52 Places to Go in 2018

st charles grocery (1)Earlier this week, I mentioned Fodor’s list of places to avoid in 2018. Almost as soon as the ink dried on that post ( or digital imprint made), I heard on local radio that the New York Times listed 52 places to go in 2018.

What’s number one on the list? New Orleans, Louisiana. I almost laughed out loud. I will never forget the naysayers in the days, weeks, and months after Hurricane Katrina nearly destroyed the city.  I won’t easily forget the stinging words of the people who sheltered me in Baton Rouge for a few days after the storm. I heard other remarks through the months afterwards, too.

“New Orleans deserves it.”

“God sent Katrina to punish the city’s inhabitants.”

“It’s never coming back.”

I love New Orleans. I lived there for many years, and now, I live just a few miles north of the city.

No one deserves a hurricane. Or a fire. Or an earthquake. Check your New Testament, please. Jesus said rain falls on the just and the unjust.

I laugh because New Orleans refuses to die. It’s come back different. It’s smaller, more versatile, and in my opinion, better than before.

2018 marks  the 300th anniversary of the founding of New Orleans. She’s moving on quite nicely these days. Many old venues are stronger than ever, like the Saenger Theatre, Preservation Hall, and even the once-ravaged Super Dome. The food is still better than almost any other place in the nation. Neighborhoods in many places are quietly gentrifying and getting a new lease on life with new blood who like our unique culture.

New Orleans has always been a gumbo pot of a city. Every group that settled here left a mark on her to separate her from rivals. The natives, the slaves, the free Creoles of the Carribean, the French, the Spanish and even Yanks are part of the DNA of a city that no one can quite define.

Come on and see for yourself why it’s Number One for 2018. There’s no place quite like New Orleans.

“We dance even if there’s no radio. We drink at funerals. We talk too much and laugh too loud and live too large and, frankly, we’re suspicious of others who don’t.” – Chris Rose, 1 Dead in Attic, 2006

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Shorts

No, I am not wearing short pants. It’s unseasonably cold in Louisiana. We’re having days  upon days of subfreezing night temperatures. I am speaking of short bits of information that I will write about in this space.

  • I finished a Shutterfly book this week about my father’s family. I wrote about my family’s arrival to the New World in the early 1700s to the present. Lots of pictures of my modern ancestors kept it fresh.  I will try to flesh out a few stories into blog-worthy posts in the next several weeks. Especially intriguing are the stories about my ancestor whose first name was a derivative of the word, Bear. Ursin, from the Latin, Ursa, was bearish in his pursuits, accomplishments and appetites.
  • Since the weather has been unseasonably cold, I took the opportunity to read a bit. Three books captivated my interest.
  • White Like Her: My Family’s Story of Race and Racial Passing by Gail Lukasik is not the best-written book. However the subject was intriguing and it was well-researched. The story is about a woman who left New Orleans with a black identity and white skin, married into a white family, and forever left her black roots behind. At least she did until she died. Her daughter tells an intriguing story of New Orleans society, where the one-drop rule kept otherwise white-looking people forever in the colored/black social class. Thanks, Carol King, for the tip on a good read.
  • The Girl with Seven Names: Escape from North Korea by Hyeonseo Lee and David John was a gripping tale of a girl who, at first, left North Korea for a few days lark, but could never return. Her story makes one wish fervently for the overthrow of the North Korean regime. Thanks for the suggestion, Michael Dickson. 
  • You Were Born For This: 7 Keys to a life of Predictable Miracles by Bruce Wilkinson and David Kopp is a book I haven’t completed yet. The premise is that we all experience nudges from God to do sometimes simple things that have great impact. Here’s an excerpt:

    We’re never more fully alive and complete than when we experience God working through us and in spite of us in a way that changes someone’s life right before our eyes Nothing compares to the wonder of seeing God’s goodness and glory break through – and knowing we played a part in it. p 26

That’s a wrap for this post. Stay warm. And don’t forget to wait on God for nudges to bring forth a miracle in someone’s life.