Life with Ladybug: New Orleans ladies

By Shannon Magsam

My husband put together the perfect road trip playlist for our drive to New Orleans.

I had completely forgotten about the song, New Orleans Ladies by Louisiana’s LeRoux, but suddenly my husband and I were singing along full voice while we cruised along the highway. “They sashay byyyyy, they sashayyy byyyy.” As we harmonized (“And they hold you like the niiiiight”) he looked over and smiled that smile that still makes my heart flip-flop. It says I’m happy, relaxed, I love you and I’d rather be here than anywhere else.

The only smile that’s better is the one where we look at each other over our daughter’s head and silently say, “Isn’t she awesome? Isn’t she so cute/adorable/clever/all ours?”

I think my favorite thing to do in New Orleans was people watch. The locals, the tourists, the street entertainers. And especially Ladybug’s face. She loved the aquarium, the zoo, the swamp tour, the carriage ride. She ADORED spending lots of time with her Aunt Jane and Cousin Sarah. She was also quite fond of the parakeets at the aquarium (that’s her on the right. My pics were somehow lost on the iPhone so I had to right-click this one from Facebook.)

You could pay $1 for some parakeet bait on a stick. Then stand back and watch them land on your stick, your head, your arm, clamoring for the bird food. I abandoned my niece, sister-in-law and husband in the huge bird cage because I really didn’t want to get pooped on. It’s apparently a common occurrence in there.

Here she at right is with her new friend, a practically life-sized dolphin.

I didn’t give the kid a chance to check out Bourbon Street, but there was plenty that I had to steer her around in some of the souvenir shops.  In one shop they had a variety of statues featuring a skeleton and a scantily-clad woman being a little intimate. And the t-shirts.! Oh, and let’s not forget the Mardi Gras beads adorned with dangly male body parts right next to the ones with the cute little rubber duckies.

My friend, Summer, who lives in Baton Rouge, drove over and ate lunch with us one day. I pulled out the Germex and she said, “Hand sanitizer is a good thing to have in this town”.  And I immediately replied: “Too bad they don’t make eye sanitizer.”

It really was great to see Summer, one of my best friends ever from way back in the fourth grade. She was the new girl and I offered her a piece of paper to use. Lucky me. She’s an awesome person who is working in New Orleans and beyond to bring attention to human trafficking. I plan to do an interview with her soon for Motherlode.

Two days before we left for New Orleans, I got a new iPhone. I tried (hard) not to be that person who keeps her nose glued to the Otter-boxed electronic. But I did (quite) a few times. John had to drag me out of the road once because I was facebooking while jaywalking and almost got hit by a car.

I’ve been trying to acclimate myself back into regular society this week. It’s hard. For the past few days I’ve had to remind myself that yes, I have to make lunch. No, we can’t just decide where we’re going for dinner and walk over so someone else can cook, serve it up and then clean it up. Bummer.

The week in New Orleans was the second leg of my husband’s vacation. It was the first time he’s taken  two whole weeks off from work. I loved having him home, even though I did work some the first week. On Sunday night, before he went back to work on Monday, I had that sad feeling in my gut that I’ve come to associate with home sickness. It’s a very specific sensation and not one I enjoy feeling.

I tried to figure out what it was and I think it was that I knew I’d miss him and our two weeks of togetherness. I’d gotten used to having him around all the time. I am VERY glad, however, that there are several weeks of Ladybugness I’ll be able to enjoy before school starts back (remember when I was so worried about how I’d juggle everything in the summer?). I feel a sense of urgency to do all that stuff we haven’t had a chance to do since the first day of the new school year is bearing down on us.

So, to sum, I miss the beignets, my husband, my SIL and niece, and being free to roam. But I remember thinking while I was in New Orleans that I truly love my life and my work. So coming back really wasn’t that hard. It’s just a different kind of perfect. I’m not really a New Orleans lady, but it was fun to hang out with them for a week.

Shannon Magsam is mom to 9-year-old Ladybug, married to Ladybug’s dad, John, and co-creator of To read previously published installments of Life With Ladybug, click here.