Even after all these years my eyes light up every time I get to talk about New Orleans. I can literally talk about her (thats how we refer to the city) for hours.
I have good reason. There’s no other New Orleans. They try to make us a carbon copy but we aren't and we never will be.
This city has a soul. She has a heartbeat. For those who hear it, feel it, you are the chosen ones. You are one of us. The city is alive and you become one with her.
There is a dark side to that connection though. Consider New Orleans your mistress and she can be vindictive. Drew Brees said If you love New Orleans, she will love you back. I'm adding that If you turn on her, you are pretty much done here.
If you haven't been to New Orleans and you long to come, be prepared. There is good and bad here. Once you've been here, if the good is what you feel most, then you belong. Sometimes all it takes to be addicted to her seductive powers is setting foot in the city. You will begin to feel that this is home and that you can't live anywhere else. Thats when you know you're hooked. For others it happens slowly and for some it never happens. Others wish they had never visited. It's all part of her plan, that seductive mistress with a vindictive side. She calls her people and she expects to be admired. God help the soul who turns on her. (I'm only partially kidding)
If you know, you know. If you don't know because you haven't come here yet, then you ay find out. If you don't know and you've been here, well here's a nice parting gift for you. You and New Orleans simply aren't well suited for each other.
My families arrival in New Orleans dates back almost to the arrival of the Europeans who put a flag in the ground and called it La Nouvelle Orleans, New Orleans. Thats over 300 years. Yet I speak of New Orleans daily as if she is a best friend or lover. As a tour guide, it's my job but for me, it's my passion. By heart and by trade, New Orleans owns me.
There are so many reasons to love New Orleans like I do. Let us count the ways.
New Orleans is full of opportunities to give back to the city. An example is Tulane University. They have a built-in service element in their curriculum. Every student must complete community service hours before they graduate. It is a wonderful opportunity to learn more about the city and the people who made it so amazing. This really helped in the years after Hurricane Katrina when some of those Tulane students came up with ideas to help the rebuilding process.
Goodness abounds around every corner. New Orleans has amazing food! We have the well known staples of Gumbo, Jambalaya, Po’boys and Bread Pudding, We also have all the modern foods trends available throughout the city. It's really hard to be on a diet here. .
People of New Orleans:
There is nowhere in this country where the people are like New Orleanians. No where. We are different. As long as you are good to city and don't stay in an airbnb, we are happy to have visitors and to celebrate all of the things that make the visitor unique. We want you to let your hair down and enjoy our culture, just not appropriate it. We will hug and kiss you on the cheek but if you get out of line, we will certainly let you know. We are unapologetically ourselves and we are protective of our city, our mistress. We will also be protective of you. Love the city and we will love you back.
You've obviously heard New Orleans incredible music. If not, what rock have you been under? To hear it, don't spend all your time on Bourbon Street. We have venues like Tipitina’s, Maple Leaf and all of Frenchmen Street. We have buskers (street musicians) throughout the city. All kinds of music too. Not just jazz. You're never more than a couple steps away from music in this city. All kinds, all the time, all year long.
Our Parks: If our City Park doesn't impress you.... never mind, it WILL impress you. It's twice the size of NYC's Central Park and it is not lacking anything! It even has a roller coaster! lol. Beautiful Audubon Park is perfection too and there are so many others.
The Water: The Mississippi River is a sweet relaxation point. You can meet off the French Quarter and sit on the levee. You can go to "The Fly" for a picnic on the water. You can choose to go to the lakefront and watch sailboats and a gorgeous sunset
Architecture: The only word that comes to mind is stunning! From Creole Cottages and Shotgun Houses to Greek Revival, Italianate and Victorian mansions, is just amazing. Vibrant colors of the Caribbean to the soft hues of Europe. It's so aesthetically pleasing.
Mardi Gras (Carnival):
Each year we throw a big party and invite about a million and a half friends. Ringling Brothers wasn't it. THIS is the greatest show on Earth. It's weeks and weeks of HUGE parades and people yelling "Throw me something mister". It's families spending time together in celebration. It's the biggest party on the planet. It's not really the debauchery you've heard about. There are places it is and there are tourists who get a little carried away but if you go uptown, to St Charles Avenue, and watch the parades there, it's a family friendly amazing time! It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Parades, music, food and yes, booze for those who want it. Prepare your craziest costumes and come on!
New Orleans Mindset:
If you arrive in New Orleans and you get that funny feeling that this is where you belong, then you are being wooed but that Seductress herself. Start looking for housing because you're hers now.
In New Orleans, you might get more creative. You might find your voice. You might find true love. You might live your best life. One things for sure, we celebrate everything here. Every holiday, every non holiday, we find a reason to celebrate. It's how we face the dark times. We are always preparing and decorating for the next celebration!
So come on! New Orleans is calling so let the good times roll! I'll leave a light on for you and a little jazz music playing. See you soon