Happy Birthday New Orleans!

Happy Birthday New Orleans

New Orleans Tricentennial

I don’t know about you, but 300 years of New Orleans is more than I can sometimes wrap my head around.

Parades. Crawfish boils. Picnics in the park. So many Sundays spent walking through the French Quarter that I’ve lost count. Raising a family. Watching newcomers settle in, watching some of them find their way back out again, because this city isn’t for everyone.

We’ve got warts, for sure. Our infrastructure is showing every one of the 300 years. City services are sorely lacking in too many departments. That laissez faire attitude that permeates our culture can be a drawback when it’s time to get our head in the game and compete.

But….

There’s Wednesdays on the Square and Wednesdays on the Point. A festival for every imaginable food. Dancing for every reason. Or no reason at all. Passing people on the street, who were raised right, that respond to your call of “good morning” (or WHO DAT! during football season).

There’s the hot, sultry summer, when we all bond and commiserate while sweating our little tushes off. There are the occasional freezing winters, when we bond over the names of plumbers that can fix our busted pipes. The glorious springs, when the jasmine starts to bloom and festival season kicks into overdrive. The fabulous falls, when the Saints return to the Dome and school fairs fill every weekend.

Your favorite neighborhood bar, where the tourists never show up and the bartender knows what you want before you sit down. That snowball stand around the corner, the po-boy shop where the waitress calls everyone Dawlin’, the Catholic traditions that are intrinsically entwined in our city, whether we are part of the church or not.

There’s sidewalk side vs neutral ground side. Dressed vs plain. Playing the where did you go to school game. Knowing your friends mama and other family members. Getting invited to dinner so you won’t be alone at the holidays.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. New Orleans is something different to everyone who lives here. And that’s what makes it so special, so unique, and the place that I’m still proud to call home.

Happy Birthday, New Orleans. You look good.

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