Why New Orleans?
Updated: Nov 2, 2021
On the evening of September 29th, Hurricane Ida swept through southern Louisiana, knocking power and knocking over trees; destroying fences and roofs; leaving residents without resources and some without homes.
My family and I evacuated from our home for several days, returning only after we'd received word that power had been restored to our neighborhood. We were fortunate in that our home was fine. The only thing we lost was a refrigerator full of food.
While evacuated, I spent a lot of time on social media, checking on the well being of friends as well as trying to keep updated on the progress of repairs and power restoration. What surprised me over those days were the number of people who seemed dismissive and cavalier over what happened in Louisiana.
What else did you expect? these people said. "We had sympathy for Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina, but they must realize by now that if you're giving to live in Louisiana that this is what is going to happen." They stated that the days of New Orleans are numbered. Why stay in a city that floods continually, suffers from truly horrific heat and humidity, and seems to be devastated every few years by a new storm system?
The easy answer is to point out that anywhere we live on this globe, something can and will go wrong. Earthquakes happen weekly in some areas. Sinkholes open up unexpectedly under homes and roads. The tops of mountains slide down onto whole cities. Tornadoes tear through certain areas regularly, always leaving devastation in their wake.
New Orleans possesses its share of issues, I won't deny that, but it's home.
I've spent most of life feeling like I don't belong; feeling like I didn't fit anywhere. When I arrived in New Orleans for the first time as an adult, I felt a sense of belonging. I felt a sense of homecoming. This city, hundreds of feet underwater, with its dizzying heat and its quaint streetcar system and its overwhelming arches of live oaks, this place; this is where I belong.
I can't imagine trying to live anywhere else. When you find something or someone that gives you that sense of belonging; that makes you realize that maybe everywhere else you are a misfit, but in New Orleans, you fit.
New Orleans may not have been made for me, but I was definitely made for New Orleans. I can speak at length about the food, the art, the music, the architecture, the history, but for me, the basic truth is that it's my home. I don't belong anywhere, except in this city.
Judge me for staying if you must, but unless you've walked these streets and felt this energy I don't know that you can truly understand.
New Orleans is the center of my universe; the mirror of my soul. I was a misfit looking for a place and New Orleans welcomed me as one of its own.