Do You Know What It Means, To Miss New Orleans
“And miss it each night and day”
There are two kinds of people in the world. The kind of people who love New Orleans and the kind of people who don’t. Since 1947, when Billie Holiday and Louis Armstrong crooned “Do You Know What It Means” on the set of the movie New Orleans, the people who love NOLA have known exactly what it means. New Orleans isn’t just a place you visit. It’s a place you fall in love with. Lindsay and I fell in love in January of 2014, and have traveled back to the Crescent City six times since. This year was visit number seven, and included our first (and most likely last) trip for Mardi Gras Day.
Sometimes life is random. We were shopping in a grocery store in 2013 when I ran into a co-worker. She had traveled to New Orleans for years with her husband and had a timeshare there. That year, however, she wasn’t going to be able to make the trip as her husband was ill. She gave the timeshare to us. Just gave it. No request for payment. Nothing. Just a “You’ll love it there, I know it. Go have fun”. We had no idea that one trip would turn into us finding our second home.
I remember stepping out the doors of the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport into the Southern air and feeling this odd familiarity. The air feels different. Not just humid, even in January, but silky and smooth, like a slow jazz tune. We hopped into our cab heading to the Marigny. The cabbie was a lifelong resident and said simply “Why would I live anywhere else? This is the best city in the world”. We chatted about his life there, and as he dropped us off at the corner of Royal and Esplanade he said “Welcome home, ladies”.
And indeed, we were home. That first trip sparked a love affair with a city that is so unique words can't completely describe it. New Orleans is truly in it's own category. With it's origins stemming from French, Spanish, and Caribbean cultures the city holds a European look and feel with the relaxing vibe of Island life. There’s a mix of Voodoo and Christianity. Country charm and city flare. There are stories of pirates and Emperors and Voodoo Priestesses. You can rent a haunted apartment, see the best jazz musicians, take a ride down the Mighty Mississippi (or if you are really lucky a ride down Frenchman Street on a 6 swing contraption powered by a guy on a bike), and indulge in more food and drink then you thought possible. If the words “New Orleans” conjures up images of drunk frat boys on Bourbon Street trying to toss beads at topless women, then your idea of New Orleans needs to change.
There are so many things that we love about New Orleans that if you asked us what our favorite was, I don’t think we could answer. It’s the city we learned to love jazz in. It’s the city we got engaged in and the honeymooned in. It’s the only city that we ache for if we don’t head back every 6 months. We’ve been in the dead of Summer, celebrated Carnival Season, and experienced Southern Decadence. What is it about NOLA that has us so enamored? Simple; the people, the food and drink, the history, and the music.
Here at The Gypsy Wives we will be dedicating the next few posts to our love of New Orleans and it’s people, food, history, and music. If at the end of this anthology you are still the kind of person who doesn’t like New Orleans, it’s ok. We can still be friends. But I’ll probably never take your advice on, well, anything.
Until next time friends, Adventure On!