EMPTY HOUSE, CROWDED MIND
Tonight I’m lying on an air mattress in the dining room of the now empty New Orleans house I’ve rented for the past ten months. Last night this room was filled with the stories and laughter of the good friends I’ve made over the last year and a half. It took an entire year for my ‘Red Beans On Monday’ parties to draw a steady crowd, but the last several gatherings have been smashing successes. Last night’s encore performance didn’t disappoint, delivering all the enrichment and communion that I’d hoped for when I began this tradition after reading about the phenomenon in Gumbo Tales. Thus inspired, I made my first Monday pot as a New Orleans resident within weeks of moving here and tried to give them away to the neighbor who begged off, citing her diabetes. I’ve come a long way.
It figures things would finally start to click as my time winds down.
Therapy work is still slow in New Orleans, writing opportunities have failed to materialize, and I’ve yet to hear back from my last gasp TV audition. Meanwhile, several interesting opportunities are beckoning back in Florida, so perhaps it’s time to join the real world again and resume the daily grind, relegating passion back to hobby as most adult do.
PACKING UP & LOOKING BACK
I have no regrets. It has been an enlightening year and I never truly intended to permanently relocate, anyhow. Still, it was a little melancholy over the past week packing up and looking back. As I’ve reminisced I’ve visited old haunts and caught up with everyone I could. Sunday afternoon I took one last opportunity to play croquet with the Chewbacchus folks and that night headed to Frenchmen Street while it’s still just down the road. At one point in the evening wanderlust overtook me and I strolled back by my Decatur Street home of last summer’s misadventures, checking on the old neighborhood.
Last night’s red beans was the final stop on my farewell tour, so this morning I put my stuff in storage and cleaned the house, setting aside food and camping gear for one last adventure.
LEWIS & GPS (FOLLOWING THE BIG MUDDY)
Tomorrow I’m heading north, driving to Minnesota—specifically Lake Itasca, source of the Mississippi River. From there I plan to follow it back to New Orleans, blogging about my discoveries along the way. I have no itinerary. I’m just heading out like a Lewis without the Clark (though with a GPS, which is probably better, anyhow.)
There is no New Orleans without the Mississippi River and all that enters that great draining basin must pass the Crescent City on its search for the sea. I have wanted to take this trip since arriving in town–for the river seems such a natural extension of the city–and recently it has occurred to me as the perfect farewell. So I’ll spend the next two weeks exploring the river that made New Orleans a necessity and contributed to is wild and delinquent nature, following it back to my current adopted home.
SEEKING CLOSURE: ONE LAST GRAND ADVENTURE
Unless something drastic happens as I meander, then I’ll pack upon return and head back East, having found such fitting closure in seeking out the spiritual artery that feeds New Orleans.
The blog will continue, as will my visits to New Orleans and participation in Mardi Gras, but differently. The blog and my study of New Orleans will again become a hobby rather than focus of my time and attention.
Yet before I go trying to grow up again, I have one last grand adventure to undertake, so I hope you’ll check in from time to time as I cut through the heartland of this great nation looking for the people and places whose essence has drifted down towards this famous bend in the Big Muddy to create one of the most unique and interesting cities in the world.