L.A. To N.O.LA redux

My friend, Danica, brought me back into the L.A. city limits from the 1950’s time capsule town of Whittier. I would spend my last evening in L.A., not at a premiere or schmoozing for work, but in the Valley making pizzas with my friend, Janell’s toddlers. Their tree was up and decorated and stocking were hung with care in hopes that Saint Nicholas soon would be there. After Danica departed and Janell put the kids to bed, Angela joined us for one last night around the fire pit.

It was one of those just-add-water moments where we were all just girls, all in the same place at the same time, simply enjoying each other’s company and the crackling fire under a semi-starry sky. We were the same people we’d been as single, childless women, but the conversations were different. I mentioned that my mom sometimes reminds me of the fish with the bad short-term memory and resulting optimism in Finding Nemo and Angela blurted, “Dory.” We all laughed and she said she knew them all now, the whole Disney and Pixar universe of characters. I asked the name of the crab and both Janell and Angela answered, “Sebastian.” Then Angela said she even remembered the names of the 3 eels. I remember talking about plenty of silly things with my friends, but never the names of eels. The times, they are a changin’.

All week, I’d revisited the best of my L.A. self. Friends carried me gently from one to the other like a singer who’s thrown themselves out to the crowd hoping hands find them quickly. I went to favorite places like The Grove and Mel’s, and places I’d never been, like Whittier and Montrose. I attended a magical birthday for a fabulous 4 year old, ate Thanksgiving with a family I’ve known since I was 17, and spent time catching up with old friends.

Though I lived in Los Angeles, I was never of L.A. and though I wasn’t born in the other LA, I’ve always felt of Louisiana. But, as I review my trip, it sounds like a trip home. Perhaps L.A. is another home away from home for me, a place I used to live, a place to return to when you miss your history.

In New Orleans, so much is still so new to me. I have very few routines and haven’t figured out which habits to be a creature of. I have no old friends and few new ones. But somehow, this is where my heart is, my home. I’ve said it before but it bears repeating, when I leave my house, New Orleans rises to meet me. All I have to do is leave my residence to go on an adventure, meet friendly people, see beautiful things.

Maybe New Orleans is a just add water friendship for me, too. Maybe New Orleans is an old friend I kept in touch with and have been reunited with like with Angela and Juanita’s family. Maybe it’s a new friend I never know what’s next with but can’t wait to find out, like my friendship with Janell started. I’m so glad I got a chance to go back to my home of nearly 18 years, to remember some of the reasons I stayed there for so long, kept reinvesting, doubling down. After returning to L.A. for a week after a year away, I’m certain of this – I am where I should be.

Last year, as I drove to Janell’s for my last Thanksgiving holiday living in L.A., there was a Green Day song that played as I was cruising Mulholland with the top down on my car. As I listened to the lyrics, I began to cry. I really did have a big adventure living in Los Angeles. I met so many amazing people, even the Pope. I traveled the world, wore fancy dresses, attended parties, dated celebrities and made a living doing something I love. I really did have “the time of my life.” When I looked up the lyrics today, I laughed to myself as I saw that the title wasn’t “Time of Your Life,” it was “Good Riddance. ” Yeah – that too.

For the video:


“Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life)”

Another turning point, a fork stuck in the road
Time grabs you by the wrist, directs you where to go
So make the best of this test, and don’t ask why
It’s not a question, but a lesson learned in time

It’s something unpredictable, but in the end it’s right.
I hope you had the time of your life.

So take the photographs, and still frames in your mind
Hang it on a shelf in good health and good time
Tattoos of memories and dead skin on trial
For what it’s worth it was worth all the while

It’s something unpredictable, but in the end it’s right.
I hope you had the time of your life.

1 Comment

Filed under Culture, entertainment industry, moving

One response to “L.A. To N.O.LA redux

  1. ross turlington

    Again, thanks for being you!

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