Over 34 years ago David and I took our first trip to New Orleans. It was our honeymoon and I chose the destination because it was within reasonable driving distance and I had a vague notion that there was a French influence in the city. I had taken French in junior high and high school and had been a Francophile for years. There was no way we could afford a trip to Paris so New Orleans seemed like a good option.
I instantly fell in love with the city. Looking out over the French Quarter from the observation deck of the Royal Orleans, I felt as though I had been transported to another country. It wasn’t Paris. But it sure wasn’t Oklahoma, either.
Settled by the French in 1780, the Gallic influence is evident in food, language, festivals, architecture, and music. Until 1830, most of the residents still spoke French. Like France, New Orleans is predominantly Catholic and that permeates the culture. There is a decided lack of puritanical influence.
The French were Catholic, not Protestant like the founders of most other New World settlements which eventually became American cities. The French Catholic did not share the unremittingly severe, sober view of life with the New England Puritans, for one. While religious, the French Catholics also enjoyed good food and sensual pleasures. Mardi Gras, the most famous and raucous of New Orleans festivals, is a Catholic holiday after all. And in French, Mardi Gras means “Fat Tuesday” – a time of indulgence before the self-imposed austerity of Lent. The tension between the sacred and profane, the joyous and the mournful (as with jazz funerals, for example), has long formed an essential part of the Crescent City’s character. (source: New Orleans Official Guide)
We are on our way to New Orleans today and to say I’m excited would be an understatement. David and I have both been working like crazy lately and we need a break. Desperately. I need music, delicious food and wine, visits with friends, streetcar rides, people watching, an hour or two by the river, naps and most of all – time alone with David.
Posts here on Life With Dee will be a little on the light side for the next 10 days. I do have some written and scheduled to post during our vacation and I might write a short post or two while I’m there. But I probably won’t have a post every day. And while I do hope to have at least a few interesting articles and such to share each day on the Life With Dee Facebook page, it won’t be quite the usual quantity and I may not be able to respond to comments very often. If you aren’t already following me on Twitter and Instagram this would be a good time to do so. There will surely be interesting things to tweet about and I always take a lot of pictures while I’m there. However, I’m not going to be online as much as usual for I intend to be fully present and soak up our experiences in New Orleans. I need this. So much.