For a couple that didn't plan or expect kids anytime soon, we sure did pick out a name for our first baby girl well in advance.
In June 2013, right after I joined Drew in DC post-thesis defense, we took a weekend trip to New Orleans for Anisa's and Robert's wedding. We had never been. The local folks were warm and welcoming and it was clear from those we met that the city's inhabitants took pride in their professions, culture, and spaces. We instantly loved it and had a great time exploring. The architecture was historic and beautiful and each house or building seemed to have its own unique story. Food we ate in the dive-iest of bars was deliciously prepared with care. Each peron we encountered was legitimately interested in hearing our story, if we wanted to tell it.
This was a culture unique from any other I had experienced - so different from the artificial south, the cold east coast, and the cordial midwest. This place, and it's people, had character. It was easy to see why Anisa and Robert fell in love with the city and returned on many occasions, including gathering their families and friends there for their wedding.
During our short trip, we learned that the locals called New Orleans "NOLA" for short. After our weekend visit, as we traveled home to DC, I commented to Drew that Nola would be a pretty name for a little girl. Drew thought so too. So when we found out baby was a girl, there was no question what we would call her.