[N]ew Orleans, you beast. You wild, unpredictable, crazy fun, wholly overwhelming place. New Orleans isn’t just a city… it’s a spirit and culture. It’s a lady and a trouble-maker. It’s palpable and irresistible, and will not be ignored. New Orleans, you excite me. New Orleans, I’m hungry. New Orleans, I love you.
I’ve lived for the past year as a new New Orleanian. Fresh in this world. Wide eyes. Lost in the streets. Enamored by the sights and sounds. And sometimes… well, I’m a little overwhelmed by new city. There’s a lot for this California girl to learn about the Deep South. A lot to learn about Southern hospitality, being a neighborly neighbor, oyster eating, and brunch. Those are all the easy things to learn.
I’ve spent the past year living smack-dab in the middle of the French Quarter. It’s been nutty: filled with music and art and always new tourist friends. I’m saying goodbye to the French Quarter and moving my kitchen, all my cookbooks, and TronCat… Uptown. Let’s go cook in a new kitchen! I can’t wait to share my new space with you. It’s quaint and you’re invited over for cookies, always.
Here are a few things I’ve learned so far in New Orleans:
• When passing strangers on the street: Say hello / Say good morning / Say good day / Nod and smile / Smile and wave. Always acknowledge. There’s no such thing as ignoring a stranger. They will not be a stranger for long.
• The summer months are hotter than blue blazes. If you’ve don’t know how hop blue blazes are, ask my mom… she gave me that expression. Also steamy. So incredibly steamy. Keep telling yourself it’s good for your skin.
• The ladies at (the grocery store) Rouses don’t play. Come correct or don’t come. They do not play.
• Wear a bike helmet. People drive crazy for real and the cracks and bumps in the road can jump up and bite you. Whomever it was in Los Angeles that told you bike helmets are uncool doesn’t respect their own head and brain.
• Don’t wear headphones. Listen to the music and feel the pulse. It’s everywhere.
• It’s important to find your people. Moving to a new city is hard and, for me, finding my footing is linked to finding my people. Because New Orleans is the South… amazingly enough, your people will find you, email you, invite you over for coffee and pie… and because you’re in the South, you say yes to coffee and pie with strangers and you make new friends. It’s very good.
• Drink a lot of water because you never know when one glass of champagne at happy hour will turn into one bottle of champagne.. on a Tuesday. There’s always a reason to celebrate.
• In New Orleans you can be who you are… and why not throw on a wig while you’re at it.
• It’s important to know the best:
More of my New Orleans suggestions here!
Come visit wouldya? I’ve got more to learn and a house full of cookies.