I spent this past weekend, like many weekends before, in my hometown city, New Orleans, LA. This time was different though because I realized that soon those kind of weekends will change from a routinely normal weekend, to a special weekend visit when they happen. I always knew that I would end up moving away from home eventually... I just didn't realize that I would be moving across the whole state of Louisiana and Texas. So here are some things I will miss about this magical place called southern Louisiana.
1. New Orleans
I am so lucky to have grown up just 20 minutes outside of a city that people travel from all over the world to experience. Time after time, New Orleans and it's people have shown me it's uniqueness in the street performers and art, it's resiliency in the way mother nature destroyed the city and it's people built it back up, it's compassion in the way that we take people in as if they were our own no matter who they are, and all the good times that come along with it. From elementary school field trips to the aquarium on the Riverwalk and lunch at Jackson Square, walking up and down Bourbon Street in my high school prom dress, and to buying my first legal drink in the French Quarter. While some people visit New Orleans and only see the dirty streets and smell the foul odors, I see it as a place where I grew up... a home.
2. The Food
Crawfish... Need I say more? I don't need to but, I will. Everyone knows that there's nothing quite like good ole Louisiana home cooking, and if you've never experienced it, I highly suggest it. Not just the seafood, but the jamabalya, gumbo, etouffee, number 7 baked macaroni. Honestly, the list goes on and on and on and.... on. Don't get me wrong, I love Mexican food, and Daniel's mom is one of the best cooks that I've ever met. But I promise there will come a time when I am deep in West Texas that I say, "Damn, I really want some crawfish".
3. Family and Friends
This is obviously a big one. I only have family in two states... Louisiana and Texas. However, my family in Texas lives closer to southern Louisiana than they do to West Texas. Me moving just means more opportunities for my family to come to new places to visit me and trips home will be that much more special. As far as friendship goes, I think my friends are more excited about me moving than I am (but really). They're happy for me and Daniel, but even more happy that they will get to come visit in whatever city we may be in at the time. There are a few friendships that I know can last the miles, and I already made Daniel promise to fly out my best friend for all special occasions.
4. Southern Hospitality
No one will ever quite treat you like "ya mom and 'dem" besides the people from the South. Bringing in people and feeding them is basically a part of our culture. Don't get me wrong, not all people here have the nicest southern manners, but you'll walk into a place as a stranger and leave with ten friends that know all about your life. It's kind of just how it goes here. Everyone talks to everyone, everyone feeds everyone, everyone welcomes everyone.
5. Open Container Laws/ Drive-thru Daiquiris
The very first time I walked across a Texas parking lot with a beer in my hand, I thought Daniel's friends were going to have a heart attack. The best part is, I didn't even realize what I was doing wrong. People in restaurants outside the state of Louisiana look at me like I have two heads when I ask for "go cup" before I remember that that's only a thing where I'm from. So sometimes you have to get creative in other states... Like by asking for a to go water cup and then dumping your margarita in it. Desperate times, you know?
6. The Saints
Nothing brings New Orleans and the surrounding cities together quite like some Saints football. Drew Brees and the Saints were like our saving grace after Hurricane Katrina, and that legacy still lives on here. Being in the Superdome is the rowdiest, loudest, most entertaining experience, and I know I won't find another place like that no matter what state I'm in. And let's be honest, Drew Brees is the best quarterback of all time, right?
(Yes, Daniel is a Tom Brady and Patriots fan. No, I don't want to talk about it.)
7. Water Sports/Boating... or just bodies of water in general??
Daniel and his friends think I am crazy for swimming in lakes and bayous as I grew up... "But what about the alligators?" Uh.. What about them? I never realized how big of a deal growing up near the water was until Daniel and I took our first beach vacation and he acted as if he was seeing water for the first time. It's such a normal thing for me to spend a weekend at the lake or on a boat. I love the open water... lakes, rivers, oceans and all that comes with it. Daniel doesn't even like fishing, which I guess makes sense considering he grew up surrounded by sand.
8. Mardi Gras
People travel from everywhere to experience Mardi Gras. I've even met people that came from Australia one time. So whats the big deal about being pegged in the head with beads, you ask? The whole experience of it! There's nothing like standing on elevated surfaces screaming "Throw me something, mister!" at random people on floats. Daniel's first Mardi Gras experience was this past year, and we almost missed it because of baseball, but a rained out game gave him his first taste of Mardi Gras, and he had so much fun. The floats are beautiful, the after party extravaganza balls are beautiful, the bands rock, and the beads sometimes hurt, but Mardi Gras is something that my family and I never miss... And no matter where I am, I don't plan on missing it anytime soon.
Even though I'll miss all these things about home and more, I am gaining so much adventure and experience on this ride with Daniel. I'm gaining new family and friends in West Texas and Arizona, and I can't wait for so much more to come! So tell me, what are your favorite things to do and see in West Texas and Arizona?
Thanks for reading!
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