So many people seem to fall in love with this great city. It simply creeps up inside your heart almost without you noticing, and once it’s there, it’s something you simply just can’t shake. People who live here are so unabashed in their love for their city; I know when we are traveling, we just can’t wait to share how much we love New Orleans with those we encounter, and bless your heart if you haven’t been here before, because we are certainly going to enlighten you as to all the reasons why you absolutely must come see our beloved city. Those who move away miss it forever, and there’s always something about New Orleans that they just can’t find in the other places to which they move. But what is it about New Orleans that we all love so much? It’s something that seems hard to put into words sometimes. When people ask, I often fumble around the words and start to tell them stories that I hope will give them a sneak peak of life here, but I can never give an answer that sums it up quickly. I’ve been thinking long and hard about this….
Is it the fact that it’s simply just beautiful here? Every where you turn there is beauty to behold. Is it that when wondering through the French Quarter, it’s simply majestic, and those images make an imprint on the mind?
Is is that houses and buildings from the Bywater to Uptown have a special flair and catch your eye as you wander down the streets? These colors of the city bring splashes of brightness to life on even the darkest of days.
Or is it in our green spaces and the majestic oaks and the bright pops of pink crepe myrtles that line our streets? Whenever I visit other places, upon my return, I am always struck by the lushness of our state here in Louisiana.
Perhaps, it’s because of the food? There’s definitely something to be said about the cuisine of New Orleans. Whether you prefer Cajun or Creole, our fresh seafood or locally grown veggies, there’s food to delight every palate, and the growing restaurant scene is one that can satisfy even the most selective of foodies. The Grand Dames of New Orleans preserve tradition in a way that takes you back in time a bit with every visit, and the new comers to scene are expanding the breadth of New Orleans offerings on a day to day basis. Only in a city like New Orleans, could brunch be born and can the breakfast conversation revolve around what to eat for lunch and the lunch conversation revolve around where to go for dinner! Only here could there be a festival held in honor of any favorite food one might have from fried chicken, to mac and cheese, to king cake, and beyond! And let’s not forget those New Orleans favorites, that though often imitated, are never quite as good in other places like beignets, king cakes, and poboys. There are so many foods here that remain tucked in the back of your mind, and when one day that memory arises from the depths, it brings your tastebuds to attention and causes your mouth to water…
…like a shrimp poboy with warm, golden fried shrimp, nestled between halves of crusty french bread and topped with crisp lettuce and pickles, fresh tomatoes and a slathering of mayo
…or a soft cloud of fried dough perfection, with a sprinkling of powdered sugar and a mug of café au lait complete with a touch of chicory
…or ice cold, oh-so-salty oysters fresh from the gulf with a touch of horseradish.
Or maybe it’s the way there’s always the hint of a song in the air? When meandering around the French Quarter, there’s always a tune adrift floating across the streets. Notes from the jazz club on the side street or from the troupe of performers on Royal Street are always there faintly in the background creating the perfect score for the day’s happenings. The tune of a brass band growing louder as it leads a second line down the streets and the roar of the marching band passing down The Avenue during parades are familiar and comforting to those who call New Orleans home. What might be a quiet afternoon in a park in anywhere USA is pierced by the sounds of a lone saxophonist perfecting his craft in our beautiful City Park. There is no event in New Orleans that isn’t enhanced by its music. There doesn’t seem to be another place that has a soundtrack to life quite like New Orleans.
Or is it because no city finds so many reasons to celebrate as this one? From Mardi Gras to festivals and everything in between, no city celebrates like New Orleans. People here love to come together for any and all reasons in gatherings accented by food, music, and commraderie. Anything can warrant holding a festival, whether it be to spend days at the Fairgrounds or on the river in the crisp spring air listening to various artists perform their own special style of music, or to wander down Freret Street tasting a myriad of twists on the classic poboy, or to sample and choose a favorite King Cake, or to celebrate the perfection that is a beignet. If there’s anything that’s not celebrated at a festival, then by all means it should be lauded in the form of a parade, and parade we do for reasons to numerous to count. And of course, there’s the second lines that gather to parade for birthdays and beginnings of new unions, but also at the end of life to usher us on the next phase of the journey and celebrate all the wonders and joys that are a part of a life well lived.
But maybe, just maybe, it’s a certain Joie de Vivire! Perhaps what makes New Orleans so lovable is all of the above and more. Perhaps it’s not just that New Orleans is in and of itself lovable, but perhaps it breeds and attracts a varied group of people of different races, ages, cultures, and means who all share one thing in common that allows them to truly appreciate the city – Joie de Vivre, a true joy of life! The people of New Orleans, unlike any other, have a passion for celebrating to the fullest all of the joys that life has to offer, both big and small. The very people who love New Orleans, by appreciating all that is wonderful in day to day, life help the city to remain the special place that it is. It is full of people who understand the value of a music note and understand that music adds a special touch to life. It’s in the way the people embrace the beauty of bright colors and the way those colors can lift your mood from the brightly colored shotguns of the Irish Channel and Bywater, to the elaborate costumes of the Mardi Gras Indians. They take the time to savor a long leisurely meal, relishing each unique and special flavor, while sharing stories and laughter with old friends and cherished family on a regular basis. The people of New Orleans gather together as a community to dance on a sunny day to their favorite local musicians or stand on the neutral ground to cheer while their neighbors ride past. There is an understanding that even in tough times life is never lacking of reasons to be thankful and happy. It’s the way the people here stop to talk to strangers they pass on the street to learn about their neighbors’ stories and then to share their own because they truly care to know about one another. It’s in the way that the second lines celebrate the joys that are there in the everyday happenings of life whether it be a marriage or a funeral. And perhaps it’s the fact that the people of New Orleans carry that very special joie de vivre with them wherever they go that makes people miss it so much if they ever happen to leave. Perhaps it takes a true appreciation for the many joys of life to truly appreciate a city that so very well celebrates those joys. It seems that New Orleans with it’s certain joie de vivre, may be the perfect match for each one of us who carries within us our own joie de vivre! So for those of us who love to appreciate the special moments in life, New Orleans is our perfect match, our soulmate if you’ll allow me to use an old cliché, and I can’t help but believe that she loves us all back as much as we love her!
So what is it that makes you love NOLA? Comment below to share your stories with us! You might find your story featured here or on our Instagram in the future!