were pleased with our find. I was so happy with the decision to break up the trip. Good call!
Drove through torrential ran most of both days. I did almost all the driving, due to the conditions. By the time we drove into New Orleans, the clouds parted and the sun shone down on us. It was a lovely welcome to Ashe’s new city. We drove to her new address and were so thrilled to see in person for the first time her new home. What incredible good fortune. She’s a lucky girl. Here’s the wonderful cosmic story: In June, upon mentioning to a tennis friend of mine here in the mountains (coincidentally, also a Memphis girl), that Ashe was transferring to Tulane, my friend told me that her best friend lives in NOLA, spends the summer up here too, and we needed to meet when she arrives for the summer. I then happened to mention that I was stressed, because Ashe was still overseas, backpacking around Europe for a month before returning to London for her internship for the rest of the summer and had just heard from Tulane that there was no on-campus housing available for transfer students. Ashe had asked me to help find her housing, since she was not able to call anyone or in a position to deal with it. My friend said, you’re not going to believe this, but my NOLA friend, has a pool/guest house. She isn’t here yet, because her tenant just moved out and she is having the carpet replaced then headed up to the mountains. She then sent me the friend’s contact info. The two of us talked and just like that, Ashe had her own little house, less than a mile from campus. When Ashe returned from overseas, the four of us got together for dinner here in the mountains. Ashe and her new landlord, hit it off smashingly well. I felt a lot better, knowing there would be a mom, I now knew, right there and Ashe would be safe behind their gate in their backyard. So grateful for the miraculous way this all came together. Simply, meant to be.
Ashe and I unloaded the car, got things kind of put away, then went out for dinner. We ate at Jacques-Imo’s, which was the perfect choice for our arrival dinner. The food was amazing, the atmosphere authentically New Orleans, and the waiter bent over backwards to make us welcome, even giving us a free desert. After dinner, we drove over to Tulane. Ashe had never even been on the campus. She had chosen it, sight unseen. We walked around the almost empty campus, both thrilled by what we saw. She felt good about her decision, which made me feel relieved and happy for her. It’s a beautiful school in a gorgeous neighborhood. It felt right.
The next day, we headed out early, because we had lots to do. We ate breakfast at La Madeleine, my favorite from my Dallas, Tx days. Was overjoyed that there was one right up St. Charles from campus, so close to Ashe’s home. It was so fun to be able to share it with her. The magic of food memories. We spent the next few days shopping for house items for Ashe’s first home. She has never had a place of her own, she’s only lived in dorms then with a family in their home in London. She was thrilled to have her own space and no roommates. We shopped until we dropped, everyday, then took naps to recover from the heat. We went to dinner at Dat Dog on Magazine St., one night where we had crawfish etouffee dogs, which was a cheap treat. Cool place! We spent a day in the French Quarter, where we ate lunch at Oceana. We shared the Taste of New Orleans trio, which I highly recommend. We had a steamy, but nice afternoon. My last day there was the transfer student/parent orientation, so we spent most of the day on campus. There were 129 transfer students. I met a nice mom from Los Angeles, who I had coffee with during the break. The Tulane administration did a fantastic job orienting us parents. I felt good about the move for Ashe. Even though it’s so much larger than Hollins, where she spent her first 1.5yrs of college before studying abroad at University of London, the staff of Tulane made me feel like it was a real community and that Ashe would be easily assimilated. Thank you for that, Tulane.
My last morning in NOLA before catching my plane home, we went to where else, but La Madeleine for breakfast. It was divine, as always. We arrived early at the airport, parked, and hung out together for a while before I had to leave. We sat closely, Ashe braided my hair while we talked. It was a beautiful hour spent so intimately with my first born amid all the hustle and bustle. It felt like we were the only two people in the world. I am so grateful for this week we had together. Thankful, we have the relationship, we do. Overwhelmed that this amazing creature is mine. Thank you, Ashe for being so uniquely you. I am proud of who you are and who you are becoming. I know you made a great choice for you to transfer to Tulane and to move to New Orleans. I believe you will thrive and continue with your amazing success on your academic journey. You inspire and amaze me. I love you.