July 19, 2005

A State of Mind

It is axiomatic.

Different places mean different things to different people.

It should come as no surprise New Orleans is one of my favorite destinations. While I have never lived there, I have lived within an hour of the Crescent City and spent a great deal of time over the years there.

While it may be the consummate party town, I have never been one of those die hard party girls. It is just not my nature. In fact, I have over-imbibed exactly twice in my life and neither time was in New Orleans.

For me the city has always taken the form of a mature and worldly suitor come lover. A man of history and experience whose laugh lines and furrowed brows are represented by aging buildings of distinct architectural heritages. Multicultural with French, Spanish, English, and African influences, he is also multilingual. When he speaks English, he does so with an accent all his own.

His heart beats with an intensity and vibrancy that always catches my breath and hastens my step to see, hear, taste, and experience all he has to offer.

On one afternoon he is refined as he takes me on carriage ride from Jackson Square through the quarter. Very gentlemanly and attentive, he speaks of the river, the Cabildo, and the people who remain.

Only after he has filled my head with images of times gone by, does he lead me away from the harshness of Bourbon Street down Magazine Street to shop for antiques on our way to Audubon Zoo where he seeks to entertain me with all manner of wildlife.

After an early evening respite with the opportunity to first bathe, then don my finery, he again pulls me into the night with streets lit with traditional gas lamps, as well as neon and fluorescent. He promises me a fine meal and asks me to choose between Galatoire's, Commander's Palace, and Arnaud's. In the mood for Shrimp Clemenceau and Chocolate Decadence with raspberry coulis, I elect Galatoire's.

After the sumptuous feast, he takes me by the hand and escorts me from one jazz and blues club to the next in search of that vibe that will speak to my restless soul.

This evening I have the desire to hear the Neville brothers. With an all-knowing smile he transports me to Tipitina's where I listen rapturously as Aaron sings "Don't take away my heaven."

Only after he has seduced every facet of my being does he return me to my room and gently lay me down as the faint sounds of the city encourage me to surrender to a sweet slumber with nothing but thoughts of him on my mind.

For me New Orleans is not only a sensory and sensual experience, but a visceral and psychological one.

I can always feel the energy and change in me as soon as I pull onto Canal Street in front of the Super Dome. I become more relaxed, even as my excitement grows. It is the one place I can truly leave my cares behind, if only for a few hours or a couple of days. I know the rest of the world will continue at its break-neck speed, it is just for a brief period, I cease to care.

With all that has been going on in my life these last couple of years, I am long overdue a tryst with this lover.

UPDATE: From someone who should know, Karen is a resident of New Orleans and gives her thoughts on the city.

Posted by Christina at July 19, 2005 08:00 PM

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Tracked on July 23, 2005 04:09 PM


Gosh, Nawlins is a man? Wow. I always thought of it like the Kinks' tune "Lola"...


Huh. That makes TWO new things I learned today!

Posted by: zonker at July 19, 2005 10:00 PM

To each his or her own, Zonker.

If you are so inclined, the city can be feminine. That just does not happen to float my boat. And, as you know, that's important because NOLA is below sea level.

; )

Posted by: Christina at July 19, 2005 10:11 PM

I'll have to write this sort of post about that drunken Teutonic floozy known as Helen, Georgia...


Posted by: zonker at July 19, 2005 10:45 PM

You've inspired me today! My thoughts about NOLA will be on my site.


Posted by: Karen at July 20, 2005 07:39 AM

Nice. For me, though, NOLA is more of a slightly seedy, down on his luck kind of guy, wearing yesterday's seersucker suit with a soiled necktie. A genteel poverty or genteel decay. You'll have a good time with him, but don't give him your card.

Posted by: RP at July 20, 2005 10:11 AM

You're killin me here, Chrissy. You know that, doncha? hehe

Posted by: Pammy at July 20, 2005 10:59 AM

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