Saturday, April 28, 2012

60 Is the New 40

One of my favorite bloggers, injaynesworld, commented on my October 15th Women of A Certain Age post about "turning" sixty.

"60 is the new 40!" she enthused.

I don't know if that is true or not but my bones aren't buying it.  

Last October, six of my oldest friends and I flew to New Orleans to share our mutual 60th birthdays.  Some live on the West Coast, one lives in the Keys, I live in New England and we all grew up together in SoCal.

We took full suites at the luxurious Windsor Court Hotel downtown.  Here's a sample view from our rooms on the 17th flr.

We were a ten minute walk from the Quarter.

And walk we did.


The minute you get to NOLA, you want to hit the Quarter.  You want to find a bar or restaurant.  You want to have a local drink and some of that Cajun/Creole food you've heard about all your life.

You want to see the sights:  the grill-faced balconies, the shot gun houses, the brick buildings, flower baskets, parks with lush tropical plants.

It's a hot flower of a place is New Orleans.  If you're having hot flashes, it's even hotter.

We had four days to check it all out.                    

You can have any kind of food you like but the seafood and local cooking is the best.  It just doesn't get any fresher or more delicious than here.

The music is the greatest.  It's everywhere, street corners, cafes, the obvious jazz places like Preservation Hall, open air patio restaurants.  There are so many truly fine musicians in New Orleans.  They say it's in the water and the blood.  
The atmosphere on Bourbon St is just what you expect: maniacally happy.  After a couple of cocktails, so are we!  I had Sazeracs, a favorite since my first visit to the city in 1981.  One of my friends tried a Hurricane, the rest drank their usual and missed out on the fun of Mint Juleps and the like.  We were feelin' the love just the same.                                                                  

This is the famous statue of  Andrew Jackson, my mother's cousin, many times removed.  Behind him is St. Louis Cathedral in Jackson Square.  

Personally,  I like the horse's face. 


Breakfast at Cafe du Monde is a must. 
Beignets and chicory cafe au lait.  Heaven.   Fresh seafood, local cooking are the best ways to experience the true flavor of the area.  Our finest meal was a seafood place called G.W. Fins.  Other choices that come highly recommended are Acme Oyster House, Arnauds, Antoine's.  We had reservations at Galatoire's but somebody changed the game plan, much to my dismay.  Lucky for me I've dined there before as well as Brennan's, where bananas foster was created.  Lunch at Mr. B's was nice.  It's owned by the Brennan family too and is a gorgeous, wood paneled, elegant place.   

Against my better judgment, we opted for a three hour bus tour of the city.  It turned out to be educational, enlightening and fun.  We learned much and saw the remains of Katrina's devastation which is still shockingly extensive; visited the Ninth Ward now under some semblance of repair thanks to Harry Connick Jr. and his Musician's Village and Brad Pitts' 

is 1300 acres and a cab ride from downtown.  It is worth a half or full day's trip.  Had we known and had the time, we'd have returned to take in everything from the Museum of Art to the Carousel Gardens Amusement Park and Storyland.   Photos are from the Botanical Gardens within the park.


The obligatory cemetery tour..  While stopped here, a full-sized bus pulled up and a ton of Super Senior citizens (meaning:  older than us) got out.  My best friend, who is usually not humorous, sarcastic or wry, commented

"That's out next trip."

We weren't sure if she meant the people on the bus tour or a trip to the cemetery.

FUN FACT:   Woldenberg Riverfront Park is a beautiful scenic stretch of land along the banks of the Mississippi.  There is an aquarium, aviary, IMAX theatre, lawns and walkways with comfortable benches.  It was funded by the Great Uncle of one of our group.  She wanted us to see it and I envisioned a little park.  Wrong. It is a long stretch of walking, biking, sitting and playing parkway bordering the river. Her Great Uncle Mal has been dead many years but she remembers him fondly. Seems he scandalized the city when he married a black woman and left his millions to her, after her funded the park.  (snort!)

One of the hundreds of  small parks within the Quarter with statuary, fountains, benches and deep shade in which to "set a spell."

THIS is what I thought my friend's uncle bequeathed.

This is the first night get-together in the bar of our hotel.  They make them some "fine" cocktails and we didn't hesitate.  We partied like it was 1999...well, more like 1969.

Many things change as you age; your jowls, butt and boobs descend, your face begins to crease here and there, your hair greys and your stamina ain't what it used to be.  But a lifetime of friendship remains no matter how grumpy, drunky, barfy, and silly we may be when we're together.

If "sixty is the new forty", this is what it looks like.  Not bad.  Not bad at all.



CaliforniaGirl500 said...

This didn't show up on my blog. I'm replying now in the hopes it will.

btw, NO is really fun. The food is wonderful. Make sure you eat at one of the venerable establishments like Arnaud's, Gallatoire's, Antoines in the Quarter. My friends nixed it and I regretted it.

pat said...

Okay, so ignore my comment on the post after this one. I now realize why I was confused. I was reading these out of order.  I thought it had just happened. This is a great post. I've never to N.O. as an adult. My friends tell me that it's a great place to go with a camera. someday, I'll do that...
Thanks for the info to go with your great photos!

CaliforniaGirl500 said...

