Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans?

Map of where Empire, Lousiana is located

That’s Empire, Louisiana and that’s my home town. A small town that is an hour’s drive outside of New Orleans. It’s where I actually grew up but let’s be honest, which are people going to know?

Most people’s visual memory of New Orleans in the media probably stems from the glitz and glam of drunken, costumed reveliers celebrating Mardi Gras. Or, those wretched souls walking through waist deep flood waters after Katrina. It’s always a coin toss of what’ll be someone’s comment when I tell people where I’m from. Was I there during the flood? Does Mardi Gras really get that wild? It’s alright too. Both sides of that coin are true and equally important.

Lately, I’ve been feeling a restless in myself to change my life. I’ve idealized my beginnings to some fantastical modern day combination of Huck Finn and Encylcopedia Brown. My grandfather’s barge the Miss Lucifer and his feats of junkyard engineering right along with getting my first computer in the late 80’s. My parish had a school boat for kids in the bayou camps to get to school. Everything that I took for granted that I wonder if in my impending midlife crisis that I’m not over exagertating to myself.

Putting all that aside I do find myself using that as a lens for my feelings of disconnect. Bad news about global warming, well that reminds me of the dead zone that shows up in the Gulf of Mexico every sprind due to farm runoff. Income inequality, that just goes straight back to how the bankers of New Orleans flooded my parish in 1927. Corrupt politicians? Well one of my first times voting for govener my choice was between Edwin Edwards and David Duke. The known crook and the KKK grand wizard.

So why is it that I feel a since of longing for a place that I ran away from the moment I graduated high school and that every bad bit of news reminds me about the things that are wrong with back home? I just don’t understand myself sometimes.