Everybody has a city. Some people dig LA. Others want to fall in love in Paris. Some feel perfectly at home in Bali or Cape Town. Eugene, Oregon. Miami. Savannah, Georgia.
I’m dead gone on New Orleans.
I love Mardi Gras. Those Cajuns host one killer party. But my love for NOLA goes deeper than that.
It’s everything: the dignity, the decadence, the swelter and humidity, the local lore, the human handprints that make this city so richly cultured, so lived in, so authentic, so beloved.
New Orleans has presence. It’s sweeter than the brown sugar in a Louisiana praline, and as welcoming as the slow sway of ceiling fans whirling the night air on sweeping verandas. Food-wise, it’s some of the best South to put in your mouth: beignets, rich hot coffee, shrimp po boys, Zapp’s Voodoo Gumbo chips, Abita Root Beer, Creole jambalaya, and gumbo, gumbo, gumbo.
Some cities are identifiable by scent–for example, Harare, Zimbabwe smells of rain and wood smoke at Winter’s end–and New Orleans is one of them.
The New Orleans scent is a balmy, decadent incense of crawfish boil, barbecue, Jheri Curl, swamp water, perfume, cologne, cigar smoke, salty olives from muffalettas, and pipe tobacco. It is one of the most perfect smells on the planet.
The Lundi Gras my Nikon and I spent in the French Quarter was a red-letter day. I stepped out of the car to warmth, humidity, and a cover of Stevie Wonder’s “Do I Do” playing on the street, and the band was doing it justice. Which is saying something.
This is a city that rose up out of the water, a city where people still dance in the streets.
So tell me, my dear readers, which city has carried away a little piece of your heart?
Inspired by Dizzy Gillespie and Mama Carol’s Louisiana Pralines.
© IndyInk and Grits and Bottle Rockets, 2010-2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of text or images without express and written permission from this blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used by permission if full and clear credit is given to IndyInk with specific direction to the original content.