I’m back from white-water rafting for a bit so I thought I’d write a post and finish off my review of our holiday in New Orleans.
I don’t know how many of you who read this are like me – but I use my experiences to help me live in the present. I often reminisce about my holidays throughout the day to help me get through stressful times. Our trip to New Orleans still brings me much pleasure and many smiles when it’s snowing in July in Alberta or some such thing (or you’re dealing with broken toes).
Leaving New Orleans was incredibly hard for me. As our days wound down to the last few I started to panic once more. I came up with many variations on how I could remain in New Orleans while The Man went home to work – perhaps flying down to visit once in a while. He didn’t cotton to that at all no matter how many ideas I came up with.
During our last day we did some obligatory shopping – food for traveling – things I saw and never bought – you know how that works. We ended up standing in the grocery store and talking to the security guard while it poured buckets outside. We learned a lot more about New Orleans (from the friendly security guard) because of the torrential downpour – plus it gave us one more night in my favourite place. I didn’t fool The Man with that bit of dallying at all.
The next morning I cried as we headed north and left the familiar cityscape of New Orleans behind. I’m not a big city person but there is something about New Orleans that gets in your blood. So many people call it a ‘cesspool’ – people who have never been there – people who will never go there and don’t know what it is really like. People base their opinions of New Orleans on stories about Mardi Gras, Bourbon Street and the history of violence related to the city. One should experience something before passing judgment on it. Few do however.
Being a Canadian who lives on the dry prairies of Alberta – a place that gets deadly cold in the long Canadian winters – we like to travel to the United States where it is warm. We have been fortunate to have long holidays because of The Man who usually accumulates lots of overtime and then takes it all at once. That way we can travel far and wide if we want. We have been to many of the different States in the US – and we have fallen in love with New Orleans for so many reasons I doubt I could explain them all and even do justice to the few I can put words to.
I’ll try with just a few though. Not only is it the combination of very old (The French Quarter) with the new - and the huge Mississippi that flows right through it - or Lake Pontchartrain – the immensity of it – or the swamps that surround the city with their own beauty. Mostly it is – The People. The people of New Orleans are wonderful. They are the friendliest people we have met anywhere in the United States. That says a lot. They are happy to talk to you and really appreciate you and your business. There are no ‘uhhuhs’ when you thank them for something – instead you get ‘Your Welcome’! In fact, you almost expect a hug from them! I don’t have enough words or the ability to describe them or their incredible city and its surroundings.
In this city that has experienced so much turmoil and angst – where the weather, the government, and their own countrymen have pounded them repeatedly – we didn’t feel like tourists at all. Instead we felt comfortable and safe and right at home. We never feared for our lives when we walked the streets late at night. We used common sense and never had one bad experience. Sure there are gangs killing one another – they are doing that in the beautiful city of Calgary an hour away from us. In fact, Calgary had the first death of 2009 in North America – aren’t we proud!
Suffice it to say – I didn’t want to come back home to my beautiful big blue barn.
We looked at other houses besides the million dollar mansion while in New Orleans. I still have one that I check on every week to see if it has sold. We drove past it one evening and I said to The Man – that place is empty and for sale! After many drive-bys we finally went online and checked it out. The next time we drove past it I hopped out of the car and looked in the windows. The Man was beside himself – ‘You’re trespassing!’ - but I had him looking in the windows too! When I opened the back gate and went to look at the pool and in the back windows – he fled to the car! He didn’t want to get booted out of the US for trespassing and break and entering (I didn’t break – it was not locked). However – being the great salesperson that I am – I enticed him back to the gate and into the backyard for a look at the pool and into the floor to ceiling windows that covered the back of the house. As we headed back to the car we noticed vehicle lights coming down the street. The Man jokingly said ‘Here comes security’. It was. As we casually drove away, the vehicle entered the driveway and the garage door went up. When we drove past again, lights were going on and off throughout the house – rooms obviously being checked. Who knows what sensor I tripped as I nosed around?
The Man and I are trying to figure out a way that we can live in New Orleans. Perhaps during the cold winters of Alberta – and still keep the big blue barn for the lovely (but short) spring, summer and fall of Alberta. Who knows? Someday we will follow our dream and have an adventure of a lifetime! I’m not too old for that and I never will be!