Happy New Year’s, NOLA

There’s a softness in the New Orleans air. The littlest birds make the loudest flutter of wings as they fly into the cedar next door. The white pup down the street calls his barking hello from his balcony, the door behind him open to let in the soft air. The sun slants. The man working on his house speaks, nodding. Black garbage cans dot the street haphazardly—will they be picked up this week of Mardi Gras? Or not? Best to roll them out anyway. The cans aren’t by the curb. New Orleans streets don’t have a curb, at least mine doesn’t. It’s lucky to have asphalt.

The city lifted the mask mandate.

The air blows softly across potted plants that love the cold and, grieved, they slump in resignation.

Twice, other New Orleanians have greeted me with “Happy New year’s,” yesterday and today. It resonates. As if the end of Carnival, the beginning of Lent (don’t think Lent’s not its own season in New Orleans), the end of mask mandates, the onset of spring cleaning—all of it heralds a new beginning.

We’ll have lived in this house two years in July, but they were COVID years. Only now am I beginning to feel like we’re experiencing “the time we lived in Uptown New Orleans.” Even putting it like that makes me nostalgic for what I currently have. Regretful for what I’ve had in view for so many months but unable to experience. Softly, I let the feeling drift on by.

The dogs across the street snap and growl at a stranger walking along the sidewalk. The dogs are big as ponies. They’re kind dogs, never barking at Evangeline, who huffs at every canine she sees. I wave at the white pup who is still yapping, yapping on his balcony, insisting I say hello back.

New Orleans house

A New Orleans house nestled in happiness

New Orleans Ash Wednesday, New Orleans Lent, Uptown New Orleans

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