“New Orleans is simply incredible. After over a decade of traveling the world, I can personally attest to it’s perfect uniqueness. The food, the music, the people, how well we throw a party. I’m so lucky, blessed and infatuated with this place. Here’s to you, Big Easy, and your absolute refusal to drown.” – Kristin Dugas.
Through our mutual love of travel and the amazing city of New Orleans, Kristin and I connected on Instagram, and finally got a chance to hang out on my recent trip to NOLA. We met for lunch at Elizabeth’s, a funky restaurant in the Bywater neighborhood that serves up delicious concoctions like Praline bacon, great cocktails, and classic country dishes for breakfast and brunch. We gushed about our recent trips (she just flew in from a weekend at Harry Potter World!), and touched on current events, but mostly we talked about what makes NOLA so special.
For Kristin, there is no other place in the world that she would rather live. “We celebrate everything here. Life, death, music, booze. We have a festival in the French Market for creole tomatoes (fried green tomatoes) just because they are so great.” In a city that finds any reason to celebrate, I asked her if she could only attend one festival for the entire year, which would she choose? “That’s a hard one! It’s a toss up between French Quarter Festival which celebrates the city itself, and Tennessee Williams Festival which celebrates the literary history of the city.” That is a tough one! Both sound fun!
“I could write a book about all the reasons I love this city.” She whole heartily agrees that the music, food, and booze are the best in NOLA, but it’s really the people that make this city the most unique city in America. It’s a resilient place where locals help locals.”I believe that if [Hurricane] Katrina happened anywhere else, they wouldn’t have come back the way we did.” And as for the catastrophic flooding that happened in other parts of the state this August she says, “We’ve learned not to wait for help.We do it ourselves. More people loading up chainsaws into pickup trucks, more trucks pulling boats, headed to Baton Rouge, Walker, and Saint Francisville, people who are taking off work to wade into murky water and ask, “What you need, bebe?” I have seen other places and hands down, without question, if there has to be a disaster, send Louisiana natives. Every time.”
For me as a visitor to NOLA, the pride that people have in their culture and city is infectious. Only in NOLA you will see a Catholic priest in a Saint’s jersey high-fiving a tarot card reader after the service. Only in NOLA will you find a wedding party or a funeral procession marching down the street to jazz. Because life is too short and you never know what is going to happen so celebrate every moment. The easy-going, welcoming way of the people and the sultry allure of the music, food, history, and ambiance of New Orleans will always keep me coming back.