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We Go Places: New Orleans

by verdemama on November 15, 2010

Funny what a difference a few years can make.

A couple weeks ago we took a mini vacation to New Orleans. Erik was there to attend a conference and Orion and I joined him later in the week just for fun.

Erik and I used to live in the New Orleans area from 2000 to 2002 — officially the longest two years of my life. I absolutely hated living there at the time. It was a weird time in my life — I had recently finished college and moved to Phoenix where I met Erik, with whom I ended up moving to Louisiana just a few short months later. I was rootless and directionless, unsure of this new relationship I dove into and more than a little depressed. I also thought Louisiana was incredibly backwards, sexist, racist and a lot of other “-ists,” plus it was hotter than Hades. And the mosquitoes. My god, the mosquitoes.

We lived just outside New Orleans in a house on stilts over the bayou in a swampy suburban town called Slidell. I worked as a temp in New Orleans my first year there so I got to know the city pretty well as I was bouncing from office job to office job, drifting down its storied streets like a plastic bag caught in the wind.

For years I thought I’d never want to go back, but since Hurricane Katrina, and after a few years of older-and-hopefully-wiser perspective, I was dying to go back and see the place I once reluctantly called home.

Orion arrived in New Orleans ready to party!

Off to bed, youngster. (I KID, I kid. This was totally his idea, by the way.)

BP has its oily fingerprints all over this city.

Being a good boy for lunch at one of our old favorites, Bayona, in the French Quarter.

Braving the freakishly chilly weather (that we came totally unprepared for) in the courtyard at Bayona.

St. Louis Cemetery — a NOLA must-see if you’re into creepy cool stuff.

Jackson Square. I didn’t take a lot of French Quarter and Garden District photos, even though they’re the “highlights” of the city, simply because I already have albums full of shots just like that.

Performance art in the French Quarter. These guys are seriously amazing.

We used to live in this house. Near the bottom of the pic, past the parking area, you can catch a glimpse of Salt Bayou, where we used to spend evenings and weekends out on our boat.

Our view from the front of the house. Lots and lots of swamp land.

This was right down the street from our old house. Hurricane Katrina hit this area hard. Not much left here.

This boardwalk over the swamp has certainly seen better days. The end of it is crooked and being eaten the muck. Swamp life is not easy on structures or people.

I do miss these trees.

When the purser on our flight back home to California announced, “Now you know what it means to miss New Orleans,” I actually knew what he was talking about. I’m not embarrassed to admit I had a little tear in my eye for this place that had left a profound mark on me after all.

(I’m still glad I don’t live there anymore though.)

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