Pauline Baird Jones, author, writer, romantic suspense author, science fiction romance author, steampunk, humor, action adventure
The mix of charm and whimsy captured my imagination from the first day. I really believe the creative ambiance of New Orleans helped me push through to become a published author.
Copyright by WyoJones. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

When we moved to New Orleans a lot of years ago, I didn’t expect to fall in love with the Big Easy. I grew up in Wyoming and New Orleans is pretty much the opposite of it in almost every way. I did expect to find it fascinating and I was not disappointed. It was so interesting that I wrote a column about my adventures in New Orleans for my hometown newspaper called Letters Home.

I wasn’t the first, nor will I be the last, author to be inspired by the city “that care forgot.”

Because care may have forgotten New Orleans, but the Muses didn’t. When you walk through the French Quarter where greats like William Faulkner and Tennessee Williams also walked, when you listen to the music, when you look at the artwork–both in galleries and by street artists–you’d swear there must be something in the air.

Out of thousands of things I didn’t know before I moved to New Orleans, here are three:

Frances Parkinson Keyes lived there.

We all learned (or should have) about A Streetcar Named Desire, while still in school. You can’t go anywhere in New Orleans without hearing a ghostly, “Stella!” We certainly relied on the “kindness of strangers” when we moved there.

But I did not know that in the 50’s Frances Parkinson Keyes moved there. I have two of her books on my keeper shelf: The Safe Bridge and Came A Cavalier (I probably should track down a less hammered copy of that one. It’s falling to pieces.)

I did not know what Zydeco was.

I also didn’t know that the washboard was an instrument used by Zydeco bands. If you would like to know more about Zydeco, check out their organization. If you would like to hear some, or see a washboard being played, check out this video by Boozoo Chaviz. That’s right, his name is Boozoo Chaviz. He passed on 2001. The Zydeco bands have really cool names, and so do the dudes in the bands. He was one of our favorites when we used to go to JazzFest. And if you’d like to see Zydeco dancing, check this out. Maybe take notes. 🙂

I had never heard Laissez les bons temps rouler.

You probably knew it means “Let the good times roll,” but I was from Wyoming. But now I know.

While I’m not sorry we got transferred before Katrina, I will never forget our 18 years in New Orleans. My world expanded in every direction, particularly my food palate. As Alex, my hero from Relatively Risky, puts it, “No question the food wooed the taste buds, wined, dined, and entertained them. Lured a body like those sirens in the legends.”

I suppose it was inevitable that I’d return to New Orleans, if only fictionally. Have you visited New Orleans? Lived there? Left there? Still waiting for it to leave you?

All comments are entered into my monthly drawing for $10 AnaBanana gift card. Winner is announced in the first blog post of the new month.

Pauline Baird Jones, author, writer, romantic suspense author, science fiction romance author, steampunk, humor, Project Enterprise

Perilously,

Pauline

Relatively Risky is the first book in my new series, The Big Uneasy releasing in March, 2013.

When an aspiring illustrator attracts the attention of a New Orleans mob family, and secrets long hidden are unearthed from the past, a handsome homicide detective may be her only chance of surviving the Big Easy.

If you like your fiction laced with adventure, romance, humor and sometimes New Orleans, check out my books at www.paulinebjones.

Pauline Baird Jones, author, writer, romantic suspense author, science fiction romance author, steampunk, humor, action adventure
I return (fictionally) to New Orleans for my first romantic suspense novel in five years. Cover art by Elizabeth Vargas Greer. All rights reserved.

3 Things I Learned Living in New Orleans

12 thoughts on “3 Things I Learned Living in New Orleans

  • February 26, 2013 at 11:08 pm
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    I’ve been to the Big Easy twice and loved it both times!

    I’m wondering if you or one of your readers could help me with a N.O. writer’s research question? In my latest book, a character commits a second-degree murder in New Orleans in 1997, and I need to give him a home. He’s an unemployed white man with a chip on his shoulder about race. So can anyone give me a suggestion for a poor, run-down area that a fellow like this might have been living in in the late 90’s?

    I’d really appreciate any help – this is the kind of research question that you can’t google, you need to speak to someone who lived there!

    • February 27, 2013 at 9:54 am
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      I consulted with the hubs and we agreed that the Irish Channel, Magazine, (lower Garden District) possibly even on the West Bank in Gretna (unless you need him in New Orleans proper). The challenge with New Orleans is that nice bumps up against not nice. So I’d avoid getting too specific.

        • February 27, 2013 at 10:19 am
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          Most happy to help. It is hard to know stuff like this and yeah, google doesn’t work. My first thought was, google street view, but then I thought, it can’t look back in time. LOL However, if a house is decrepit now, it was probably shady back then. So street view might help you get a sense of the area a bit? Good luck!

  • February 25, 2013 at 8:37 pm
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    My first attempt at leaving a comment disappeared. *pout* Oh, well! I’ve been to New Orleans only once. It was fabulous. I did a walking tour and learned a lot! I have family in Louisiana (Cajun French heritage from both parents), but I’d never gone to NOLA. It was a little overwhelming for me though.

    • February 26, 2013 at 9:28 pm
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      If you were only a little overwhelmed, then you did great! And it is fabulous, isn’t it?

  • February 25, 2013 at 8:23 am
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    My husband and I went before we were married, which was YEARS ago, but I still get the itch to return. Especially now that I’m a writer. I hate that I didn’t pay more attention to details. But I loved loved loved it.

    • February 25, 2013 at 10:10 am
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      New Orleans does get under your skin. It sometimes drove me crazy to live there (the pot holes!), but I still miss it. And the food! Sigh.

  • February 25, 2013 at 8:18 am
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    New Orleans is one of the few places in the country that I have yet to be and yearn to visit. I love learning new things about local flair though, so thanks for the info.

    Oh, caught the Trebble episode this weekend. Very nice.

    • February 25, 2013 at 10:01 am
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      The hubs is an explorer, so he has tons of pictures and insight into the Big Easy. If you do go (and we’re still alive LOL), be sure to ask! Glad you liked the tribbles! I love episodes that have a sense of humor. Might have to blog about that. LOL

  • February 25, 2013 at 5:25 am
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    I have visited New “aw’lens” and loved it. There IS something in the air. In the French Quarter I’d say it’s booze, but it’s also an indefinable excitement, the expectation that there’s something around the corner that will delight and surprise. What’s really cool is there is much more to New Orleans than just the French Corner. Haven’t been there in years. I think it just got on my list for a return visit. 🙂

    • February 25, 2013 at 10:00 am
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      My favorite place is/was the Garden District. I loved riding the streetcar, so I could study the houses and soak up the green. There are, I think, cities that just have “it,” whether it is magic or personality. San Antonio, San Fran, New York, are like that, too, though they are all so different!

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