Among residents’ other regular complaints are the roads, which often seem to be more pothole than concrete, and the water quality, which had much of the city on a “boil water” advisory (including for bathing) due to frozen pipes just days before I arrived.
I’m not a kismet kind of person, but recently I found those sneakers again, on the eve of a trip back to New Orleans that is the start of a complete 180-degree turn in my life.
I had just gotten my dream job as the lucky writer who gets to spend the next year traveling to every destination on The New York Times’s annual 52 Places to Go list — and New Orleans happened to be both No. It’s a thrilling opportunity, and I’ve been a wreck.
That’s something that the obsessive reporter in me is going to have to come to terms with, as does any traveler to some degree: Try to do everything and you’ll wind up missing the most magical parts of being far from home.“New Orleans is a feeling,” Angelika Joseph, a singer for the city’s only all-female brass band, The Pinettes, told me while chilling on a sidewalk after a show. From the sense I got on the ground, though, the tricentennial ranks pretty far below Mardi Gras as a thing the city is excited about. Charles Avenue, where I was staying, ladders were set up for the purpose of viewing parades that were two weeks out, and strings of beads from years past were dripping off every oak tree like moss.
“We’re so cool, even our trees have bling,” I overheard someone say.
I got a chance to visit Re NEW Cultural Arts Academy, a public arts magnet middle school in Irish Channel, as their marching band got ready for Mardi Gras.
They were as impressive as any professional musicians you’ll find on Frenchmen Street. Overlooked way too long in New Orleans, maybe because they’re women.”The group was formed at St.One woman I met at the Pinettes show, Renee Lapeyrolerie, wrote me, “Badly worded, not a crime, just a sin lol enjoy the rest of your stay,” and then advised me to put my phone in a zip-lock bag in case it rained.The city is certainly in the midst of a post-Katrina upswing, with plenty of new dining and drinking spots (the St.(Solo women travelers, as always, should exercise extra caution, no matter the outcry of locals.) But the city also has, I’ve learned, a very forgiving spirit.The same people who sent me angry messages had turned warm within minutes.Jazz Johnson, who teaches a class called Twerk Party, moved back after years of dancing professionally in New York City, because she wanted be a corrective for a school system that stopped nurturing the arts after Katrina.