Nov 5, 201012:00 AM
Living, loving, laughing, and learning in the new New Orleans
My friend Vera recently took a job as development associate with Greater New Orleans Inc. One of the really amazing things that’s happening in the city post-Katrina is the influx of bright, energetic young people who have come here to make a difference. I love that they love the city. I love that they want others to love the city. But I find it hard to trust people who have never eaten a Hubig’s Pie.
Vera is, like me, a New Orleans native, but some of her colleagues are – while every bit as passionate about New Orleans as we are – from other places and still finding new things to love.
So she and I started brainstorming the other day about the New Orleans primer we’d like to be able to give to all newcomers.
Her original list looked like this:
• Hansens vs. Plum St
• Oysters at Pascal’s Manale
• Tuesday Rebirth at Maple Street
• Steamboat houses
• Brunch at Elizabeth’s
• Rocky & Carlo's
• The Point, Lakefront - Lake Vista
• Russell’s Marina Grill
• Lakeview Market
• City Park: Sculpture Garden, Big Lake, Carousel Gardens, Celebration in the Oaks
• Trivia at Finn McCools
• Strawberry Festival
• Saturday night at Mimi’s
• Jean Lafitte Park & Boudreauxs
• Jazz Fest
• Mardi Gras - St. Ann’s, kids on ladders on St. Charles Avenue
But then, because I am way more anal and structured than creative, artistic Vera, I started trying to make an outline. God, I love outlines. Our brainstorm session, conducted online, looked like this:
Me: crawfish bread
Vera: right! but you can't do crawfish bread until jazz fest
Me: right, but you can't do jazz fest without crawfish bread
Me: LET’S MAKE AN OUTLINE!!!
like I. Carnival
A. King Cakes
1. If you get the baby, you buy the next one
Me: 2. Fillings are gross
Vera: there's a whole thing with that
Fillings are NOT gross!
Me: yes, they are!
Vera: 3. You'll never have McKenzie's
Me: mmmmm, mckenzie’s. i miss mckenzie’s.
ok, so then B. Parades
Vera: B. KREWES
We kind of lost it there, overwhelmed by the sheer number of krewes and superkrewes and Rex and “If Ever I Cease to Love” and beads versus fancy throws –– and so we stopped.
And as much as I love a good outline, I think she might have had the right idea initially with her free-associating kind of list. A place as diverse and low-key and loose and friendly and fun as New Orleans maybe doesn’t lend itself to an structured, caged-in outline. You can’t force the rough edges of New Orleans into a rigid form like an outline. Jazz and red beans and Spanish moss and other New Orleans clichés would come oozing over the sides; there would be so much you’d lose in outline form.
But our list, in any form, is far from done. What would you add?