Ode to Humidity, or, Why I Loved NOLA
Okay, so I figured out why so much UF is set in or around New Orleans. Because it’s FREAKING AMAZING.
I was just there for the weekend and it was my first time visiting. I am now officially obsessed. The food, the people, the stench . . . I love me some stinky city and New Orleans smelled like a dock yard whore’s underthangs.
It’s the kind of city that makes me feel louche. I want to lounge on things, wearing too much make up that gets smudged in the heat. It’s so hot and sticky, and you just instantly feel dirty. So you have to embrace the dirt, rather than fight it.
New Orleans also looked exactly like it does in the movies. Have you ever been to a city and realized that it’s not the city in the films? That’s not only because “Chicago” or “New Jersey” was actually probably Toronto, but because oftentimes filmmakers find that one clean patch, or that one really interesting patch, of a given locale and make it even shinier and more interesting. But everyone wants NOLA dirty, disheveled, swelled with humidity. So it looked like I expected it to.
It also reminded me a lot of other places I’ve lived. The heat, and the section by the Plaza d’Armas, reminded me of Granada. And the tourist press reminded me of Edinburgh, as did the insane amounts of drunkenness and fried food. If it weren’t so hot and sunny, I coulda been back in Scotland.
But that’s not accurate as, at the end of the day, it was entirely Louisiana. I’ve only lived in this state since last August, but it’s growing on me, fast. There are a lot of problems and a lot of things I don’t appreciate very much. But then there’s all the amazing stuff. People here, for the most part, know how to live. They know what’s important: good food, getting outside and doing stuff, being active in the community and spending time with friends and family. I love the friendliness. I talk to everybody, and I’m finally living in a place where everybody talks back. I also love how everybody, even the super conservative people here, allow for quite a bit of weird in their lives. Partly, that’s because everyone I’ve met here is secretly fairly crazy, usually in a good way. So even my most conservative acquaintances will not bat an eyelash at the dude dressed like Wonder Woman for no obvious reason. Other places I’ve lived, the status quo definitely holds sway and brooks little or no insubordination. But here? There’s a strange tolerance that coexists alongside the conservatism, as if people know there’s a historical link between Louisiana and the bizarre that can’t be broken. This was best illustrated for me by my first Mardi Gras, where even in Shreveport every other big strapping Christian cowboy was sporting a wig and a stuffed bra. Subversiveness seems to be in the water, here, and that’s why I like it.
For a detailed guide of everything I shoved in my face, with pictures!, go here. In the meantime, do you guys have any NOLA memories? Or any particular places that you’ve visited that really resonate for you?