New Orleans, Part 1

This was written by my coworker and editor, Ryan Miller, and posted on his blog “Standing in the Shallows” a couple of weeks ago. I’m interested in sharing it because I’ve noticed that I have the same tendencies when traveling: I look for the city I’m expecting and it sometimes takes me awhile to recover and appreciate what’s there. If you want to learn more about Ryan, you can check out my Accomplices page or his website.

standing in the shallows

Image

I was looking for New Orleans. After two days in the city, I was itching to find it. It being an undefinable something I hadn’t yet discovered, but that I would soon recognize as being quantifiably New Orleans. Maybe I was looking for the heart of the city. Or its soul.

But that it can’t be forced. Truth be told, I don’t think it really exists.

The problem is that I was looking for my idea of the city: a fictional amalgamation of various incarnations of the Big Easy pulled from books and movies, music and stories, even visits to Disneyland. I was looking now for a New Orleans that no longer existed and would never exist, a romantic vision that mingled the most haunting and historic aspects of its past with the most poetic and glimmering hopes of what it could be.

As a visitor, I nonetheless didn’t want…

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