I’m feeling a little homesick today. That’s a strange thing to say when you consider the fact that I’m currently sitting in my hometown going through the motions of my normal day-to-day routine. You see, my dear friends, I’m not talking about my literal home. I’m talking about the place that makes my heart sing and puts a jaunty, little skip in my step…New Orleans
The great Louis Armstrong once posed the question, “Do you know what it means to miss New Orleans?” Well Louis, the answer is yes; I most certainly do. Even before I’d actually set foot on the sacred cobblestone streets of the crescent city, I had an elaborate infatuation with it. There was something so mysterious about its history and reputation that just sucked me in. When most people think of New Orleans, they think of Bourbon Street and partying until they puke. When I think of New Orleans, I think of the most amazing food I’ve ever tasted. I think of jazz and gorgeous architecture. I think of the most delicious cocktails you can imagine and the sweetest people that you can meet.
New Orleans is my happy place and on this dreary Florida day, I’m longing for my old friend. What I wouldn’t give to take a stroll down Royal Street or to stop by the Central Grocery for an authentic muffaletta. I miss the risky business of eating a fresh beignet at Cafe du Monde without breathing to heavy and winding up coated in powdered sugar.
I miss the open-air ambiance of the French Market and all of its quaint, kitschy finds. I miss being pulled a million different directions by the music as I wander down Frenchman Street. I miss the dozens of offers to tell me where I got my shoes for just a $1 (if you’ve been, you know what I’m talking about!) Disgustingly, I may even miss the smell of yesterday’s “something” baking on the streets. Don’t ask what the something is…I don’t think any of us want to know.
All of these minute elements are a part of the city’s overall make-up. They create this world of wonder where everyone is made to feel at home and has the opportunity to try the kinds of things they’d never dream of doing on any regular day. Ten years ago, nature tried to destroy this beautiful place, and I suppose in a sense it succeeded. But here’s the thing about New Orleans, the kind of love that surrounds its streets won’t let it fall. It’s been lifted back up and continues to thrive the way it always has and always will.
My husband likes to laugh at me because I’m already dreaming of Haddie’s first trip to the Big Easy. He asks, “What are we going to do with a little kid in New Orleans?” Well, my sweet husband, it’s not so much about doing; it’s about letting her soak it all in. I hope that she obsesses over this glorious city the same way I do. I can see it now; we’ll be holding hands as we stroll along the Mississippi while she slurps down a snowball and I knock back a hurricane or two. And Daddy will be right along side us with a neon green hand grenade resting snugly in his cup holder. We’re coming back for you, New Orleans…just you wait and see!