Jackson Square from a 2006 Motorola flip-phone
Do you ever talk about something so much, and you are so aware of it, that it even annoys you? I feel that way about New Orleans. It is to the point where I worry that I am going to annoy the people closest to me who hear about it the most, or else it will make them worry that I will leave them to return to that city.
I figured that one way to mentally move-on from my nine years in the Crescent City (yet simultaneously celebrate my cherished memories), is to pay tribute through writing everything out, getting it out of my head and into a story for whoever stumbles upon my writings. That should help, right?
One reason why I miss New Orleans since I left in 2011, is because of memories like this one:
Triggered every time I hear the old jazz standard, “All of Me”, I think about this young crazy chic who was rumored to be a prostitute, who used to sing this song once a week, alongside the jazz band that played nightly at my work. It was a restaurant called Angeli on Decatur- a late night joint in the French Quarter of New Orleans, two blocks from the banks of the Mississippi River.
For a few months after Hurricane Katrina, I had the privilege of working in a beautifully chaotic work environment. The kind of place where you needed a stiff drink when the shift was over, where you commiserate with co-workers over the hell you went through for the fat bankroll in your pocket. It was a unique time for a restaurant in this day and age: cash only, disposable dishes and utensils, a packed house nightly, sympathy and hyper-gratitude in the tips flowing into our hands left and right.
We were one of the only restaurants open in the entire city after Hurricane Katrina and in addition to that, we had jazz bands play every night of the week. It was full of community spirit and joy- to be back and see the familiar faces of those who waited out the storm, or had the fortune to come back (not to mention something to come back to).
Things were all nice and dandy until a neighbor reported the restaurant for noise disturbances, even though we cut the music at 10pm, and she lived in the FUCKING FRENCH QUARTER, on a busy street. We even knew who she was- she was one of our customers! A friendly one that we liked! This street had been traditionally festive with a casual neighborly style of nightlife for awhile now. Its not like it was Bourbon Street, full of thumping bass, and screaming frat boys celebrating their spring break.
We felt like she just betrayed the whole neighborhood. Personally, I feel like even if you have never been to New Orleans, there is a universal understanding of what kind of neighborhood the French Quarter is: a location in the heart of the city, full of people. This is where people “do things” (wink-wink)… Continue reading