Matt and I flew down to New Orleans—one of my favorite cities in the world, his hometown—a few weeks ago. My mother and her boyfriend, Charley, joined us.
Stepping outside that first morning, I inhaled the thick, warm air. It smelled like earth, like dew, like the tropics. We weren’t in Boston anymore.
We spent the weekend exploring. The French Quarter. The Marigny. Uptown, downtown, the Garden District. On Sunday, we took a trip out to some plantations, their grounds lined with ancient Live Oaks. We had a lovely meal at Sylvain. And a fantastic one at NOLA. There was a fried green tomato po’boy that kind of blew me away. A Sazerac at the Columns Hotel. My love of beignets will never falter; especially if I continue to eat them alongside the thick, bitter coffee served at the Café du Monde.
One afternoon a street musician—who played the clarinet like it was a living thing, like she didn’t just want to, but she needed to—stopped us in our tracks. When she was joined by a little boy playing a recorder, I melted into my shoes.
I finished the long weekend with an interview at the local NPR affiliate, and a reading at the GardenDistrict Book Shop. Talking about smell in New Orleans is especially fun, because, well, the smells of New Orleans are especially intense. From the rich, spicy aroma of shrimp gumbo to the rather unpleasant olfactory assault of Bourbon Street on a Saturday night. From the sweet scent of powdered sugar melting atop a hot beignet to the briny breeze coming off the Mississippi River. It’s a city filled with life.
(While in the city, my mom and Charley stayed at The McKendrick-Breaux House. It’s on Magazine Street, in the quite-funky Lower Garden District. The owner, Brett, is fantastic. He collects old yearbooks, and makes a mean pancake. Need a place to stay? We highly recommend.)