Interview with an 8-year-old
When Ruby got back from St. Louis two weeks ago, I promised her I’d take a couple of days off of work and we would enjoy some uninterrupted Mommy and Ruby Time. I have been too busy to make good on that promise until recently, but I finally cleared a bunch of work off of my desk. We spent two days doing very little beyond eating beignets, going to the movies, having living room picnics with takeout from Mona’s and watching “Barefoot Contessa” while making barf noises whenever Ina Garten put raisins into anything (we hate raisins).
Because I was reluctant to interrupt our time to write and because I was curious about her perspective on New Orleans after spending three weeks in St. Louis, I decided to interview Ruby for this column. I have conducted many, many interviews since I first decided to become a journalist at the age of 14, but I can honestly say this is the first one I’ve ever conducted with the subject alternating between sitting on my lap and braiding my hair. I will also say, however, that she and I had the benefit of instant rapport.
Me: What do you think makes New Orleans special? Ruby: Well, it’s a great place and has things that other cities don’t, like Mardi Gras. And we always are willing to try new food and new things. We’re risk-takers. Some places, they use crawfish for bait and wouldn’t even think about eating it – but they’re missing out because it’s delicious. Also, like, they might not eat red beans and rice because it kind of does look mushy and gross, but it’s so good. Also, people here are nicer and really easy to talk to.
Me: What is your favorite thing about New Orleans? Ruby: Parades. Food. People. And crawfish. Definitely crawfish.
Me: What did you think when you went to the Fourth of July parade in St. Louis? Ruby: I thought, “Why don’t they throw anything good?” They just handed out a bunch of bubble gum. And, I mean, bubble gum is fine, but not as good as, like, my favorite all-time throws, which were probably fairy wings; cool, cool glasses, which I think were from Muses; an umbrella from Zulu; and a shoe, which was obviously from Muses. People in St. Louis would think you were crazy if you told them it was cool to catch a shoe from a float, but that’s just because they don’t get it.
Me: What do you want other people to know about New Orleans? Ruby: It has some amazing people and some delicious food. Everyone is friendly. No one has a Southern accent. There is so much water here, and I love it – the docks out on Lake Pontchartrain are amazing. And Hurricane Katrina was really, really bad, but it was a long time ago – before I was even born – and it’s not like it’s still gross and yucky here. I wish people would just stop talking about Hurricane Katrina and move on because it’s just, like, a bad thing that happened, but a lot of good things have happened since, but if too many people talk about Katrina, then other people might not want to move here.
Me: Are you ever going to move away? Ruby: No. There’s no way.
Me: Not even for college? Ruby: Well, OK, maybe for college. But of course I will come right back as soon as I graduate.
Excerpted from Eve Crawford Peyton’s blog, Joie d’Eve, which appears each Friday on MyNewOrleans.com.