14 February 2013

On Being a New Orleanian Wherever You Are

Confession: I both love and hate New Orleans.  Lately I have tried to concentrate on the parts that drove me crazy: the crime, the treacherous streets, "the heat, my God the heat", the lack of apples, lack of changing seasons, corrupt political life, economic and racial disparity nevertheless the parts that I love keep rising to the top: friends, the live oak lined streets, baseball in January, po-boys, king cakes, gumbo, jambalaya, the sausages, Abita, the fried chicken, the energy of the music and on the streets, the zany and wacky take on life, the costumes, the free wheelin/don't sweat the small stuff, pheasant gumbo (which for two years I mispelled as peasant gumbo and no one brought it to my attention because it was plausible that someone made a "peasant" gumbo), Hubig's pies, festivals and of course Mardi Gras.

Although I have been present in Minneapolis, especially since I am serving the greatest church in the world (and I mean it). I knew that a large part of my was still in the Crescent City.  I knew this would happen, that wonderful funky city got into our soul and rebirthed us.  Before the move upriver an Minnesotan expat gave some wise counsel to not compare New Orleans to Minneapolis.  Instead, appreciate the Twin Cities and the North Star State on its own terms.

Easier said than done.

Case in point.  On Tuesday the trash and recycling pick up took place.  I forgot to take out the containers Monday night.  Tuesday morning I looked at my neighbors' trash cans to tell if the truck had run yet.  Couldn't tell.  In NOLA it was quite easy to tell when the trash truck had run, the trash cans were usually on their side lying up on the curb or left in the street, here they were neatly placed in their exact spots!

But something happened this past week.  We decided to be New Orleanian souls in Minneapolis.
We starting by declaring our own Mardi Gras in the Twin Cities.  We took the kids out of school for the day, we made beignets for breakfast (next year we'll just go to The Baker's Wife and pick up a dozen of their wonderful selections of fried dough), then went to the Zoo, then to Popeye's for lunch (where we met a couple from New Orleans East who is in the process of moving back) and then to the Bryant-Lake bowling alley.  All in all it was a great day.  And it felt great.  And it felt like home, more than ever!  We're learning...

Thank you Dirty Coast for the t-shirt and stickers.

*yes, I misspelled misspelled on purpose.

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