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Posted from Camarillo, California, United States.

I’ve got two lists – one “to bring” list, and one list of names, the names of people for whom I can definitely not fail to buy souvenirs.

A death/skull themed gift for Professor Olsthoorn, the osteologist.
A portrait of Mistress Marie Laveau – the voodoo queen – for my mentor, a French historian.
A mask for my mom, since she’s brought so many home for me over the years.
My dad is a drummer. I’m sure I can find something, what with the jazz and all.
Something for my boyfriend… probably a beer coozie and a shot glass.
The list keeps getting longer. I hope New Orleans has some good clearance bins.

I’ve hardly slept this week, haven’t packed, have worked almost every day after school but won’t get my paycheck until next Thursday. At least I got my laundry done, and the only homework I need to complete is an essay on Women & Gender in History.

I’m saying all this because this is what I’ve done in the time I’ve waited for this trip to come. I may not be packed, but I’ve been so very ready for days now. I’m ready to get dirty, sweat, possibly faint. I’m ready to probably cry. I’m anxious to finally know, in person, a culture I’ve been obsessed with for years. To hear, in person, jazz around which I’ve formed a musical identity as a singer, flute player, and occasional desk drummer. To taste, finally, the shellfish, beignets, alligator, gumbo, and jambalaya I’ve only attempted to recreate in my tiny apartment kitchens. Well, except for the alligator…

As an anthropologist, I’m ecstatic. As a foodie, I’m hungry. As a musician, I’m anxious – in the toe tapping sense of the word. As a historian, I’m honored. As a student, I’m ready for the challenge.

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