If you travel, you realize how horrible the infrastructure is in New Orleans and what a dirty and unkempt city it is. The roads and highways are horrific. Some sink holes are so huge, you can fall in and never return. But being a savvy New Orleans native, you learn how to curve around that sink hole and stay alive. Understand nothing ever gets done on time and the natives who live there adapt and learn that there is no such thing as a deadline. Deciding what your delicious next meal will be is far more important than repairing a part of a street. It’s exasperating knowing there is no repair person in sight or a strange person just released from prison arrives, he looks at the pothole and you never see him again.  Living in the city is hard and slow and some people cannot adjust. It is not a cookie-cutter place. Such a juxtaposition of many elements inside the city leaves one growing up with a very vivid imagination and becoming a risk taker.  We get used to monsoons constantly and flooding all the time. I cannot count the amount of times I have had to leave my car underwater at work and walk home. No explanation needed for owning many cars in my lifetime.

Orleans and Bourbon Streets Sign in New Orleans

New Orleans is jungle hot most of the time and I don’t like cold weather. There is not enough hair spray to help one’s hair looking right, so forget it. Not even a can of Aqua Net can solve this huge hair problem. We know how to find breathable clothes and deal with it. Consumption of alcohol is extremely common in the city but you don’t have to morph into an alcoholic if you grow up in the city.  I just happen not to enjoy drinking but also am aware that if I call a cab, cabbie could be drunk. It is what it is. It is a party town. If you enjoy quiet, it is best to pack as soon as possible and relocate. There is great music in the air in almost every neighborhood in the city and is totally common to see people dancing while “making groceries” or just walking down the street. We are born with rhythm and gotta move dem bones. We are not quiet people by nature. You will find that out dining in any restaurant.

Old New Orleans Building with Balconies

My city has the best food in the world and many of us are champion foodies. There are countless restaurants and they are the heart beat of the city. I consider myself well-traveled and always think New Orleans food is better than anywhere I travel. It is a gumbo mix of people – French, Spanish, Caribbean, German and the list goes on.  You can eat like a king or a pauper – every bite is delicious.

Rich flavors of the South creamy, buttery grits succulent shrimp and a flavorful broth. South Carolina style Southern hospitality, Southern food, nola food, New Orleans, Cajun, glass of rose’

I personally find New Orleans beautiful. The moss, landscape, scents of sweet olive everywhere, cascading bougainvillea in every color, oak trees hundreds of years old. It is almost like the dirt is magical and everything beautiful grows there.  New Orleans is also such a historical city. I could not help but select to write my thesis on the architecture of the city. I adore the cemeteries (Cities of the Dead), old buildings, decay, rust, shotgun homes and mansions that decorate the city looking like gigantic wedding cakes on the streets. 

Oak Alley Plantation, Louisiana

I know it is not easy to grow up in New Orleans and realize it may eventually disappear due to being under sea level. I am so grateful that I spent a lifetime there. It made me a writer and storyteller and a person who is very open and caring to strangers.  What a magical place I grew up in!