Thanks for sticking with me after that last post! I'm happy to say I've gotten a bit of inspiration back... the fresh Ithaca air and nature have helped relight my soul fire a bit. So let's go back in time a few weeks, cool? New Orleans was absolutely fantastic; I love me a good walking city. The architecture, the food, the people, the music: it was all a glorious experience. I found myself thinking that this is a city I would love to live in, if I could ever figure out what to do for a living there.
We tried to do a walking tour but A was having a cranky toddler moment, so we did a bit of our own siteseeing. We walked into the St. Louis Cathedral and were immediately awestruck by its size and beauty. We ducked into a small cafe and slow-rolled our order so that A could nap in the stroller in some A/C. We did many of the basic touristy NoLA things, like grab iced coffee and beignets at Cafe Du Monde, got drinks to go, checked out the French Market, and ate all of the oysters and cajun/creole food we could shove into our stomachs. Then we just strolled. When we couldn't take anymore of the heat, we hopped into the car to check out some more neighborhoods.
What struck me as we were driving around was the thought of having to evacuate an entire city this size. It is incredible how much rebuilding the city still needs after Hurricane Katrina. During a nap, we drove into the Ninth Ward and were shocked by how many houses were relegated to vacant lots. I can remember reading opinion pieces a few years ago on why we shouldn't rebuild New Orleans. But after seeing the city, I can't even get my brain around the idea. Yes, it's below sea level but it is one of the most vibrant, cultural centers in our country.
The only thing that wasn't so great... the heat. It was close to 100 degrees Fahrenheit on the days we were walking around the city. A didn't love it, to say the least. Next time, we will wait until the fall or winter. After our time in New Orleans, we felt inspired and pushed it all the way to South Florida (crazy, would not recommend). The next day, I had a 103 degree fever. Sometimes our bodies tell us when we've done too much, and this was definitely one of those times. But we will be back, and next time make sure to spend more time listening to music, enjoying food, strolling through the parks. It was a little tough to get really deep in this city with a toddler, so maybe we'd also bring along a babysitter (hi, Mom!).
Richness, authenticity, resilience and passion -- lessons we all can learn from New Orleans, and things I took with me as we left.