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New Orleans, My Home

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posted on Aug, 18 2011 @ 04:55 PM
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Imagine turning on all of the faucets in the bathroom, doors and windows closed. Let the steam rise, envelop you. Take a deep, open-mouthed breath. Feel the hot wetness fill your lungs, the almost suffocating feeling...thick enough to cut with a knife. This is the experience of breathing South Louisiana air on most clear days. I did that for 19 years.

I couldn't wait to leave. The poverty, the crime, the weather, the air. Never did I imagine how much a part of me it had become. How my very blood would tingle at the thought of never returning. My mind kept intruding on those wistful memories, telling me "nuh-uh". Those wistful memories, though, stirred my soul.

I still have my life-long dream of living in the English or Irish countryside, but that comes from past lives, not this one. This life is pulling me home, home to New Orleans. My first love has returned there. My best friends live there. My history lives there.

Backwater bayous, seafood I couldn't eat, oil rigs on barges floating down river. Cemeteries with above-ground crypts so the bodies don't float away.



Nights on Bourbon Street, stopping into every bar.



Riding the St. Charles street cars.



Sitting in a custom-built seat atop a ladder on Canal Street watching truck parades at Mardi Gras, screaming, "Throw me sumthin' mistah!" like the millions of other people around me.



Going to the Pirate Jean Lafitte



and the Marie Laveau



museums near Jackson Square with the giant statue of Andrew Jackson on a horse,



surrounded by a low, black, wrought-iron fence and street artists set up around it.



Always wishing someone would take me for a carriage ride. Coffee with chicory and beignets



at the Morning Call Cafe'



on Fat Tuesday morning.

The Camellia Grill



downtown with a line to get in so long that as soon as you remove the napkin from your lap and lay it down, you are required to pay and leave. No sitting for after dinner coffee and chat. The po-boy sandwich shops in out-of-the-way, street corner hole-in-the-walls that leave gravy and mayonnaise dripping off your chin.




Watching Harry Connick, Jr. grow up, hearing Pete Fountain, or the Neville Brothers, play in some open-front dive bar, where they don't advertise.



You just happen by and watch a show, have a drink.



It's a place where they are proud to have had Huey P. Long, and other openly crooked politicians running the show because they were family. I turn on world news now and remember when Charles Zewe was a local reporter. I look at parades in various places, or on TV, and scoff because they are poor substitutes for the real thing. Marching in Mardi Gras parades was just as fun as watching them from the sidelines.

Watching the Superdome being built



and hearing my brother call it the "Soupydome" every time we crossed the Greater New Orleans (GNO) Bridge. Attending Saints football games, even when they couldn't win at all, or watching them faithfully on TV. Finally having hope for them with Morten Anderson kicking and Jim Mora coaching. (Finally realizing that dream with Drew Brees and the 2009 team.)

Living in SOUTH South Louisiana - in the toe of the boot. So many memories: the banana spiders with webs stretched across the driveway at face height,



the nutria,



alligators, deer flies, the Cow Incident, the voodoo fires in the swamp behind the house and drums echoing in the stillness, the sinkhole in the driveway, the swarms of bees and wasps in my room, the Horse Incident, the Christmas Tree Incident, and so much more.

Yes, all of this I look back on fondly. Going to the drive-thru frozen daiquiri shops



and then going to Fort Jackson



on prom night and hearing the alligators in the reservoir sing and grunt. Collecting baby frogs on the river side of the levee. The floods, the hurricanes. Swimming in the front yard after those. Playing slip-n-slide on the smooth concrete of the carport with a running water hose. Deep sea fishing, 70 miles out, tied up to an oil rig, catching 300 to 600 pound grouper with a giant hook and a rope.



Throwing five hook lines and catching five snapper on them. Getting burnt to a crisp, sleeping on the flying bridge of the same deep sea fishing boat, and then spending a week in bed with sun poisoning, but loving it because Wimbledon was on at the same time.

Does everyone have memories as rich, dark, and fulfilling as these? Maybe they belong solely to Louisiana, solely to New Orleans and its suburbs. I don't know, but these memories are mine, and for the first time, I treasure them.

