In a city known for many a tune, a style, a culture and a story, New Orleans always finds ways to surprise and thrill me. Maybe it’s the history. Or maybe it’s the cuisine. Maybe it’s the great people you meet along the way. There is something to be said for how the Crescent City has in it’s own right been a staple for many a personal adventure.
I have had the luxury of enough trips to NOLA to have pretty great handle of it’s attraction.
I have been on ghost tours, had a straight razor shave off Magazine St., seen Jackson Square for late night palm reading and beignets. I have sailed the Riverboat Natchez, taken in the sounds of a busking musician, enjoyed an adult beverage at a vintage Carousel bar. I have walked the cemeteries and seen the water lines stricken across architecture far older than multiple generations might remember. I have crossed paths with sirens in burlesque shows, I have lost a nominal amount of money at the largest area casino, I have traveled Bourbon, Frenchman and Canal. I have toured a studious campus in Loyola, traveled on the street cars with seats that flip depending on the direction you travel, and had a Sno-Ball (which a former coworker assured me was different than a Snocone). I have stepped in with a Second line for David Bowie, I have thrown a plastic toy grenade from a the bottom of a glass into a net above a bar, all readily before rolling out of a bed and enjoying a hearty breakfast at The Ruby Slipper.
This is the New Orleans that I know and love to return to. It has been there in good times and poor. And, I think unlike any other city I have traveled to, New Orleans knows how to celebrate in both feast and famine. New Orleans parades during rain or shine, knowing that neither is guaranteed to last. And in the fragility of uncertainty is a lust for life.
I never really understood Harry Connick, Jr.’s buzz. I think I was a little to young to understand him as a ladies man, or music prodigy. But, recently, I saw him hosting a television show. Maybe it was late night? Maybe it was a daytime piece? But, what I think was really telling of the pianist was a classic New Orleans charm in the way he interacted with guests and audience members alike.
New Orleans is never at a loss for storied musicians and songs. When considering a location that hosts the Mardi Gras floats year round, I was tempted to pull a selection from the classic songbooks of Louis Armstrong or Fats Domino, but I found the indelible charm of Connick, Jr. and the now passed Dr. John to reflect about how I truly feel about New Orleans. I miss it, more each day that passes that I am gone. But, until I make it back, I’ll remember to celebrate like I know tomorrow is never promised.