May 15, 201309:57 AM
Dispatches from a New Orleans Newcomer
What You Need to Move to New Orleans
This is one of the first pictures I took of New Orleans.
One of my friends from high school is moving to New Orleans and I’m excited. She’s in town this week and I’m planning on giving her a tour tonight so she can get a quick glimpse of the city.
My friend has already asked me a few questions and it's made me think about when Chris and I moved here less than a year ago and how there are a few things that really helped me and a few other items I wish people had told me I would need. I’ve listed some items below that I think all Nola newbies should have. If you’re headed down to New Orleans, I suggest you purchase these things because they will save you sad texts home and keep you less stressed. Here are the items you should bring:
New Orleans can be a confusing place when you first move here because there are a lot of one-way streets and confusing intersections. A GPS – that stands for global positioning system – is crucial. I gave Chris a Garmin GPS for graduation from grad school, but I use it more than he does. The Garmin gives better directions than the iPhone GPS and it doubles as a source of entertainment. For example, the Garmin says “Robert East Lee Boulevard” instead of “Robert E. Lee Boulevard.” Chris and I laugh every time.
Solid Driving Skills
On the topic of driving in New Orleans, it does take some practice. I am still getting used to the drivers and roads here. You have to make a ton of U-Turns and you have to wait a moment after the light turns green, as many drivers tend to speed through red lights at the last second. Be cautious and patient when you’re driving around New Orleans because a lot of the roads are different from other places in the U.S. You will also encounter huge potholes. They make me long for a better off-road vehicle than my Honda Accord.
For our first trip to New Orleans to look at housing options, Chris and I drove from Missouri to Louisiana. My car's air conditioning broke along the way and it was miserable. (The fact that it happened at a creepy Arkansas gas station that had slot machines and a one-eyed cashier made it more miserable.) Make sure your AC is in good condition if you are moving to New Orleans in the summer. Also, don't be afraid to crank up the AC in your apartment; it will put you in a better mood.
Buy rain boots. You will need them, especially when you learn that flooding in New Orleans is common and sometimes you have to trudge through the world’s biggest puddle to get to your car. I like Hunter rain boots and mine have gotten a lot of use on rainy New Orleans days. They were also perfect for the mud at Jazz Fest.
Chris and I didn’t have a weather radio when we moved here, which was rough because Hurricane Isaac hit the first month I was here. When the power went out, we went to buy a weather radio but they were all sold out. Plan ahead because you never know when the next hurricane will swing through.
I love Twitter and it can be a great resource when you’re moving to New Orleans. For me it helped when I had to deal with Hurricane Isaac because I learned lots of random facts that helped me get through the hot days without electricity, such as which restaurants were open and when the power was supposed to come back on. Twitter is also a great way to connect with other New Orleans transplants. (Follow me @haleyadams25!)
A reader of this blog once emailed me this:
“I thought I would let you know I’ve coined a new term for NOLA newbies: instead of the Freshman 15, it’s the French Quarter 40. Good luck with your quest to keep the lb’s off, it’s so hard!”
I recommend having a bathroom scale just because those poor boys, beignets, daiquiris and all those other tasty New Orleans treats are sometimes very hard to say no to. Make Michelle Obama proud and keep an eye on the pounds.
I used to think Halloween was the only holiday that required a costume, but there are lots of opportunities for costumes in New Orleans. If you plan to live here for a while, start collecting costume pieces so you're ready for Halloween and Mardi Gras.
Something To Do When You Miss Home
Even though New Orleans is a fun city and there are always things to do, you will most likely feel homesick at some point, no matter where you’re from. It’s nice to have something of comfort when you need to take a break from your new city. For me, it’s my Gilmore Girls DVDs. Whatever makes you happy when you’re having a down day, make sure you bring it with you.
If you have any other items you think my friend and future New Orleans resident will need, let me know in the comments section. I can promise she and other Nola newbies will appreciate the advice.