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Jun 25, 201012:00 AM
Joie d'Eve

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

The Greatest Show on Earth

In the fall and winter and spring, I was a much better mother. We went to the playground, we took long walks around the neighborhood identifying the blue-and-white letter tiles that spelled out street names, we played elaborate games of Puppy and Dogcatcher in the backyard.

But now it’s just too damn hot to do much of anything besides turn on the television and eat popsicles in our underwear.

Thankfully –– and just in time –– the circus is in town.

Last year, we took Ruby to the circus with my boss and a bunch of my other coworkers, and she had a good time. But when we asked her the next day what her favorite thing at the circus had been, she thought for a moment and then said, “Errol.”

This year, though, she got it. She loved the trapeze artists – probably a little too much; somehow my risk-averse body produced a child with a daredevil streak a mile wide who would hop on the trapeze in a hot minute if given the chance. She loved the clowns, all of whom she declared “fancy ladies.” She was fascinated by the puppy who wore a tutu and jumped rope. And she wanted to know all about the elephants: where they slept, what they ate, could they use the potty.

She ate $12 cotton candy, drank $9 lemonade and even charmed her way into a light-up spinning wand that we purchased for her at a cost that is unbearable to write down.

When I thought about raising a child in New Orleans, my first thoughts, obviously, were of the cultural richness that she’d get here that she wouldn’t get elsewhere: the Carnival parades, the vibrant arts scene that I myself grew up in, Jazz Fest, jazz brunches, jazz funerals.

And she gets that, obviously, with a healthy dose of Saints mania thrown in. (She and my husband flew back from seeing his parents last week, and as the plane touched down, Jamie said, “Ruby, we’re back home.” And she said, “Back in the Who Dat nation!”)

But for all the uniqueness of a snowball-stained jazz-infused New Orleans childhood, sometimes the universality of things like the circus is just perfect.

Any tips for surviving the New Orleans summer with a kid? Share them now.
 

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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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