The most romantic night I ever had was the night of my first love's prom. His twin brother and his date, our best friends (who were dating and then later married), and he and I, all together after the prom at the Cafe' du Monde



at the edge of the MoonWalk on the River.



My hoopskirt getting torn on one of the wrought-iron chairs. Climing into the back of the limo (while Fred, the chauffeur was stretched out on the front seat reading Spider Man comic books.) and taking the hoop skirt off, leaving only the dress, now flowing loosely around my legs while I laughed and shivered with excitement. My love taking my hand and walking out on the MoonWalk with me, under the light of the moon sparkling off of the river, with a soft breeze blowing. His arm around me as we gazed at the river while he told me he loved me.

I have never felt that safe, that sense of mystery in the air, that way, since then. Maybe it was just us that made it feel that way, but I am sure the magic of a New Orleans night helped.

Sure, bad things happened there too.



Don't they everywhere? But my memories of the bad are just as vital as the ones of the good. As a whole, they make me who I am. They make New Orleans what it is...the most magical, most culturally diverse city in the world. It is my home, as I now realize, and some part of me will always reside there, even if I don't physically live there. My heart still lingers around the old Live Oaks in City Park



and Audubon Park.



I still see the shrimp boats with their nets cast out like huge wings in the Gulf of Mexico.



I still hear the distinctive sounds of New Orleans Jazz, and the sharp smell of the shrimp boil seasonings. I still taste the bitterness of Dixie Beer.



I still feel my first love's arm around me on that moonlit night.

I crave the romance of the city, which, even when it is at its dirtiest, when the grime of it won't wash off, New Orleans is pregnant with. Would I move back there? Every day the answer is just a little more yes.




edit on 18-8-2011 by Ceriddwen because: punctuation, grammar




posted on Aug, 18 2011 @ 05:04 PM
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only one word:

beautiful



posted on Aug, 18 2011 @ 05:06 PM
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reply to post by notsosunny
 


Thank you so much. I hope it gave you an idea of what it is like to be there.



posted on Aug, 18 2011 @ 05:09 PM
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reply to post by Ceriddwen
 


This is a really awesome post. Im from Iowa myself. Des Moines. Been most everywhere in this country but never New Orleans. Always wanted to visit and then Katrina happened. Then I heard nothing but horror stories and people telling me to never go there. Ive always been intrigued and curious. I always saw it as a beautiful city and state. Amazing cultures, food, people, and enviroment.

These pictures, whatever you intention, provided me the motivation to travel there someday soon.

Any advice you can give would be great.

Thanks.


Referring to the Pictures: One Word

AMAZING
edit on 18-8-2011 by kellynap43 because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 18 2011 @ 05:21 PM
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Originally posted by kellynap43
reply to post by Ceriddwen
 



These pictures, whatever you intention, provided me the motivation to travel there someday soon.

Any advice you can give would be great.

Thanks.


Referring to the Pictures: One Word

AMAZING
edit on 18-8-2011 by kellynap43 because: (no reason given)


Thank you! The pictures accomplished my goal, then. I wanted people to see what I was talking about, and then want to go there themselves. I recommend visiting every spot I mentioned, and then seeking out the backwater places, like the hole-in-the-wall po-boy shops, etc. Mardi Gras is fabulous, make sure to go in a group and not alone. Drink a frozen daiquiri and a Dixie Beer, out on Bourbon Street. Cops don't care then, just play nice.

