We had SO much fun planning Julie’s bachelorette weekend in New Orleans.
It was, after all, the city where it all began.
Freshman year: me and Liz in a suite in the Urban Village (thanks to our similarly smart/gently meddling parents), Andrea and “the girls” in considerably less sweet digs in New Doris (a dorm that has since been condemned and torn down, may she rest in peace).
Liz and Andrea have been friends since second grade so they were the bridge that (gradually) united us with said girls — Katie, Kate, Lila, and Julie, who all lived together on the third floor, smoking butts and causing trouble.
Here’s a little secret about our two mini-groups: we didn’t really like each other at first.
Liz and me — we were snobby, just gonna come out and say it. We met these junior Kappa Sig boys right at the start of freshman year and they had cars and brought us to the Red Room and we thought we were the actual shit.
Spoiler alert: we were not the actual shit.
One time — and this fills me with shame to this day — Andrea’s busybody roommate overheard us talking shit about “the girls.” Something-something about how they weren’t sophisticated ‘cause they didn’t go to the Red Room.
Ol’ Busybody repeated what we said to them.
That did not help our relationship.
But time went on. In February of freshman year, most of us ended up joining the same sorority — Pi Phi. We all found ourselves on this pledge retreat from hell in the Louisiana backwoods (they didn’t even have booze). Some of our fellow pledges didn’t hate it. Actually, most of our fellow pledges didn’t hate it.
We hated it.
We knew we were kindred spirits.
One by one, we quit Pi Phi (some of us more memorably than others — ask me to tell you about that time with the mushrooms and the entire Pi Phi brass…).
By sophomore year, they were all living in a house on Magnolia, and we were fast friends (“fallen angels”), our earlier shit-talking long behind us.
The thing is, though, it’s taken the fullness of time — more than twelve years — for us to become the group we are.
Shane transferred from Berkeley and met Liz — and later me, Julie, and Katie — at the Arcade, the school magazine.
Andrea brought her awesome friend Jane from Architecture into the fold sometime around senior year.
We moved to New York, most of us, and made the typical mistakes with men, money, tube tops, you name it.
Three of us are married — two soon to be — and now four of us have dogs.
One of us is pregnant! (And we’ll always tell the little girl that she was down with us, too, in New Orleans, for Aunt Julie’s bachelorette.)
I can say honestly that I had no idea that those women (those girls) I found so intimidating-yet-intriguing would turn out to be what they are:
When we led Julie on a surprise scavenger hunt around all our old stomping grounds — Magnolia, Tulane’s changed-yet-totally-the-same campus, the Pi Phi house, the Boot store (where the ladies behind the counter actually recognized us!), Jacque-Imo’s, St. Joe’s, Guy’s Po-Boys, the Where Y’at office, the levee, and, of course, Ms. Mae’s to play “Honky-Tonk Woman” on the jukebox and dance on chairs — we weren’t just indulging in a little tipsy nostalgia.
We were marking the places where our foundation was formed.
We may not agree on everything — we don’t necessarily vote for the same people or make the same life-choices — but we agree on what matters.
I love you girls with all my heart, and Julie, I cannot wait to continue the celebration in the North Fork!
(Despite what you might have thought, I suspect your wedding WILL top your bachelorette. Barely.)