Tuesday, July 25, 2006

And Cece Was Crying....

My daughter Cece called me yesterday, and I could tell she was choked up over something. And, you know what, it was something that all of us have been choked up over since last August--she missed New Orleans. And she meant she missed New Orleans in every way imaginable. She didn't miss just being in the city--she missed the whole lifestyle. As she told me, New Orleans was the kind of city that she could be herself--without any hesitations, no pretending, with real personality. As she spends the last few weeks of her summer vacation at home away from New Orleans, she realizes that she has "had to" adapt to life without New Orleans--and she doesn't like it. She wants to go back to New Orleans, in body, in mind, and in spirit.

Isn't this how many of us feel?

I just heard that a good friend of mine has closed his shop in New Orleans and has moved away to North Carolina. I haven't talked with him in a few months, but I thought that Harry Anderson and his club "Oswald's" would somehow make it through the post-K world. I also knew that his business really thrives on the tourists. Without tourists, his business would significantly struggle. He was a great personality in the city, and my children had taken him into their hearts. Now, another piece of New Orleans that we won't be able to appreciate again...

I miss New Orleans too. I always will. It will never be the same, and in some ways it shouldn't be the same. No doubt. But what I miss, and I think what Cece misses, are the close interactions we had with many people in the city. The interactions of neighborhood, of community, of commerce. Cece felt so at home in New Orleans. Carefree, without any need to worry about time, snowballs in the Quarter or on Magazine Street at Tee Eva's, going to see Rhonda at Funrockin', bumping into Blake at a street party or having him over the house for a salon (remember "Winn Dixie"?), going to the OZ studios to be on the air--she loved it all. And I did too.

I sit back here in my living room right now, listening to my new show on Live-365, looking at Simon's art on the walls, at all the Mardi Gras stuff that lines the house, the smells of pork chops and red beans still fragrent in the kitchen--I can almost believe that I am back in New Orleans. But it is an incomplete picture--it doesn't include Blake and Rhonda and Harry and Elizabeth and Angel and Brian and Bob and OZ and walks on Decatur Street and drinks at Harry's Corner and street musicians on Royal and panhandlers in Jackson Square and the smell of the Quarter on a Sunday morning or Miss Lee hollering hello to us or the incredible smell as you enter the Rendon Grocery or special tours through the Aquarium or riding our bikes to Tulane or having lunch on the sidewalk on Conti Street or the fireworks over the river or sneaking into the Blue Nile when Fredy Omar is playing or just walking up and down Frenchman Street on a Saturday night....

It doesn't even compare....

We miss the people, and the interaction with people, and the interaction with people like us who didn't care about time, about the absurdities of normal life, and cared more about saying hello to each other and spending some time talking or sharing stories and music.

That's what I miss. That's what makes Cece cry. That's what still makes me cry.


Cece said...

Yeah, I am having a bit of a delayed reaction. But...you got that one on the dot. I miss all of that. But I am getting my story published! :) The Girl Scouts of America want to feature my story on their website. So at least I can tell other girls about the city. I think girls my age don't know why they should help. Maybe if I show them that I am not a "survivor" but a girl like them, with a wonderful city...they will understand and care more. So yay. Love ya Daddy.

Anonymous said...

I seriously hope that you and Mama will move back when you both can. I know that it isn't the best enviroment for Devin and stuff, but it would be great to have you guys back.


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