In order to truly feel the magic of the city, you have to step outside of the tourist attractions. You have to have lived it. Breathed it. The magic in New Orleans goes far beyond getting drunk on Bourbon St and taking photos of beignets while sitting at Cafe Du Monde in the French Quarter.
Once the fun is over, once the bars turn their lights out, once the tourists leave back to their hometown, it’s just… New Orleans.
It’s the quietness of the river, it’s the waves crashing at Lake Pontchartrain, it’s the locals eating under the moonlight at the cute brick cafes and eateries on the East Bank, it’s the mischief in the night, it’s the local kids playing football in the neutral ground, it’s the girl with big dreams clocking out of her long day at work at the Winn Dixie on Tchoupitoulas St, it’s the couple sitting on the bench on the levee that overlooks the river & the Crescent City Bridge… it’s just… New Orleans.
Because of the historic buildings, the non-updated structures, the shot gun homes, the old time feel everywhere you go, the city brings forth a nostalgic feeling, at least for me. I truly feel at home in a city I didn’t call home until I was 23 years old. I only lived there for a year, but the city took a hold of me and will forever have a part of me. New Orleans is its own world. It has its own language. It’s own culture. You will not find another like it… and that’s what I love so much about it. The city humbled me and brought me into a space in my mind that allows me to feel free…
There was this one night in December we decided to go for a ride as we always did in 2020. 2020 was scary to say the least, but my hope in 2020 was still alive. By the end of the year, everyone was used to COVID and the restrictions. In fact, most of us were going against the grain and getting outside anyway and mingling with people. Call us careless, I don’t care. I loved going places and seeing people enjoying life. The entirety of 2020 we spent afraid to do anything, go anywhere, see anyone. We spent most of the year in our white suv cruising the streets of New Orleans and surrounding areas. Even took a road trip Mississippi and all over Louisiana, just to get out of the house. But we found a love for taking rides with no destination, just getting in the car and going. Music loud, drinks and snacks, and adventuring out.
We ended up in Gretna on this one night….
It was very cool outside, about 50 degrees. So of course the windows were down halfway, but we also had the heat on because the feeling of hot and cold was perfect.
Gretna is one of those small “cities” on the outskirts of a major city. It’s home to cute little shotgun homes and historic cottages. It gave me a nostalgic comforting feeling, just as NOLA gives me due to the fact that a lot of the structures and homes aren’t modern or updated, but that’s the magic in it.
I remember riding through and seeing families eating at this cafe that looked like a coffee shop. They were smiling and drinking their hot cocoa and coffee. Kids were laughing and playing… it was beautiful.
We rode slowly through the Gretna City hall area because it was decorated for Christmas time so there were lights EVERYWHERE. It was a dream. I felt for a minute like I was in the town of Stars Hollow from the show Gilmore Girls and I felt so at home. At peace.
Not too far from the beautiful sight of lights strung up on trees, families eating at the local restaurants, and couples walking hand in hand underneath the beautiful lit up scenery, was the river. We parked and decided to walk up on the levee to get a perfect view of the city, the river, and the crescent city bridge. There was something so calming every time we went up on the levee to take in the view of the water. I loved the industrial feel of the river. It wasn’t picture perfect, it wasn’t sandy with blue water, it was just… the river. With the boats that were rusted and the water flowing in different directions, liter here and there, but for some reason, I adored it. It was one of those small things we did together and it just brought me back to a nostalgic feeling every time. As if, I’d been there before. As if my soul lived there once. We walked hand in hand on the levee underneath the moon just taking it all in. Letting go of whatever stresses or worries we had…. Allowing whatever bad feelings we had to flow with the river and release the negativity. We didn’t know what was in store for the new year, but we knew at that moment, we had hope for better.
Following the calming walk on the levee, a storm was brewing. We could feel the rain drops on our cold skin so we rushed back to the car and headed home to the pink duplex that sat at the corner of West Dr.
I remember getting into the house and immediately stripping down and into something warm. Thunder and lightning began to show their face, what a perfect time for hot tea and some music.
I made our favorite tea combination, sleepy time, chamomile, fresh lemon juice, a lemon slice, fresh juice from an orange and an orange slice, sugar, and honey.
We stood at the door with the screen closed, door open, and wind flying through… drinking our tea, listening to Jazz music, and enjoying the little moments in life.
What a joy it is to experience life with my soul partner.
If I was asked what my idea of a perfect night is…. It would be this. 🦋✨
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