New Orleans is my city. I was born and raised here, and will love it through and through.
We’ve survived fires, hurricanes, foreign occupation, massive potholes… and we keep the party rolling through it all. But sometimes, it’s hard to keep wearing that smile as the state continues down its current path.
My editor pointed me towards an article titled “It’s time to grow up, Louisiana” by Nola.com columnist, Tim Morris. When I first read the headlines, I scoffed at it. I skimmed through it reluctantly, thinking it was yet another piece about our rampant crime or often too laid-back attitude that seems to be a popular criticism of the city. I thought to myself, “Great. Yet another article trying to scare off tourists.”
But then I kept reading and found myself agreeing with pretty much everything Mr. Morris had to say. It was a succinct and brutally honest piece about our state that shines a light on the ugly truth: Our state is in trouble.
The party is over. It’s time to grow up. Playing for tips in the French Quarter just ain’t cutting it. – Tim Morris
Between the dismal state of our education to the criminally low wages and basically extortion costs of housing, what are we really celebrating?
Sure, we have some of the best damn parties this side of the Mississippi. And we may have food so good that makes you never want to leave. But after the party dies down and the dishes are stacked in the sink, you’re left with an almost empty and unsatisfying feeling.
As Mr. Morris also points out, we have a serious spending issue. We want all the nice things and shiny new toys, but then we’re shocked when the bill hits our plate. We look for the immediate pay off rather than the long-term investment. It’s about what can we have today despite what we can work towards two weeks from now. And it’s tiring.
But I get it, that’s kind of our thing and always has been. We’ve always just been an afterthought of whatever municipality or nation-of-the-month that ruled us, so we had to get by on our own. Like a scrappy little brother or neglected cousin on that side of the family, we often had to fend for ourselves. We think because we’ve been on our own for so long, that we can keep up with the old ways.
But every coin has two sides.
That isolation fostered the identity that grew into what we are today. It strengthened us and helped build a “laissez-faire” way of life that we’ve been known for. When it comes down to the nitty-gritty, we really do look out for our own. Sure, we have some rotten apples that tend to spoil the bunch but as a whole, we’re a big family. A sometimes dysfunctional and barely holding together family, but a family none the less.
This is where my hope for the city lies. I’ve met some of the most incredible people that I am honored to call my friends and family in this city. I’ve heard stories that have touched me and made me fall in love with the people here.
There really is no place like New Orleans. I’ve traveled and lived in many different cities all around the world, but I’ve always missed being home. Because even with our faults and failings, this is home. Even if I end up leaving one day, New Orleans will always be home.