Thursday, July 2, 2009

What I Learned in New Orleans

I learned that life in the big easy hasn’t always been easy. That New Orleans never sleeps. That 95 degrees with 98% humidity feels like 110 degrees.

I learned that you can stay cool on the swamp tour until the boat stops. That alligators like marshmallows and that KRAFT marshmallows hold up the best in hot, humid conditions.

I learned that New Orleans is the home of Judy, who works at the Houmas House and is the most lively tour guide on the entire continent.

I learned that in New Orleans a taxi driver can talk non-stop from downtown to the airport during rush hour. That Emeril’s Restaurant takes reservations until 1:00 AM but that if you really want a normal dinnertime reservation you should call a few months ahead of time.

I learned that New Orleans is much, much more than just Bourbon Street. It is a city with a complex yet fascinating history. A city full of incredible restaurants, beautiful homes and friendly people. A city full of Stanley’s and Ashley’s, teachers and waiters, musicians and streetcar drivers. A city full of people who when asked will gladly tell you their story and the story of their fascinating city. They will draw you into their world and you will come out with a greater understanding of why even though so many never returned after Hurricane Katrina, so many more chose to stay. It is where their family and heritage are. It is where they grew up listening to and singing the songs of New Orleans. And as Stanley our tour guide said so eloquently with his New Orleans accent, no matter where you live you have to put up with something. In the south it’s hurricanes, in the midwest it’s tornados and in the north it’s the ice and snow. New Orleans is home and that’s where he’s staying.