Dec 11, 200912:00 AM
Living, loving, laughing, and learning in the new New Orleans
Our Fairy Tale
The Princess and the Frog, set in New Orleans, opens nationwide today.
Before I had a child, I was annoyed with people who let their children scream in restaurants or took them to age-inappropriate movies where they talked and cried and threw popcorn.
“I’m sure that will change when I have a child,” I told myself.
And it did.
Now I out-and-out despise people who let their children scream in restaurants or take them to age-inappropriate movies where they talk and cry and throw popcorn.
“Get a babysitter,” I mutter to myself. “I’m paying for a babysitter while your kids ruin my night out.”
That being said, though, I’m debating bringing Ruby to see The Princess and the Frog this weekend. Yes, she’s not quite 3, so yes, I’m prepared to leave if she gets disruptive or bored or cranky. But I love the idea that the first movie she sees on the big screen will be set in her hometown.
I had the chance a few weeks ago to see the first 30 minutes of the movie with my colleague Morgan Packard. By the end of the opening credits, we were both wiping our eyes. And by the time it was all over, we’d both burst into tears about 25 times.
I’ve seen plenty of movies set in New Orleans, and it always makes me happy, but somehow the idea of animators hand-drawing frame after frame of St. Louis Cathedral and the streetcar and Garden District mansions just puts me over the top.
I’m not a Disney person at all, to be honest. I love Lady and the Tramp, but the princesses never really did it for me. But when I heard that this princess was from New Orleans, was the first black princess and could make a roux, I admit that I got excited.
Besides that, Princess Tiana is smart, savvy and a hard worker. She doesn’t rely on a fairy godmother –– she waits tables and caters parties and saves every penny. The formula that Tiana relies on, according to the filmmakers who were in town for the opening of the Dreams Come True exhibit at the New Orleans Museum of Art, is a little bit of magic and luck and a little bit of hard work and determination.
It’s hard to argue with that –– especially after last Sunday’s Saints game.
I want Ruby to understand that life as a woman is more than waiting for a prince –– that you make your own “happily ever after.” But more than that, I want her to appreciate that she lives in a city so amazing and lush and beautiful and romantic that Disney set a fairy tale here.
So many people, from Disney and Brad Pitt on down, have wanted to help New Orleans. And sometimes I wonder if they really think we’re that helpless or if they just fall in love with us and want to do whatever they can.
New Orleans isn’t a Disney princess; we don’t need a prince to save us; we don’t need a codependent relationship. But love? Who can turn down love? And who can argue with loving New Orleans?