The Forgotten Ones: For those of us who know what it means to miss New Orleans
Diesel fuel. They say scent is the strongest sense tied to memory…..well mine, is diesel fuel :) It may sound weird to you, but while growing up in New Orleans, La, one of the most precious times of year to me, is parade season, and the heavy smell of diesel fuel in the air lol.. In NOLA, most of our weather kind of randomly blends together throughout the year, so the only seasons we really acknowledge are Parade season, Crawfish season, Festival Season, and…..well…..Lent. It's been 11 years since my grandpa woke me up on Fat Tuesday at sunrise to watch the floats drive past our front door on their way to line up at the beginning of their route. From there, we would drive down to Napoleon and St. Charles ave, where the uncles and younger male cousins in the family had camped outside overnight with their beer and bbq grills to secure our parade spot for the next day. The Mardi Gras life is very much so dynamic. There’s levels to this shit. Watching the parades and riding in the parades are two totally different, but equally fascinating experiences. Same goes for being a child enjoying Carnival, and then enjoying it as an adult. Your appreciation is different. Your perspective is different. Moving away under any circumstances can be bittersweet, but NOTHING could prepare me for the harsh reality that would soon come of never being able to experience MY Mardi Gras the same ever again. And it's difficult to come home and look forward to re-living so many pivotal moments of my childhood, when i have to succumb to the consequences of now practicing these rituals as somewhat of a foreigner. Its like standing outside your house, watching everyone through the window, you’re there with them, and you know you belong….but somehow, you just don’t anymore. All my life i honestly thought Mardi Gras was a national holiday. No joke people. So needless to say that was just one of the culture shocks i had to get used to moving to Texas. That, and not being able to legally carry around my alcohol in a to go cup are honestly 2 of my biggest adjustments. So, when you have to actually take off of work, and have your kids miss 2-3 days school, just so the two of you can have at least a taste of the Mardi Gras experience you had, it...*insert deep sigh here* …it’s just not the same. I hate having to pay for parking spots in order to attend events that i once walked to, I hate driving around my old neighborhoods in a car that has Texas licence plates on it and people looking at me like idk where i’m going, and i hate these “New New Orleanians” with their Post-Katrina propaganda, walking down Magazine St. in their Abercrombie and Fitch jeans, acting like Randazzo's, Port of Call, and Gene's Po-Boys is some new shit. Quite frankly i hate being 4-5 hours away from the littlest things that gave my life some flavor. But, hey i get it. Things happen. You pick up the pieces, you keep going, and you find ways to give rebirth to that flavor, wherever you are. And for those of us who every holiday season have annual flashbacks of what once was, those of us who unwillingly live vicariously through our friends and family on social media, and those who are still trying to find that medium between our roots and our reincarnation, whether In Texas, Georgia, or anywhere you landed….here are 10 things about us we think you all should know by now.. Put some respeck on yall crawfish!! We don't eat the shell, so please stop over seasoning it on the outside. We can't get to the flavor on the inside, if the outside is so ridiculously, unimaginably, overwhelmingly spicy for absolutely no reason at all. Even after the rocket high increase in prices Post-Katrina, i’ve found some pretty damn good crawfish spots here in Htown (feel free post the links to your favorite spots below !! ), this is just a word of advice to the locations that specifically feel that simply boiling some crawfish and throwing a shitload of Tony Chachere’s on top constitutes as a legitimate meal. Seriously, who raised you???!
We don’t listen to Zydeco. Let me clarify this really quick: Nobody said we don’t like Zydeco…NOBODY, matter of fact, my cousin is like the Bruno Mars of Zydeco (Shot out to Rusty Metoyer and the Zydeco Crush!! Woo Woop!! Google him, you’re welcome) it’s just that, in New Orleans, we just didn’t grow up listening to it. If you know New Orleans then you know it’s like it's own country within the state of Louisiana. Everything we do is different. My dad was from Lake Charles, La about an hour and a half or so past Lafayette…everywhere outside New Orleans inside Louisiana has a totally different way of life. Zydeco, Boudin, Cracklin, Alligator….I’m more of a Brass Band, Hot Sausage Sandwich, Meat Pie, Snowball on a Sunday kind of girl. You know how Texas does football?? You know how Georgia does peaches?? THAT is how New Orleans does bands. Marching bands, brass bands, rubber bands …*que old school Hot Boys song*..lol. And, FYI: there's more to bounce music than Big Freedia and DJ Jubilee. Just incase you wanted to know :) So, Zydeco is cool, i honestly really, really like some of it..it’s just that, you guys don’t have to play it every time you’re in a room full of Post-Katrina NOLA folk as if it's gonna make us feel at home. Ive honestly never heard so much zydeco until i moved away. Its not that we don't appreciate the effort :-/ ...but can you ask the DJ if he's got any Rebirth?
Speaking of Sundays…I’m soooo tired of having to explain what a Second Line is. Seriously, Google it.
