I'm going to New Orleans today. I've taken my sweet time returning to a city I love. I've been busy but that's no excuse to avoid the Big Easy.
My first trip to New Orleans was in 1969. I arrived wearing bell-bottomed blue jeans, a peace symbol embroidered on the back pocket. I carried a batik cloth bag over my shoulder filled with bits of paper, a few bills and lipstick (somethings never change). My hair was past my shoulders and parted in the middle. I arrived as a stereotype before the icon appeared.
I returned to N.O. over the years for visits, work, conferences, parties, to see relatives. For all kinds of reasons including buying a toddler train toy for LS and to take LH to the great folks at Oschner Hospital years ago. The city is a magnet.
Haven't been back since the Storm, though. I'll go today. I'm not sure I can stand seeing the destruction. Maybe I'll be on roads so paved with tourist tracks that I won't see any misery at all. I'm a chicken. It's like going home from college the first time and seeing your parents look old. I'm not up for that today.
I'm going in.