“Staycations” is the operative word in travel this year.

With the world travel market in a tizzy, destinations are appealing to locals to revisit home. That’s the theme of this issue, as it is for many magazines. This is the year of self-discovery. Lucky for us, we have a destination that is far better than most for a vacation, plus we can get there by streetcar.

Thinking about staycations made me speculate, what if the trip was really short, maybe a day or less? If you could only pick one place that reflected the history, culture and geography where would you go? How about Jackson Square?

If you’re standing in the square, you’re at the site where, in 1803, the Louisiana territory, stretching north and west to Canada and Montana, was transferred from France to the United States. This is the entire middle section of the country. 

After visiting the cathedral, the Cabildo and Presbytere and admiring the Pontalba apartments, walk across the street, past the drifting fragrance of cafe au lait and beignets. Here is not only one of the world’s great rivers, but the site where the river is deepest, and the bend is most impressive. In better times you might even hear the calliope from a steamboat.

Take a moment and absorb the setting. It is a sensory sensation. Even for vampires.

In her novel “Interview with the Vampire,” Anne Rice wrote, “In the spring of 1988, I returned to New Orleans, and as soon as I smelled the air, I knew I was home. It was rich, almost sweet, like the scent of jasmine and roses around our old courtyard. I walked the streets, savoring that long, lost perfume.” 

Another literary character, Ignatius Reilly in John Kennedy Toole’s “Confederacy of Dunces” lamented, “Leaving New Orleans also frightened me considerably. Outside of the city limits in the heart of darkness, the true wasteland begins.” 

That’s all the more reason to stay.

Errol Laborde Signature