The New Orleans I Remember
We visited New Orleans in the spring of 2003 and stayed for an entire week in the French Quarter. We had rented a two bedroom apartment with friends of ours, it had a kitchen and a living room with dark red walls. The bedroom Tay and I shared had butter yellow walls and french doors leading to the balcony – one of my most vivid memories was waking up early one morning and going out by myself onto the balcony to bask in the peace and quiet of the city that eventually did sleep. I watched the sun come up that morning and fell in love with the city for all it’s charm and history.
I love New Orleans not for Mardi Gras or for the loud, chaotic craziness of Bourbon Street. I love for it’s artists, for the genuine friendliness of the people that live there, for it’s voodoo magic. I love the tarot card readers and the horse drawn carriages, Jackson Square and the Mississippi. I love it for the food – the gumbo and the jambalaya, the red beans and alligator, and Irene’s restaurant. New Orleans deepened my appreciation of jazz music – from the jazz museums to Preservation Hall. It’s the only city that I ever visited that made me say over and over again that I would pack up all my belongings and move there, and get a job ringing in groceries in a corner grocery store because the clerks that worked there were SO HAPPY.
My heart has been unbelievably heavy the past few days as I catch up on all that is happening in New Orleans right now. I’ve never been to a city more hospitable than New Orleans and the thought of what has become of it has demolished a small part of me. Tay mentioned today that he didn’t think we would get to visit there again soon and that saddens me – because I’ve been longing to go back with a fierceness I can’t explain.
I feel so sad for those that never had a chance but am so grateful that I got to see the city for what it was, because I fear that it will never be the same again.
This is the New Orleans I will remember forever.