There is a huge difference between a sno-cone and a snowball…..or a New Orleans style snoball so to speak. I know it may seem like we have to throw the words “New Orleans style” on everything just to feel good about ourselves, but TRUST me, there’s a difference…and if you’ve ever had one in your entire life, you would understand. A sno-cone is just crushed ice with some concentrated sugary syrup on top. Slap it in a paper cone in the summertime and call it a day. But a snowball, a real snowball, is a delicate creation of frozen magical perfection in every flavor you could ever imagine. From creams to fruits to juices to the softest ice that tasted like Jesus handcrafted and served it to you Himself. It’s all your hopes and dreams, condensed into a styrofoam cup.
We don’t, i repeat we do NOT put full size drummettes and hot dog wieners in our gumbo!! The definition of gumbo is not “grab everything you have in the fridge and throw it in the pot”. There's File’ gumbo (not to be confused with Fila, lol), okra gumbo, chicken and andouille sausage gumbo, etc.,…meaning, it’s not all supposed to go together in one pot and stirred up like some porridge. No disrespect to your grand-mama’s recipe, i mean, if that's what you like and all........lol
Also, please stop asking us to say dumb shit like “Baby” and ‘Water” ..we’re not your puppets. WE know we have an accent. YOU know we have an accent. It's been over 10 years, clearly…..it's NOT going anywhere. Get used to it. Ya'll walking around acting like we sound like Adam Sandler from the Waterboy. True story, I can’t even use the microphone option on my phone, lol. I’m waiting on Apple to upgrade their ios with 7th ward Siri cause that heffa has NO idea what i'm saying, smh. I mean damn, all im tryna do is make some groceries..
Here's the thing...It's been cool to live in New Orleans since way before Solange packed up her afro and moved in. New Orleans has been amazing since way before Beyonce's "Formation" video and her lil sister's wedding. Now, I love me some Solo (and Sandra Bullock too <3) but let’s face it, any native will tell you there’s been a huge influx in the number of young twenty-somethings who are suddenly “intrigued” by the culture of New Orleans ever since “some people” jumped on the gentrification train and self proclaimed it as "Theirs". So many girls i met in Texas who were totally uninterested in New Orleans are now on Snapchat every other weekend talking about their "Second Home". Some of yall didn't even want us here...some of yall didn't care if we made it out alive or not....but now all of a sudden all of yall want to be associated with NOLA, some way, some how. Ok girl. I mean seriously though?? I barely recognize the city when i go home anymore. WHY are there brand new bike paths being paved along streets that are inundated with potholes?? Why are there "Katrina Tours" taking people on bus loads through the lower 9th ward to gaze at the decade old devastation?? ..This is not a museum. These people are not an exhibit. This is real fucking LIFE. Wanna REALLY be from New Orleans?? Go buy a house in The East instead of the French Quarters so i know it's real. Smh.
Not to ruffle any feathers, but just cause you’re light skinned, doesn’t make you Creole. And if you knew your Louisiana history, you’d know that there WERE dark skinned creoles. “Although not all Creoles were light-skinned, higher value was placed upon the lighter skinned Creoles, with more European features.” (Race and Democracy: The Civil Rights Struggle in Louisiana 1915-1972 by Adam Fairclough). I'm just saying, if you are….cool. if you’re not…..that's cool too. We’re the most multi-faceted race on the planet, so stop claiming an entire culture just because it sounds exotic. For instance, if both sides of your family was born and raised in Staten Island, NY and your last name is Johnson, just because you're a yellow bone with long hair and attended an HBCU in the south doesn’t make you Creole. You gotta go a lil deeper than that, beloved. I mean, I’m not South African, nor Cape Verdean, and I will never pretend to be. I could probably pass if I wanted to, but why would I?? Bottom line, stop frontin! Come as you are.....You aint gotta lie to kick it....
Soooooo.....yeah......that thing that happens in Galveston every year is NOT Mardi Gras. Thanks for the invite though, it’s cute and all, but I'll pass.
Please understand we are not arrogant, nor ungrateful. We appreciate everything that all of our neighboring states have done for us within the past 10 years, including keeping Blue Plate mayonaise and Patton's hot sausage fully stocked on your grocery store shelves. But, please also understand that we hold our culture and our traditions very close to our heart, as everyone should, and we’re sensitive about our shit. Even after over ten years, many relocated New Orleanians still find themselves explaining themselves, about themselves. These are characteristics that will exist in us until we die...some of us don’t want to move back, many of us can’t move back and frankly many of us been forced to have move on….and that's ok...everyone's path is different...but we are gonna be who we are no matter WHERE we are. And we’re gonna bring New Orleans, to WHEREVER we are....We all know it ain't the same, and it’ll never be…but we always find the party, after our pain.... So it doesn’t matter to us how long we've been away, New Orleans LIVES in you......dear friends, please understand, It’s VERY personal.
#TheForgottenOnes #StayTuned #OurStoriesMatter #ItsTheNOLAInMe #SorryNotSorry