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.
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.