Dec 11, 200912:00 AM
Joie d'Eve

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?
 

Reader Comments:
Dec 11, 2009 02:21 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

I saw the screening on Monday night with my husband, daughter and granddaughter (she's 3) and she really enjoyed it.

We all loved it. There was only one scene that was a little bit scary for my granddaughter, but other than that, she liked the movie and songs.

Dec 11, 2009 02:27 pm
 Posted by  Eileen O.

Eve, the only people who think New Orleanians are "helpless" are the bigots who've chosen never to go there; they don't want their cherished notions of superiority to be challenged. All the rest of us have done it out of love and the urgent desire to help however we can. (I was pushing 70 when I did my week with Habitat, still regretting only that I couldn't do more.) It remains, for me, the most powerful, magical, spirit-lifting place I've ever been -- and yes, I know about the crime ("white-collar" and other) and the poverty and the injustices that have oppressed too many people for too long. And still so many people bounce back! Y'all are amazing!

Dec 11, 2009 04:22 pm
 Posted by  Beth B.

Our family is so excited about the movie. We were coming to New Orleans tonight to see it, but a conflict arose. Although I have not seen it yet, one of the mansions shown in the movie is from our parish and we are evry proud of it. It is Nottoway Plantation, located it Iberville Parish. Come visit it sometime!

Dec 12, 2009 02:48 am
 Posted by  coralme

I do not think New Orleanians are helpless. I have truly fallen in love with your city. "The Princess and the Frog" sounds delightful. I plan to see it with or without my grandaughter!

Dec 12, 2009 02:48 am
 Posted by  coralme

I do not think New Orleanians are helpless. I have truly fallen in love with your city. "The Princess and the Frog" sounds delightful. I plan to see it with or without my grandaughter!

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Joie d'Eve

Living, loving, laughing, and learning in the new New Orleans

about

Eve is further proof, if any is needed, that New Orleans girls can never escape the city. After living here since the age of 3 and graduating from Ben Franklin High School, Eve moved to Columbia, Mo., where she received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Missouri School of Journalism and became truly, unhealthily obsessed with grammar.

She had originally intended to strike out to New York City and work in the cutthroat magazine industry there, but after Katrina, Eve felt a strong pull to return home, to her roots, her family, her waterlogged and struggling city – and a much more forgiving work atmosphere that would allow her to skip a routine of everyday makeup and size 0 designer label business suits and enjoy the occasional cocktail or three with an absurdly fattening lunch. She moved back home in January 2008 and lives in Mid-City with her two daughters, Ruby and Georgia; her stepson, Elliot; and her husband, Robert Peyton.

Eve blogs about the joys and struggles of living in post-Katrina New Orleans, the unique problems and delights of raising a child in such a diverse and challenging city – including her experiences with the public education system – and her always entertaining and extremely colorful family.

Eve has won numerous writing awards, including the Pirates Alley Faulkner Society Gold Medal, the Society of Professional Journalists Mark of Excellence award for column-writing and Press Club of New Orleans awards for her Editor’s Note in New Orleans Homes & Lifestyles and for this blog, most recently winning the award for "Best Feature Affiliated Blog."

She welcomes comments, advice, empty flattery, recipes, drink invitations and – most especially – grammatical or linguistic debates.

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