It’s a well-known fact that this city loves its traditions: Red beans on Monday. King Cakes on Jan. 6. Bonfires on the levees.
There are blogs I could write again and again: Must-eat Jazz Fest foods. Mardi Gras survival guide. Hurricane season tips.
But the tradition I could do without is spring floods, and the blog I would be happy to never write again is the “my car flooded” post that I last wrote in August 2010 and then revisited seven years later after the August 2017 floods.
Alas, my Mother’s Day was not spent getting a pedicure while sipping bottomless mimosas but rather – just like nine years ago – “pulling about 70 pounds of sodden books, toys, clothes and disintegrating Cheetos out of my car.”
In what I guess is a sign I have moved up in the world in the past decade, I at least now have comprehensive coverage on my car, so I am waiting on insurance adjustors instead of throwing down kitty litter and hoping for the best.
But I just get so tired of it all.
I know it’s not news that New Orleans floods. It’s always flooded. It’s a bowl at the bottom of the Mississippi River that is also surrounded by a lake. I get it.
I don’t expect it not to flood. I don’t even really expect the pumps to work – and even if they did, there’s only so much they can do. I just wish it were easier to live here.
This is a magical city, and more than that, it’s my home.
Although I love hearing stories of people who came here for Jazz Fest and felt their soul breathe a sigh of contented relief at finally finding their place and then they just knew they would never leave – that is not my story.
I grew up here. I made shoebox floats and ate McKenzie’s King Cake at McDonogh 15 in the Quarter. I went on swamp tour field trips and licked gravy from my favorite gas station poor boys (Uncle Gene’s at the corner of Dumaine and Carrollton – I think – ain’t dere no more) off of my forearms as a kid. I went to Café du Monde after prom and worked a summer job at Gambit. My dad lives by Jesuit, and my mom lives in Gentilly. My in-laws live in Old Metairie, and my husband grew up here, too.
New Orleans is our past, present, and future. I’m not going anywhere, unless I am actually literally forced to by some horrific act of nature.
In the meantime, though, as much as I love the traditions of seersucker suits and reveillon dinners and nectar sno-balls, I really could do with just a little less chaos and catastrophe in my day-to-day life.