Already miss the warm wrap of the humid heat, and the mighty Mississippi, miss the sound of the horns, the trot-trot of the horse and buggy carriage escorting the tourists through the quarter, the smell of gumbo cooking, freshly washed streets of the morning. Short stay, yet managed to walk many blocks, getting pleasantly lost and sidetracked and backtracked.
And yet, all of it feels sealed inside, still absorbing it into my veins, yet I feel like a little part of me was at home there, still there. Felt like a local, even with my backpack slung over shoulders. What a pleasure, though, that two locals did in fact take me for one of them. One in particular, that was most friendly…we had a few chuckles, as we saw tourists walk into the tiny bar mid-day. He made a comment about their backpacks, and carrying their cameras in hand, taking pictures right away—it was a good sign of a tourist. I laughed and said, I have my backpack too, but its under my feet, camera’s in there too. But now that they’re taking pictures, I may as well take some too. He laughed. “Don’t forget to get that sign over there,” he said. “Everyone likes to get a picture of that.”
“Hey look at that guy over there. He’s taking a picture of his food,” he said. And this isn’t a fancy bar mind you. He wasn’t being mean in the least, but it was great to be in on his observations and story, and we had many good laughs.
I looked familiar to him. “You have a twin over here,” he said. I smiled. I was about done with my beer. He wanted the next one to be on him. I was in the process of saying no, only because I can be a lightweight, but then I thought, what the heck, I can’t close the door on generosity and kindness. I had my share of gumbos, so I had a platter of potato skins in my system to absorb another light beer.
I felt like I was in a New Orleans equivalent of Cheers. Everyone knew everyone. He shared the ins and outs of some of the other locals that sat nearby, who had left, about his family, etc. I asked him about the resiliency of the people here. He said that, “Sure when his mother lost her home to Katrina they were feeling it. She lost literally everything, but he like some others, said, “You gotta move on.” It was one of the highlights of my trip, Just being a local for a while.
A side note/prayer: I pray that they get the oil spill contained—under control. Even though these folks seem to bounce back, this is too huge. It effects so many living creatures, people, etc. I send prayers out from my little world. At this point, it feels as though it’s going to take a miracle to bring this spill under control.