I grew up admiring New Orleans from the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain. In my young eyes, the city was flawless, full of life and excitement every time we visited. Growing up, we rang in the New Year watching fireworks over the Mississippi River. On a weekend trip, we fed the ducks and climbed the trees in City Park, then ate beignets at Morning Call. Of course, we came in for Mardi Gras and festivals too. It was always a brief but memorable visit.
I distinctly remember the time I left New Orleans “for good” when I took a job in California to start my career. After saying goodbye to my family and future husband, I sat in Louis Armstrong International crying like a fool. From the jazz music to the beignets and the Lucky Dog stand, I realized the place I was going wouldn’t have a single one of these things. My mind was racing. Should I have brought some Tony’s with me? Grits? Zatarains? I had taken it all for granted until that very moment. I wanted to run out of the airport, but it was too late.
So, I went. And now I like to think that year and a half away from home made me more appreciative of everything New Orleans has to offer.
I returned to marry my husband in St. Mary’s Catholic Church on Chartres Street, the same place my grandparents wed 60 years prior. Our first little home was a half of a shotgun on the banks of Bayou St. John. I was offered my dream job with FOX 8 “The Weather Authority” alongside meteorologists I respected, with weather I loved forecasting, and for a community I cared deeply about. Maybe it was coincidentally the best year of my life. Maybe it was New Orleans.
I thought I loved New Orleans as a kid growing up on the north shore. Then, I thought I loved it when I moved away. Now, having lived and worked here for two years, I know this will always be home, and it always has been.
This year, I’ll add another precious memory to my time in New Orleans as we welcome our first child. So, I think I love New Orleans now, but seeing it through my baby’s eyes may just make me love it even more.
Laissez les bon temps rouler!
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