Tanna, this is the FUN side of the trip.  The travelogue so to speak.  My first post was, of course, more reflective.  I realized, while writing this post almost 6 months after the trip, that time and distance soften one's perspective.  

CaliforniaGirl500 said...

Now THAT is funny!  My 50s were difficult.  My body was falling apart all over the place and I stopped playing tennis because of it so I gained weight and started drinking too much and blah blah blah.

I don't want my 60s to be that way.  With 3 new body parts and a new attitude, I hope to reverse a 10 year pattern of "circling the drain".

Tanna Stanley said...

Glad you posted about this trip again!!  I never tire of hearing about fun cities, good food and wonderful friendships!!  To the "new 40"!!

DawnTreader said...

If the 60s are the new 40s then it will be a huge improvment on my 50s... ;)

CaliforniaGirl500 said...

You know, it was in the works for 9 months; actually longer.  It began with my husband sending an email to our friends early in 2011 saying how much I wanted to "share birthdays this year" and wouldn't it be great to take a large villa in Tuscany together?  He sent to everyone and received one positive response.  He was quite disappointed.  Several months later, one of my GFs sent around an email saying "who wants to get together for our 60th?"  It went on from there.

btw, I knew absolutely nothing about my husband's sweet gesture til just before New orleans was finalized.  

Grandmother (Mary) said...

A good looking group for sure! How fun to get away and celebrate yourselves and your 60th!

CaliforniaGirl500 said...

I think I love you.   


We think we're still 18 in our heads.  Our bodies tell a different tale.  :)

CaliforniaGirl500 said...

Thanks for emailing to tell me about the problem.  

I have somehow now managed to eradicate all previous comments with DISQUS when I repaired it.  I know they are still there because I see them in blogger.  But, they are not showing on the site.  Now I have to figure that out.  

CaliforniaGirl500 said...

Thanks!  I wonder what mantra we'll have when we're about to turn 70?

Bmanousos7 said...

aww, what a fantastic trip! i do believe that 60 is the new 40.
looks like a great time had by all.

you all look just great!!


ruth19 said...

All you have to say is "food and friends" and I'm hooked! This looks like a BLAST. Having friends while aging is the best. To be able to talk about the sags and aches, and look into each other's beautiful eyes while doing so. Ahhh.

And how great to be able to leave a comment finally! Thank you for the effort and time you put into unlocking this, for me and for anyone else who couldn't comment. Yay!

CaliforniaGirl500 said...

If you read my account of the trip on my other blog, you may feel a bit less wistful.  It was a stressful trip for all thanks to the idiosyncrasies of two of us.   Not sure I'd do it again.

CaliforniaGirl500 said...

I've eaten at Brennans in the past which is why I wanted to go again.  My favorite two desserts are:  creme brulee, bananas Foster.  YUM

Jenny said...

I'm amazed that your group are all sixty. You do look like the old 40! Cool idea to go away like that and glad you had such a good time!

CaliforniaGirl500 said...

You're welcome.  Six years following Katrina, the news is not good.  Our tour guide was very bitter on that subject, particularly w/ respect to FEMA and the lack of response from the federal govt.

CaliforniaGirl500 said...

I consider that a fine compliment, coming from a former resident.  Thanks!  And thank you for visiting and commenting on the blog.

CaliforniaGirl500 said...

Funny you bring up Savannah; we took a trip to HIlton Head this Jan to stay in the time share of one of my GFs on the NOLA trip.  She wanted to see Savannah so we drove there for the day, took a bus tour and ended up at the famous garden from "Midnight in the Garden of Good & Evil."  It's gorgeous.

Deborah said...

Lucky, lucky you. I have no idea what it's like to have a band like that - friends you've known forever and share such an extensive history with.  I'm not jealous, just kinda wistful.  New Orleans is like another country altogether! One day I'll get to it, but meanwhile I'm happy you had such a great time there.   

DeeDee said...

Hi! again, C.G...
"Lunch at Mr. B's was nice.  It's owned by the Brennan family too and is a gorgeous, wood paneled, elegant place. "
Here goes the link to brennans it's quite beautiful... too!

DeeDee said...

Hi! C.G...
What great "captures" [an[d] a [very] detail[ed] account Of your travels with your best [New Orleans] This may sound like a cliche, but I'm quite sure that a good time was had by all...Tks, for sharing!
[By the way, I was going to ask you about Katrina, but I can see that you already answered my question.]
deedee ;-D

Laurie Matherne said...

Great summary. I lived in NOLA for many years. I am heading back for a visit there next week, but hopefully I won't be reposing in a famed cemetary. 

lisleman said...

Hey you give a good tour guide.  My wife got me interested in cemeteries.  We have a good one in Chicago but one of the top ones in my book is in Savannah.  Your story about the seniors on the bus at the cemetery is funny. 

CaliforniaGirl500 said...

I loved my thirties and my early-mid forties.  Had I not started having physical problems in my late forties, I would have loved them too.  I'm hoping to love my sixties now that I've had three major parts replaced and no signs of further joint deterioration.  I'll be quite happy if I regain my range of motion and return to tennis after not playing for 7 years.  

Betsy said...

What a wonderful trip!   You all look wonderful!!  I hope 60 really is the new 40.  That would make 50 the new 30! be 30 again! lol...