Sometimes I sit and think about my life and I wonder when it happened. When did I stop feeling like a Texan and begin to think of myself as a Louisianan…and more specifically a New Orleanian. Was it while I listened to a great little street band in the French Quarter? Or was it while I stood on St. Charles frantically waving my arms at strangers in hopes of catching plastic beads? Was it while I was eating red beans and rice on a Monday? Or the first time I saw a Mardi Gras Indian at Jazzfest? Did my first bite of king cake cause the transformation? I suspect that it happened gradually, but at some point it did happen. Despite spending the first twenty-eight years of my life as a Texan, it’s only the last sixteen that I’ve been “home.” I love New Orleans…plain and simple. The people. The music. The culture. The food. The architecture. Really, just all of it. Honestly, I came to Louisiana kicking and screaming, first to Shreveport (not my favorite part of the state…shhh), then to Mandeville, just across a very long bridge from New Orleans. Aside from a brief and very cold detour to Chicago, this has been my home for the last decade and a half. Both of my children were born here, and I’m not sure they even realize how lucky they are to be able to call someplace so unique home.
My time in South Louisiana did not start out on the best foot. My first visit to New Orleans was in December of 1996. Traffic was crazy because of the high school football championships at the Superdome. I stepped in vomit as soon as I got to Bourbon Street. Oh, and I happened to be pregnant at the time. I distinctly remember uttering the words “I would never live here!” only to eat those very words a mere four months later when a promotion brought us south. At that time, I didn’t really embrace the culture. With a new baby, I stayed in my suburban home all day and made very few trips into “the city.” It wasn’t until we moved back from Chicago in 2000 that I jumped in with both feet. Once I allowed myself to really experience New Orleans, she stole my heart. I can’t seem to get enough of the Crescent City, and I look for any excuse to cross that 24-mile bridge.
This blog will take a look at my favorite city from the perspective of a transplant who now considers herself a local. I hope to provide some insight into the city…maybe a few tips for those who plan to visit…and lots of pictures. I will be writing about things that I have experienced during my time here, and I hope to check some more things off my New Orleans bucket list and share them with you. And who knows…maybe you’ll be with me when I check off the ultimate bucket list entry and run into Lenny Kravitz in the Quarter. It will happen.:)