New Orleans – A Visit Home
Something I wrote about my childhood home, pre-Katrina. Just found it…
So the city was amazing. Breathtaking, fast, buzzing, vibrating. It was just as I remembered it. The place that used to be my home. It’s funny, there is no place like New Orleans. I’ve been to plenty of big cities, and some of them are completely unlike any other. Most of them, though, are very much the same. But New Orleans. God, New Orleans. Is there any other place so free, so easy, as New Orleans? Walking down the streets of the Quarter, I realized what I hadn’t realized when I lived there. The city vibrates of sex. The bodies, the sweat, the heat. It is filled with passion. It sings a song of multiple orgasm to one’s soul. So many places I have been where the downtown buzzes the hymn of business. You can feel the city’s efficiency. But in New Orleans (dare I call it home anymore?)… in New Orleans the city whispers in your ear that it’s ok. Take a break, get a cafe au lait and a trio of beignets. Life in the south moves more slowly they say. To some extent, I would agree. But its slowness is deliberate, something the people do so that they don’t miss life by trying to live it too quickly.
So many memories. So much time. I tried to drink in the city, to not miss a single morsel of what has made me who I am. For too long, I have forgotten. I had forgotten what it feels like to climb the low limbs of the oaks in City Park. I had forgotten how truly ugly the lights of Al Copeland’s house are during the holidays. And I had forgotten what it felt like to be with D, my best friend growing up. Together, she and I are like nothing I’ve seen before. Invincible, unstoppable, beautiful. We drove like maniacs, we stuck up our noses at the college boys turning their heads, we did what we wanted when we chose with no one to stop us. It was just like old times. Damn, I love that woman. She is the center of what I used to be. And I am proud of what I used to be. Damn proud.
We drove by the old places, but we hung out at new ones. The memories, for both of us, are too great. She creamed me in pool, and yet took my arm for protection from the 50 bums we encountered by our poorly parked pimp-mobile. HA! Things are still the same.
It was difficult to leave all these things. The landmarks of my childhood are still standing strong, very little has changed. I didn’t get to do half of the things I was hoping to get done, but how do you reminisce a lifetime in only a few days? So, no Cafe du Monde for me, no Esplanade Mall, no Chapelle or Rummel. Perhaps another time.
And now I am home. Home home. Back to the slow life, the countryside, the hills and farms and fruit trees. Back to my awesome little cottagey house with its great backyard, the skinny country roads, the snow and cold. But I do love it here. I love the family and my home and my routine. Many days I miss the never-ending fun of the city. But just as we had to take a break for cafe au lait and beignets to stay sane and happy, I must be here in the white blanketed northern country, with my family, who keep me sane and happy.