Last weekend we made a quick trip to New Orleans for Jon's brother Will's graduation. It was a big deal #1 because it's just a big deal when someone graduates from college, such an accomplishment! And it was a big deal #2 because he graduated from the very prestigious Tulane University! Not to brag too much but he did graduate with a cumulative GPA of 3.0, finishing his last semester with a 3.6. He started his college career at Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville, GA and transferred to Tulane after 3 years in GA. He initially moved to GA because Jon and I were living in Gray, GA at the time which is right down the road from GCSU and it was an adventure for him to move away from home. Plus he got the bonus of living close to his brother (and attending college with him for the 1st year!) who had moved away from home a few years previous. We left Gray in 2007 and moved to our current city of residence but Will stayed on in Milledgeville for a year. He's a cool dude, our William, and we are all so very proud of him!
On to the events of the weekend. We arrived in New Orleans Friday night about 10:30 EST and the kids were past exhausted. In fact, Audrey fell asleep about 10 minutes before we got there and James was trying his darnedest to stay awake. He was soooo excited! The graduation was to start at 9 a.m. the next morning so needless to say it was slow starting for us but we made it to the Super Dome with 30 minutes to spare. Score!! If you have ever been to New Orleans then you know it is a happy place. A party place, which is not necessarily a bad thing all the time! They know how to have a good time and Tulane's graduation ceremony was no exception. From the moment we arrived there was a Jazz band playing on stage and they were so good(not surprised, just remembering how much I enjoyed it)! While we were walking around trying to find seats Audrey said "Mama, I hear that sound" and started swaying back and forth to the tune! And I don't know of another city in the USA who would dedicate a big chunk of a private university's graduation ceremony to the city's NFL Super Bowl Champs. WHO DAT!!!
There were lots of people who spoke, as like any graduation, and Anderson Cooper was the key note speaker. It was neat getting to see/hear him in person and learn that he was born in Mississippi, who'd a thunk it?! He kept his speech short which was nice. A theme throughout the ceremony with the all the speakers was "Always bring New Orleans with you", since there were people represented from almost every state in the US and something like 47 countries in the graduating class, so many of the students were leaving the city. It's a good theme for people saying goodbye and the funny part is that they were quoting part of a song by Lil' Wayne, who is a famous potty mouth "gangsta" rapper who's home town is the Big Easy!!!
All in all we were there for almost 4 hours. Not complaining mind you, just saying it was a challange to keep all the kids happy for that long. My kids got a cokes and pretzels out of the deal! But I must say, they were all champs who held out until just before Will's name was finally called. Mr. Ronnie and Ms. Susan had arranged for a luncheon at Le Pavillion (a very old, very beautiful, very special hotel) and there was close to 2000 graduate names called that morning and Will was just about the last one. So, we were a little late to lunch!
It was such wonderful weekend. We made lots of fond memories and we are so thankful that we were able to attend such an event! I didn't get as many pictures as I would of liked to. Didn't get as many of Will as I needed to so I am disappointed with that. But, by the time we got to lunch my kids were so rambunctious that I had to give most of my attention to them so that curtains were not pulled down, crystal and china were not broken into a thousand pieces and keep them from being trampled by waiters, who in turn would have broken their necks and sent food flying in all directions! I was the first to leave and it was pouring rain so I didn't get any pictures outside the hotel. Still, so disappointed in that. But the important thing is that William graduated from college and we were all there to celebrate with him!