I’m a transplant in this beautiful city I now call home. I wasn’t born here, and I certainly wasn’t raised here. The first time I tried king cake I was 26 years old, and last week was the first time I sucked a crawfish head. I lived here for two years before even riding a streetcar. Don’t get me started on snowballs or the looks I get when I accidentally call them snow cones. I’m just a Georgia girl learning this place called New Orleans. One thing I still haven’t mastered is the big question “Where did you go to school?” I almost always respond with my university which immediately gives me away as a transplant. Nobody here cares where you went to college, they want to know where you went to high school!
Raising my family, the New Orleans way
As I mentioned earlier, I am a Georgia girl through and through. I grew up on sweet tea and fried chicken after church at Grandma’s. Southern traditions are nothing new to me. But when I moved to New Orleans, I came across new types of traditions I had never experienced before. The culture was intoxicating. I fell in love. Now that my fiancé and I are raising our kids here, we want to make sure they fall in love with this city too. For starters, we live for Mardi Gras. We attend as many parades as possible with our four boys. I will never forget the year we showed up as newbies with no bag to carry throws or beads. We looked insane walking down Vets with a thousand beads around our necks and our stroller stuffed full of throws. Let’s just say we never forgot a bag again.
Another way we try to incorporate the New Orleans culture into our home is by cooking. We try to include a New Orleans dish one night a week. Whether it is Red Beans and Rice, Jambalaya, Gumbo, Crawfish Étouffée, or Muffulettas, our kids love the food just as much as we do. Now I think back to the little Cajun restaurant on the square in my hometown Covington, GA, and chuckle. Who knew the Thursday nights that I went with my family that one day I would be making similar dishes living in the Big Easy.
Living for the black and the gold
Even though I’ve only lived in New Orleans for about four years now, I’ve quickly picked up on the love this city has for its New Orleans Saints. You can’t walk downtown on a night when the Saints play and not hear “Who Dat!” I’ve even started becoming a fan. Of course, my first love will always be the Miami Dolphins, but I don’t mind rooting on the Saints! I always make sure my kids have a shirt for the days at school when there is a black and gold day. I know my kids will grow up as a Saints fan because of the influence the dedicated fans have over the city. You can’t live in New Orleans and hate the Saints, it would be impossible.
We have explored a good portion of this city and yet there is always more to do. More festivals to attend, more parades to catch some beads at, and a continuing amount of activities for my family. If you truly want to fall in love with this city, you’ve got to get out there and experience it. That’s exactly what we are trying to instill in our children. Being a transplant isn’t always so bad, because all of my New Orleans “firsts” have been shared with my children. New Orleans hasn’t always been my home, but it sure is now!