Pauline and Damion joined us in New Orleans for their editorial engagement session. We met up with them at the stellar Jon Vaccarri House on St Charles Avenue, one of our favorite homes to photograph in!
Q. How did you meet and how long have you been together ?
A. Damion and I met while studying at Loyola University New Orleans in 2002. I was studying English-Writing and he was a Music Business major. The campus is small and we surely crossed paths a few times during my first year. The moments that I remember include my freshman year roommate spying this “basketball guy” on campus and making me stalk out spots on campus for her to check him out as he came out of classes. At the time, he just seemed alright to me– tall, thin-muscular build, with braces, glasses, and wild hair. Months later, I was modeling in the Alpha-Phi-Alpha step show and he was the main event as the single neophyte in his semester. I saw him with new eyes, but still was not looking to date anyone in college. Fast forward…he called me during the summer of my freshman year when I hardly knew him. I agreed to see a movie with him and it turned out to be a fiasco…with my best friend and mom laughing like school girls when he arrived, my dad in the kitchen frying fish, and my brother and his friends watching warily as he introduced himself. After the film, we came back to my parents house to chat and I remember watching David Letterman through the mirror in the curio cabinet rather than listening to him talk…that ADHD really is a problem! 🙂 Months later, Damion and I were both working the same New Years Eve party with our mutual friend’s event production company. We chatted and hung out and the chase began in earnest. I resisted my feelings for a while, being a prudent student with a 3 year plan to graduate without distraction. He was clever and persistent however and made it very difficult with his kind and genuine nature, always the gentleman. The morning of my 20th birthday, a girlfriend of ours delivered a single pink rose and a pink and blue beaded bracelet to my dorm room. Damion had meticulously made this bracelet by hand (in my sorority colors :). This was too sweet and the card was just as open-hearted. I still resisted, only acknowledging the gesture but not the sentiment behind it. Finally, 4 days later, on Valentine’s Day, he had given up when I only gave him a goofy Shrek valentine from a package I was handing out to friends. Our friend Glenn, the best man in our wedding, pushed Damion not to give up! Damion gave it a last ditch effort and sent me a letter and a single red rose. Finally, I gave in to the feelings that had been growing for some time, and we went on our first real date to Camellia Grill where I was smitten with him and he was smitten with me! We’ve been together ever since! Deeply in love and getting married 13 years later!
Q. Tell us about the proposal. We want all the details!
A. Damion and I came home to New Orleans for Christmas 2014. We drove up with my family to our house in the country in Bogue Chitto, Mississippi to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. On Christmas Day, Damion was surprised to learn that we’d be traveling to Jackson, MS to visit my aunts and uncles. This wasn’t a big deal to me and I was surprised that his feathers were so ruffled that we wouldn’t be staying put in Bogue Chitto. As the afternoon turned to evening at my aunt’s house in Jackson, Damion began to get very antsy about when we were leaving. I started to suspect something was going on, as he does not usually cause a fuss, especially during family time. When we finally got in the car and headed home, he was extra affectionate on the car ride home and held me very close during the drive. Still, when we got to our house in the country in Bogue Chitto, I wandered to our room and texted some friends. He came and kept asking me what I was doing. Finally, he asked me to come and take a walk. Well, it’s freezing out and PITCH BLACK (it is the COUNTRY!). Now, I knew what was coming. I relaxed and did not let his antsy pantsy behavior get to me as he encouraged me to put on any shoes that were around. We walked outside and he began talking about how much he loves me and how he remembered that this was the place we evacuated to post-Katrina and he was forced to leave me there to return to Indiana and he hated that he had to leave me there without knowing when we’d see each other again. He then said he never wanted to be separated from me again and wanted us to be together forever, always. Just as he started to propose, a car began coming up the drive, the dogs started barking like crazy. We walked together a bit out of the way, further into the darkness behind an old shed, where he got down on one knee and proposed. I of course said YES! It was very dark, but I could see the ring sparkle in the bit of light from the back porch. I was just soooo happy!!! Engaged during my favorite time of year on Christmas Day!!
Q. Have a passion (besides your love of course) tell us about it!
A. Damion is a DJ and is passionate about music, generally, especially music in film; he is also a burgeoning film buff; I am passionate about children’s rights and the rights of those living in poverty, particularly the right to education, freedom from exploitation of all types, and access to equal justice and economic opportunity; I also love history and 18th and 19th century British and American literature