In the land of dreamy scenes
There’s a garden of Eden
You know what I mean.”
- Louis Armstrong
Dear New Orleans,
I have loved you since the moment I laid eyes on you. It was March of 2002 and I was being spontaneous, feeling full of adventure and madly in love, and madly in love with being madly in love and set off on a road trip from Pittsburgh, PA with the goal of hitting the coast. We drove through the night and hit the Florida panhandle. We lingered on the beach and stumbled upon Destin, and drove West until we found you.
I often talk of cities as if they were people. You know this about me. They take on human-like qualities and some become fast friends, others short-lived lovers, and hopefully one day I’ll find one to be with forever. But then there was you. It was the best first date I’ve ever been on. Everything was so funny, eye-opening, new. We laughed, we drank, we ate, we listened to music and we wandered the streets with not a care in the world! We’d been to so many of the same places, we liked the same random things “You like open courtyards, I LIKE open courtyards” and “You like brass bands playing on the street, I LOVE brass bands playing on the street!” It was like everything was falling into place just so we could have the perfect evening.
You lightly took my hand and led me through the crowd and looked over your shoulder to make sure I was ok. We didn’t have a destination in mind, we just let whatever happened happen. We talked closer and closer in the waning light that turned day to night and when you kissed me goodnight, my heart skipped a beat. I missed you the second we parted ways. We were inseparable that trip. Remember that nap we took in Jackson Square? In an afternoon daze, we looked up at the clouds and talked about what we wanted to do with our lives. We ate at Cafe Maspero and drank at Lafitte’s and meandered the cemetery for hours and took the streetcar and we were unstoppable!
We were so young. Such kids. It felt too soon to make a permanent change. I had so many things on my mind and a whole life taking off up North. I felt like I hadn’t even really begun yet. I wasn’t ready. So when I had to go, I’ll never forget you kicked and screamed and begged me to stay. “Life isn’t the same without you!” you said. Tore at my heartstrings. I almost did too. Almost stayed.