NOLA Magic

Do you ever find yourself quoting yourself from an earlier conversation you’ve had?

Me, too.

So here’s a post I posted on Facebook recently. I thought I’d share it with y’all.

Tom and I walk Evangeline down the street, and I remember when we first arrived in New Orleans almost eight years ago. I spent every day excited.

I have loved this city ever since my new daddy said about us three little girls, “You’ve never been to New Orleans?” And he promptly brought us here for breakfast at Brennan’s and the view at the Top of the Mart and brunch in the Caribbean Room of the Pontchartrain Hotel and late night coffee at the Cafe du Monde. And we walked the streets—narrow with houses that came almost to the curb and painted orange and red and turquoise. A city of magic waving with banana plants and palm fronds. I adored it. 

Then eight years ago we got a place on the corner of Chartres and Montegut—Chartres, I’m saying—and all of a sudden I was living in the city where I would ride my pink bike in regular street clothes and tromp through the Bywater to junk stores and discover treasures like the store I never can remember the official name of but call the Art Bark, a combination art supply center and pet store. Heaven and bliss and, again, magic.

But somewhere in time, New Orleans became where we lived, and the discovery and inhaling of daily life receded, only to return in flashes, like when throngs crowd the Bywater sidewalks of Mardi Gras. And today. Lord, thank you for today.

Today, I walked the neighborhood and ogled the orange house with the scarlet shutters and marveled that I live on Chartres, and I bought too many books at Blue Cypress Bookstore and stopped for blueberry scones with Cafe au Lait on Oak Street and finished with dinner with beloved friends in a room with hallucinogenic passion flowers splashed on the walls.

Magic, again. And, if I can only remember it, always. 

Comments (2)

  • This is lovely. I will bite. I would like to contrast my two visits haha. The first visit was when I was 3 3/4 years old. I was an only child at the time, and we drove from Michigan. My little table was wedged between the back seat and the back of my mom’s seat in the front so I could color. No seat belt. We went on a cruise on the Mississippi, to an expensive French restaurant in New Orleans, and walked the streets of the city. I have vivid memories. I was extremely pampered everywhere we went. Doted on by the captain and crew. My parents were given a fancy bottle of wine for free at the restaurant because I was cute ;). And there was an artist, an “old” black man (probably around 50, but to me then he was old) painting with an easel and stool. Although I was so young I knew it was just like Paris. I was holding my mother’s hand as we walked past and I turned my head and kept watching him as long as I could. He gave me a huge smile and winked at me. The faces of the captain, the waiter, and the artist are burned into my brain. My visit was about feeling a part of things, doted on, and interesting people doing interesting things.
    When the gardener and I went a couple of years ago, I still loved New Orleans. But it was about the architecture, the history, the food, but what I missed was the connection with the people. Tourist faces and faces for the tourists. That’s what I saw. So who changed? Me or the city?

    • Ellen Morris Prewitt

      Oh, what a lovely memory—you loved the city and it loved you! At such a young age, you experienced all the essentials of NOLA—food, wine, art, and the exotic (Jackson Square has always reminded me of Paris; it’s much more of a European square than American.) Just a fairy-tale visit. Your second trip, while wonderful, sounds more intellectual, or maybe just more grown up? Were you perhaps wearing that cute hat in your author photo? Everyone would have connected with that!

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