How do you sum up a very short trip to New Orleans? I’m still processing all of it. New Orleans is not like anywhere I’ve ever been. Ever.
And I mean that in the best way. Not in the way where you ask someone what they think of something and they say, “oh yeah, that’s… [different, interesting, not like anything I know, etc.].” Nuh-uh. New Orleans IS all of that, and in the best, most delicious and weird and wonderful ways possible.
My friend Maggie found a cheap flight back in December, sent me an email and said “let’s go take pictures in New Orleans!” My thought process went like this: no, I can’t spend the money, I can’t take vacation, I shouldn’t do this, wait, I want to do this, why can’t I do this?, I’m gonna do this! We asked our friend Jane to join us, and voila, flights booked, hotel found. All we had to do was wait until April.
I’d never been to New Orleans. I know what anyone knows about it: Bourbon Street, jazz, above-ground cemeteries, the storm. I know that like many places (and people), there’s a lot more to the story of New Orleans. A blogger I like moved there from California and I love her photos and depictions of the place. I know about the balconies. I know about the beignets (and how to pronounce them, and that if you breathe in whilst eating one the powdered sugar will send you into a choking fit). What I didn’t know: it’s tropically hot, people go there to PARTY (in all caps, I’m serious), it’s beyond friendly, courtyards and shutters abound, and you really have to watch your footing in the French Quarter because the sidewalks are crazy uneven. And get the hell outta the way of the streetcars, for pete’s sake!
Anyway. Did I mention how hot it is? It is hot. And the locals don’t even think it’s hot, at least not in late April. They’ll tell you summer is hot, but April and May is NOT summer. Summer, and hot, is July and August. Apparently the locals just up and leave then. I don’t know who runs the show there in the summer, but I wonder if they’re as friendly as all the people that I met? Who can be friendly with sweat dripping into your socks? I don’t know. I digress. It was hot, but I like hot. Mostly, anyway.
It’s hard to see much when you arrive late in the day and only have two full days after that before you leave the next morning. But we managed to pack a lot in, including seeing a private hush-hush house concert of some very talented jazz musicians, one of whom I am proud to say I know. I shot a roll of film. I took some digital photos. We ate some good food and sampled the local booze. We saw (and heard, and smelled) Bourbon Street. We got torrential-rained on.
I like that New Orleans feels like an old friend that you know so well, it doesn’t trouble itself to neaten the joint up when you come over because you’re just that comfortable around each other. It doesn’t even bother to ask you to accept it like it is–it just knows that you will. It embraces your faults just as easily, maybe more so.
Carry on, New Orleans. I only had a few days to take you in, but I’ll be back for more.