I’m a New Orleans girl, born and bred. There are so many things I love about this city. I mentioned it before in my intro post, but Chris Rose sums it up best: “We dance when there is no music. We drink at funerals. We talk too much and live too large and, frankly, we’re suspicious of those who don’t.”
I have a fickle relationship with Nola. Until I left for college and traveled to other cities, I didn’t know what else was out there. I developed a love affair with Baton Rouge, LSU and its ‘stately oaks and broad magnolias.’ I honestly thought I would plant roots there upon graduation. Yet like most college grads, I had little money and big ideas. Josh (then my fiancé, now my husband of 9 years) graduated a semester before me and chose to move back home with his parents and accept a job at West Jefferson hospital. It made financial sense, so I did the same upon graduation. Everything else just fell into place. A lot of our friends followed suit, but after Katrina many of them left. We debated doing the same but our families and jobs were here, as were our hearts. So we stayed. I now have a business and am raising a child here. I need my family around me.
When I visit friends in other cities like Dallas, Houston, Lafayette and as far away as Seattle, I sometimes daydream about living in a city like those. Cleaner, less crime, better schools, no imminent threat of hurricanes. But then when I come home and a total stranger says “How ya doin’, baby?” I remember what makes New Orleans special. We have traditions like nowhere else; a unique culture that runs through our veins. And let’s face it: New Orleanians live to eat. I miss the food when I leave. We talk about past meals and the next meal we want to have while sharing a delicious dinner. The only place I’ve been that didn’t have me longing for our food is Italy. It seems superficial, but it’s who we are.
I watched the news two days ago and saw that yet another child was shot. In the face. It’s ridiculous and makes me want to hightail it outta here. It’s a shame that our city has so much potential yet we are in the top 15 cities in the U.S. with more than 100 murders in 2012. We recently chose to move to Plaquemines Parish so we could be only 9 miles from the city but live with very little crime (only one murder in 2011) and good public schools. I still have to deal with hurricanes (which I loathe), but I just resolved myself to take the good with the bad. All I can do is pray that I am making the best choice for family. At the end of the day, I want to raise my family to love life here, and like our poster says, “always come home.”