If you have any questions about where to go, keeping in mind that I have not been back in over 20 years, I would be thrilled to talk to you about them.



posted on Aug, 18 2011 @ 05:22 PM
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OP,
Thank you.
That was great.
Don't know if you've been around lately but things are going pretty great down here. Not now, mind you. It is like 800 degrees outside and damper n hell. Plus we're in the season of fear (late Aug-end of September). But in general, a lot has been revitalized. Many areas are better than they were pre-K. Even with the oil spill one year behind us, there is a lot of reason to look forward to NO's future.
Not sure I would've included the nutria

Peace...and Laissez le Bon Temps Roulez!

louieprima
Old Metry



posted on Aug, 18 2011 @ 05:28 PM
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Originally posted by louieprima
OP,
Thank you.
That was great.
Don't know if you've been around lately but things are going pretty great down here. Not now, mind you. It is like 800 degrees outside and damper n hell. Plus we're in the season of fear (late Aug-end of September). But in general, a lot has been revitalized. Many areas are better than they were pre-K. Even with the oil spill one year behind us, there is a lot of reason to look forward to NO's future.
Not sure I would've included the nutria

Peace...and Laissez le Bon Temps Roulez!

louieprima
Old Metry


Oh come on! Nutria are a staple there! I had a dog that loved nothing better than killing and eating them.


It has been a long time since I went back, and yeah, this is the time of year that I would seriously second guess any decision to go, but I do miss it and have been keeping abreast of the news there for a while now.

Thank you for responding, and I absolutely agree with you, New Orleans will be back completely and better than ever. The people there don't know how to not make that happen.

PS, GEAUX SAINTS!



posted on Aug, 18 2011 @ 05:59 PM
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I felt as much as read your story and it brought back very fond memories.
I originally lived in Slidell back in 78-82 and all though it was not where I grew up it quickly became home.
New Orleans was very much a part of my memories of living in Louisiana and it was part of what brought me back to Slidell 30 years later.
There is something about this area that will grab you and hold on to you forever and your imagery was very close to being the memories I had of living here a long time ago and what brought me back.
I guess if I had to describe it I would say it is the realism of life in this area. There is no fake to what is here and what will be here. It has been that way for hundreds of years.
Thanks for sharing your images and memories, they were beautiful in so many ways.

PS. Come on home lost one

edit on 18-8-2011 by LAMudd because: added PS



posted on Aug, 18 2011 @ 06:11 PM
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Nicely done! Thanks for sharing and yes, I see it and feel it through your eyes. I've always wanted to visit and now I know I will get there. I love the south and visit the Gulf Coast (Florida) yearly so understand the love for the ocean and the wildlife, etc. Really enjoyed the pics. Great job! S & F from me!



posted on Aug, 18 2011 @ 06:24 PM
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Originally posted by LAMudd
I felt as much as read your story and it brought back very fond memories.

Thanks for sharing your images and memories, they were beautiful in so many ways.

PS. Come on home lost one

edit on 18-8-2011 by LAMudd because: added PS


I am glad you found pleasure and fond memories reading my post. I am sure that everyone has fond memories of their childhood places, but something about New Orleans and its suburbs just trumps that. One would have to be there or have been there to understand it.

Honestly, I don't see myself ever living there again, but I cannot predict the future. I want very badly to go back and see it all again, what has changed and what hasn't. Memories are bittersweet and while I wouldn't change any of mine, at my middle age, I am not sure I want the thick wet air and heat in my life again on a permanent basis. My heart will always be there, though, as will a large part of my soul.



posted on Aug, 18 2011 @ 06:26 PM
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Originally posted by queenofsheba
Nicely done! Thanks for sharing and yes, I see it and feel it through your eyes. I've always wanted to visit and now I know I will get there. I love the south and visit the Gulf Coast (Florida) yearly so understand the love for the ocean and the wildlife, etc. Really enjoyed the pics. Great job! S & F from me!


Thank you Queen! I truly hope you do go there. I know you will fall in love too. I lived in Florida for years as well, and the ocean there is the best there is, IMO, but something about New Orleans will capture and hold you for forever.



posted on Aug, 18 2011 @ 06:49 PM
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reply to post by Ceriddwen
 


Yeah You Rite!
Who Dat
I'm too young to have seen the Nevilles or Connick play in normal clubs, but I gotta tell ya, Rebirth Brass Band, Kermit Ruffins, and Trombone Shorty are the stars of the future.
I have seen Pete Fountain play in Bay St. Louis. Still plays a clarinet like a champion.
And I'm too young to remember the Dome being built but I was there for the NFC Championship game and it is one of my greatest memories.
Get your butt back down here and eat some real food!!!



posted on Aug, 18 2011 @ 07:20 PM
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Originally posted by louieprima
reply to post by Ceriddwen
 


Yeah You Rite!
Who Dat

Get your butt back down here and eat some real food!!!


