Just before Christmas, Ian and I made a long overdue return to New Orleans, not having been back since right after Katrina, and I am happy to report that I found my beloved city as lush and warm and deliriously enchanting as I remembered it. The Spanish moss hung from the branches of the mighty live oaks, the fine, pale-green threads swinging in the breeze like upside-down coral in a sea’s current. The shotguns and Creole cottages shone in colors so rich they could be tasted, draped in decorations that would stay festive year-round. The front porch of the Columns Hotel beamed and beckoned. Storefronts glowed, streetcars clanked, and dogs ruled the levee, running along the bank like children out of school. It was a wonderful Christmas gift.
And though I know the city lives every day with its challenges (the Gulf hasn’t forgotten its oil drowning and neither can we) and many, many people remain hard at work trying to rebuild from Katrina’s destruction, I am grateful and so proud of those who returned to honor such a precious place. My thanks to you. It was a privilege to call New Orleans my home once upon a time.
So this year, if you’ve never been to New Orleans or if you haven’t been in a while, treat yourself. Help celebrate the rebirth and the continuing growth and preservation of this treasure.
Your heart and belly, ears, nose and soul will thank you.
Happy New Year, friends. May 2011 bring peace and goodwill. And may we all do our part to make that wish come true.