When people fall in love with New Orleans, they fall hard. Head over heels, ass over teakettle, hard. Some come for work, others for the music. Some find themselves here just on a whim. A guy I talked to last night drove with a buddy from Maryland, woke up under a banana palm, finished off the bottle of wine he had started the night before, and made up his mind that this was the town for him.. eighteen years ago.
Every time I come here I come in contact with people from Washington. One young couple from DC came down here post Katrina and started the St Bernard Project to help survivors who couldn't afford to fix their own storm damaged homes. Yesterday I spent the afternoon with my son touring a few of those houses.
Life here is sweet. People are friendly and extremely creative. New Orleans is not your usual homogeneous American town, but a unique and spicy blend of cultures which trickle down from French, Spanish and African settlers. Religious refugees from Arcadia found their way here. Pirates felt at home. Musicians, writers and artists continue to flock here.
Right now - the city is pulsing with excitement. Mardi Gras is upon us, and raw energy is pumping throughout the neighborhoods. People walking to and from parades and parties are a pageant in and of themselves-all decked out in feathers and beads, funny hats and striped shirts. King cakes are piled up at the grocery store. Purple yellow and green feathers are stuck in fences and scattered across lawns by the wind. If you have never been, it might be time you came down to see for yourself, but be aware, you might fall in love, too.