Well, it seems that I am quite a bit older than you are, sigh. Graduated high school in '85. I miss the roast beef po-boys the most. SO much! That and real gumbo and jambalaya, and real red beans and rice with cornbread. Having grown up on New Orleans Jazz, when I listen to mainstream jazz now, it is just so much noise to me. Nothing like NO Jazz.



posted on Aug, 18 2011 @ 09:17 PM
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I feel as if you tapped into my soul on that one.
I have never lived in New Orleans, but I did "live" in New Orleans.

I have been to New Orleans only four times now (pre and post Katrina) but somewhere in my heart and soul, I know that I lived a lifetime there.

For some strange reason, about every year and a half, I get that funny feeling again. Like I am being beckoned. Like I am being called home.

People that know me find it strange that I would continue to visit the same place, over and over again. Mind you, I have not yet been to an island, but I would like to. I have always wanted to see England - but haven't. The list goes on...It's almost as if I would feel guilty if I went anywhere else. I cry when I get there and I cry when I leave. How many other places in the world can bring a non-emotional person to such a state of being?

Again, thank you for so beautifully and eloquently taping into my heart and soul. I am hoping to jump back on tomorrow and share with you some of my favorite pictures.



posted on Aug, 18 2011 @ 09:24 PM
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reply to post by harlot7
 

In its pure natural, pre-European colonization state, New Orleans was effectively an island. it was originally called "the Isle of Orleans".
Come back down and visit again!
and thanks again OP.



posted on Aug, 18 2011 @ 09:35 PM
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Originally posted by harlot7
I feel as if you tapped into my soul on that one.
I have never lived in New Orleans, but I did "live" in New Orleans.

I have been to New Orleans only four times now (pre and post Katrina) but somewhere in my heart and soul, I know that I lived a lifetime there.

Again, thank you for so beautifully and eloquently taping into my heart and soul. I am hoping to jump back on tomorrow and share with you some of my favorite pictures.


You have been there, you have felt the magic of the place. It is the magic that calls you. I look forward to the pictures you have. Can't wait to see them!

Thank you for your warm and kind words. Look forward to talking with you more about this incredible place!



posted on Aug, 18 2011 @ 11:41 PM
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While I fully consider myself an American, New Orleans, and Louisiana in general, is a place that supercedes nationalism. Spain first explored our area(going from a European standpoint), France first claimed and colonized it. Spain later took it. England took over a part. Spain then ran England out as a campaign during the American Revolution. Most was given back to France, Then sold to the U.S. The North shore of Lake Pontchartrain then rebelled against Spain, became its own Republic, then was annexed into the state of Louisiana. Of course we joined the Confederacy but if you look at Louisiana's history, our racial history is certainly unique, if not perfect. Anyway, not defending the lesser aspects of the Sportsman's Paradise, just recounting my state's history. It aint Nebraska or Colorado. We have a wacked (and awesome) history. We are a major part of the South, and the nation, but also a player in the Caribbean community. We are New Orleans. Regardless of what happens with the economy and nation states, we will survive.



posted on Aug, 19 2011 @ 01:27 AM
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reply to post by louieprima
 


Great job on the mini-history lesson! I remember that my 8th grade Louisiana history class was very much about politics since that topic is so colorful there, but I remember much of what you said as well. Thank you for sharing and any other info you might want to include, please do so!



posted on Aug, 19 2011 @ 01:58 AM
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that was great! thank you. i lived in nola for a little over a year, building jazzland, back in the late 90s. i have never been in a place that i felt more at home at than there. i miss it every day. i even left my family, last year to clean up the oil, mainly because it was a chance to give something back to a place that had given me sooo many memories. you have to go back, you know?



posted on Aug, 19 2011 @ 02:07 AM
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i'm moving to new orleans in a month. i don't know much about it... but this was beautiful.



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