There are two options to get to your hotel from the Louis Armstrong Airport. You can have a taxi take you directly there or you can hop on a shuttle. If you want the city to unfold organically and better than any map, take the shuttle. Our trip started around 10am after a red eye from SFO. Everything was shuttered, slightly wet, and barely moving on a mid-May morning. The stillness washed over me. I had spent the last few years waking up to suburban city sounds of gardening crews and commutes. This was a place that could wait.
There is plenty to do in NOLA. We visited all three Audubon centers for land, sea, and bugs. Took the trolley to the outdoor sculpture museum and went on a nonprofit graveyard tour. I toasted Oscar Wilde with a gin fizz at the Old Absinthe House while my newly stamped husband sampled hurricanes. We stopped into the Pharmacy, Food, and Voodoo museums and eat our weight in seafood. After leaving we placed a black and white photo of a green trolley car in our bedroom with a promise to return.
I have been warned that it’s easy to fall in love with a place while on vacation. To cling to this romantic notion and not think through the practicality. But I cannot be practical about New Orleans because it was the first and only place where I felt connected to the conjuring. I was wary that feeling was created for the tourists, very wary. And then I just let go of that and gave in. Why must we be so cynical? It felt good to be engulfed by the acceptance of magic. Ritual was alive here. Perhaps it is in part the expectations of the visiting population that keeps it on Bourbon street but that’s what keeps the liquor flowing too. And for anyone whose local supply shop has been run by asshats, having a choice in craft stores felt like a dream. I wanted more than anything to stay and learn.
Almost a year ago a dear friend of mine posted a question. What would you do if you were brave? I was working on average 60 hours a week at the time at a job that had become a bad boyfriend. Without a second thought I knew if I were brave I’d go back to NOLA and stay. So when I finally broke up with that job and became free of that buzzing city a new possibility opened up. We would retreat to the Midwest where we could both afford to finish our education and then launch our 30s in the South. When is anything magical a direct route anyway? I am preparing myself to be open to a spiritual education once I get the one that will pay the bills out of the way. And shortening the miles between where we are and where we want to be allows us to plan trips and plant some planning seeds. I want to grow roots in this swamp land and join the struggle to keep it’s magic alive. This is where I am meant to be.
(number 36 on the pagan blog project week 28)