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Who could ask for more random, thought provoking, shoe-shining, upskirt selfies, good tunes and good times than a combination trip to New Orleans for David Ford’s cross-city installation project San Simon P3 and Halloween?!!!

Amie Wylder and I took a midnight bus to New Orleans from Austin. 12 hours total, with a stop in San Antonio, we curled across seats for bit of sleep before hitting the pavement in the Marigny at 6am. As usual, my backpack was super heavy, and the 20 short blocks (they really are short by most city-block standards) was too much for me, so Amie, my strong powerful Mama, took over for the last half of the walk. We hiked up stairs to meet Sprite, a former Kansas Citian, and mother of 9 cats and 1 dog, who graciously opened her home for us to crash in. A few hours of “sleep” and then off to brunch to meet Rachel McMeachin (my long-time travel buddy) and Mick (another former Kansas Citian).

I’ve noticed that Kansas Citians migrate to certain cities – Chicago, Portland, Austin and New Orleans. All similar in size (Chicago is bigger though) but also similar in feel. These are also cities that feel like home as well, not only because I know so many in the community, but because of the energy. Community-centered, artistic, loving energies – despite natural disasters. New Orleans is another home for me, and the Marigny especially (just north of the Quarter). I have stumbled home on many a night, through the Quarter to North Rampart Street. It’s second nature and my body has a natural sense of direction in the crescent city…muscle memory.

A sleepless day of bike riding and exploration led to David Ford’s opening that evening. How wonderful it was to see familiar, loving faces in a different city. Many times I’ve run into Peregrine Honig and Mark Southerland in other cities. Aaron Osborne, my brother from another mother (and father) was also there, Raj, Lacey Wonzy, Davin Watne, Les Izmore, Krewe de Maximon and countless others. Amie and I dressed in our best Rhianna inspired black/white unitards (because let’s face it, unitards ROCK!). I gave away stones and offered inspirations. I drank, a lot. In fact, little sleep, good food and lots of drinks seems to be the living staples of Nola.

In the days that followed the art opening, Rachel and I explored on bikes while Amie had to return to Austin. We caught a burlesque show featuring full nudity and a lot of male jiggly bits as well! By the time Halloween arrived, I was exhausted having worn all of my outfits and from too much partying. I chose to spend time reconnecting to the spirits of New Orleans that evening, and it was amazing! And while I missed the Pop-Up Strip Club in lieu of the World Series let-down final, I was able to spend some late night time acro-balancing and sharing stories with some of the greatest peeps on earth.

I’m not normally so open with declaring where I’m from when I travel, but this trip to New Orleans was different. In appreciating the magic, inspiration and genius of my friends from back home, I was proud to say I was from Kansas City. Thank you David Ford for bringing us all together under one shotgun roof. It was a blast, it was amazing, it was exhausting and it was real… LOVE!

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