A [short] love letter to New Orleans

Susan J. Megy
4 min readMar 31, 2018

My love for New Orleans knows no bounds. I’m not sure she feels the same way about me, but it's all good.

Nola, you enchantress. You draw me in, fire me up and tug at my soul.

Your decadent, radiant vibe is impossible to ignore. Your cadre of eclectic, free-spirited, musical, artistic human beings is raw and true.

Your damp air of melancholy and mystery lingers on every street corner.

You are resilient. And you have hope and tenacity. You didn’t let Katrina destroy you. You did not pave your broken streets. You did not cover-up. Building back, you eschewed soulless strip malls. You picked up the pieces and found your mojo again.

For 300 years you continually reinvented yourself, while holding on to traditions that make you unique. I love you for that.

You are musical. Your streets amass trombones, tubas, guitars, and saxophones. Bars, buskers, cafés brim with merriment. Music is your soul, infiltrating every membrane, every crevice. Your Musicians are raw and talented. They play real instruments, not beatboxes or synthesizers.

Of course, with your music comes parades and celebrations. You celebrate everything and nothing in tandem. Every moment is cause for a second line.

Your cuisine is unrivaled. Po-boys, beignets, pralines, jambalaya, gumbo, fusion Creole and Cajun. Southern comfort infused with fresh gulf seafood. Spices, spices, spices.

You are the Cartagena of North America. Visually stunning. Your mix of live oak and cypress trees, mossy, swamp-like beauty, and colorful architecture give the streets a hauntingly, alive vibe.

The scent of history permeates every street. An unexplainable damp, wood scent that smells ancient. Centuries of stories behind your storm-battered shutters.

Your architecture is as diverse as your people — a melange of southern gothic, European, Haitian, African, and the Caribbean. From French to Spanish to American rule, you did not embrace nor adopt your newfound American identity. You remained French for more than 100 years.

Like your food and architecture, your culture, and way of thinking are influenced by an array of cultures. To loosely quote Tennessee Williams, you make other cities look like Cleveland.

You are dark and fascinatingly creepy. Documented hauntings, stories of kidnappers draining victims’ blood, voodoo queens, and torture chambers where Frankenstein experiments took place on live people.

And, the seedy side of Storyville.

It is your eccentric underbelly mingled with your zest for life that stirs my soul like a succulent gumbo. If humans are not somehow moved or inspired by you in some way, they need to check their pulse.

This year NOLA turns 300 — she is older than the rest of the country and she’s a class act. Here’s a list of 18 things to do to celebrate NOLA’s Tricentennial. [#16–18 are my favorite, but I’ll try all at some point]. #Happy Birthday NOLA, #300 #@NOLA300th

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Susan J. Megy

Works in countries not on tourist lists. Humanitarian + storyteller. Defends the oppressed. Loves Stoics, Sazeracs & shotgun houses.