New Orleans Night 1:
We stepped into the night, into a sort of balminess I’ve never experienced. I’ve experienced hot, I’ve experienced humid. This was neither. This was balmy, which maybe I thought I had some sort of an idea of, but had I ever thought that in the past I would have been wrong. Because this was my first truly balmy night, my first encounter with Southern air. It was thick, but not in an unpleasant way. Thick in an oddly welcoming way, like the city was so welcoming that even the air wrapped itself round you in a welcoming embrace. It didn’t sit atop your skin with a stickiness, but you could feel it, and could not help but be aware of it. It simply made its presence known. This was the pleasantly balmy Spring evening I had always read about, and imagined in all the wrong ways.
Our first Uber driver was a non-native and non-talkative. When we asked if he had any recommendations as to where to go, what to see, what to eat, he paused for half a second, and then answered, “No.” One single word, and not a single recommendation for two weary travelers, first-time visitors. Picking up people from the airport, with no language barriers to speak of is literally the easiest conversation one could make, really. And recommendations in a big city for first time visitors is another easy task. Is your city so bad that you can’t think of a single enjoyable thing to do, see or eat!? For fuck’s sake, even something as common and obvious as “Bourbon Street” would have been better than a monosyllabic “No”.
As we exited the freeway and glided down surface streets towards our Lakeview AirBnB, we could see the lush green lining the streets even in the dark. A thirty-three dollar Uber ride landed us on a quiet street corner. The place was was every bit as beautiful as the listing photos. A cosy yet spacious mid-century modern dream nestled in the midst of a gorgeous little neighborhood. We were starving of course, and everything was closed of course, unless we wanted a bar. So we did what any other red-blooded American would do. We called for pizza. I know… in a city steeped in rich history and culinary gifts our first meal was the common mundane pizza pie. And it wasn’t even a local must-try. It was a run of the mill chain, but desperate times call for desperate measures and it was delicious and it saved our lives and it was a wonderful pre-breakfast mini meal the following morning, and the girl who answered the phone said “ya’all” and it made me smile so there was something to be said for our seemingly lackluster first culinary experience for two newcomers to an historic city.
We feasted on pizza and reveled in the excitement of being in a new city, electrified by the anticipation of what tomorrow morning could bring. Properly fed and fueled, we explored our little domicile – our home for the next five nights.