Dear New Orleans,
I’ve known you my entire life. Born and raised in your suburbs. Loving you from afar but close enough to see the scars hidden from others. Your rolling good times and hurricanes that are celebrated and feared brought me back every time I left because you passionately allow what other cities deem unallowable. The go-cup, the Bourbon St. sights and the political flare is denied in lesser places.
You entice people into letting their hair down, and you never judge them. Whether it’s an accountant, a partier or a panhandler, you turn no one away. Your inclusiveness and ‘live and let live’ attitude is your charm, but it’s also your curse.
I’ve experienced pure joy, like the first bite of a beignet dipped in Café au lait, tossing a bead at the Endymion Alligator that snags onto a tooth, or dancing down a packed street with a second line. But I’ve also experienced things tough to imagine, like watching a firefighter dump bleach on the sidewalk to hide bloodstains, politicians hauled off to jail for lining their pockets, or hearing a mother’s screams when she’s told it’s her son shot dead in street.
But just when those sounds bubble up and become almost too much to bare, sounds of light jazz, the Steamboat Natchez and church bells fill the air and bring me some comfort.
I know you can be ugly. I know you can be corrupt. But like those you’ve welcomed including myself, we never judge you. You are the king of toeing the line, but you make sure that line is blurred.
Your devoted defender,
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