My little sister called me last week, asking me about our “Southern roots.” She’s a junior at Texas A&M University and is taking a Southern Literature class. For her final paper, she is supposed to write about why she considers herself to be Southern. She asked me what she should write about. All I pretty much had to offer at first was, “Ugh, because Daddy is from Louisiana and Grandpa was from Mississippi? I don’t know.”

From there, we just started reminiscing about stories our grandmother used to tell us when she was still alive. When she was in her late 20s, she met my grandfather on a train. It’s a very romantic story I’ve always enjoyed. He swept her off her feet and married her, dragging her from her hometown just outside Chicago to Oxford, Mississippi, while he finished up his pharmacy degree at Ole Miss. A proper-talking Yankee in the middle of Mississippi? Needless to say, she stuck out like a sore thumb, at least for the first few months.

But the funny thing is, growing up, I never knew she was from up north. Over the years, she grew into the “Southern ways” and learned to make a mean gumbo. My grandparents bought their first house in Lake Charles, Louisiana, the house she lived in until she passed away in 2005. That’s practically where my sister and I grew up. We’d travel from our home in San Antonio to Lake Charles countless times a year. We’d chat with her while she cooked jambalaya in the kitchen, we’d pick camellias and magnolias off the trees in the backyard, we’d go swimming in the muddy water of the Calcasieu River, and chase fireflies at night.

When I was young, this is what I thought being Southern meant. All these things spooned together into a melting pot of Southern culture that I’d happily pour down my gullet any day. It warms my heart that even though I was not born in the South, there are pieces of me that still create my Southern roots. I love New Orleans and feel at home here. I feel like this city brings those Southern roots back to me in a way. I am so glad I live here. I feel so lucky to rediscover my Southern roots every day, just by living in New Orleans.

Daniel Monteverde also gets back to his roots (sort of, because I don’t think he really is Italian) this month with his Budget Fare blog about Italian-style cooking at Rotolo’s Pizzeria in the French Quarter. He also offers a little insight about the origins of Italian food in the French Quarter.

Lilith Dorko is back to shopping along Magazine Street in May, offering readers a glimpse at the new store Shop in her Confessions of a Shopaholic blog. I hear bathing suit shopping calling my name already. Summer is almost here … and that means it is one month closer to Jessica’s wedding! Our one-and-only Tying the Knot wedding blogger Jessica Natal is busy plotting away her big day while still trying to keep her sanity. On the agenda this month? It’s time to choose a photographer.

Ian McNulty ventures to the Hi Ho Lounge for a little bluegrass and country music for his After Hours blog, while Jay Forman takes a taste at Bistro Daisy on Magazine Street in his Haute Plates blog.

And this month we welcome a newbie to the MyNewOrleans.com blog family, Tim McNally, a well-known name in New Orleans when it comes to all things wine and spirits. If you love anything having to do with cocktails in this great city, you’d be a fool not to check out his new blog, Happy Hour appearing weekly only on MyNewOrleans.com. Just thinking about it makes me want a glass of wine. Pass the corkscrew, please.

And lastly this month, we have joined the ranks of several magazines and newspapers around the country by suspending our print edition and uploading an online-only version of OnStage Magazine’s Summer issue. We hope that this will only be temporary, but please visit the online version at OnStageNewOrleans.com. Have thoughts? E-mail Kathy Finn at onstage@renpubllc.com.

May is already here. So everyone get out there and enjoy New Orleans the southern way…whatever that might mean to you.