My sister said I'm not acting like a person that's moving roughly a thousand miles away from home. She said that because I leave Saturday and I have packed exactly two things: Jack and Shit. There are a lot of things that I'm bringing with me. But there are some things that will forever be left behind (save for the occasional visit). So, ladies and gentlemen, I present you with the things I'll miss about home.
1. We Never Close - If you have EVER lived in New Orleans, visited New Orleans, or passed through New Orleans on your way to ANYWHERE and did not get a po'boy from them, you should immediately stop what you are doing and slap the life out of whoever cheated you out of the little slice of ghetto heaven known as We Never Close. When they say never, they mean never. Not for MLK Day, Yom Kippur, Christmas, Kwanzaa. You can get your seafood jones worked out any time of the day or night. Plus the food is the bomb. Yeah sometimes it smelled like grease and mop water, but you know what? Don't be such a pussy. The food is delicious.
2. New Orleans Original/Chef Daiquiri - Getting a daiquiri from a drive thru? Please believe me! That is the shit! Gone are the days of having to look presentable to go out and get a drink. Hop your ass in your car at 2:00 a.m., grab your drink and drive your ass home. Screw that "don't drink and drive" mumbo jumbo. What could be better?
3. Canal Place Theater - Strict parents, a bunch of indie films that no one would go to see and raging teenage hormones turned this place into a haven of filth for me and my S/O at the time. As a grown up, I parked my car at the upstairs lot and I would still get a "twitch" when I would pass the third floor.
4. Vincent's City Club - I'm not adverse to getting dolled up and going to a club to cutie watch on occasion. However, sometimes, I just want to get my dance/sweat on and not have to worry about looking cute. This is the place for that. I swear that there's a sign there that says "Boogabats Get In Free". A friend of mine called it "Ugly Folks' Paradise" because it's big, dark and the drinks can make Jon Heder look like Djimon Honsou. But whatever the case, if you're in the mood to hear some serious throwback jams, that's the spot.
5. True Brew on Fridays - Pozazz Entertainment would host open mic night every Friday. Of course, there were a lot of posers, wanna bes and the like, but that didn't overshadow the talented poets that would get up on the mic and do their thing either. And if you ain't know, Dynamite Dave Soul ain't to be fucked with while he's spinning. Dude is the TRUF!
6. NOMA - I personally feel that the New Orleans Museum of Art could have improved on showcasing African Americans. However, that does not mean that they were the total pits. Actually, I've seen some of the most beautiful exhibits there. Plus it sat in the middle of City Park - a stately building in the midst of oak trees that were hundreds of years old. It was a nice date spot, but it was also a great place to go when you wanted to be alone and get your mind right.
7. The Aquarium of the Americas - I was mesmerized the first time I visited the Aquarium. As soon as you walk in, you're in a tunnel surrounded by some of the most exotic sea creatures you could ever imagine. My joy of my first visit was only surpassed by observing my son (then 2) during his first visit. He was so excited, petting the baby nurse shark, being virtually hypnotized by the sea horses and saying that the jelly fish looked "na-ty".
8. Belladonna Day Spa - When I began going to spas, everyone steered me away from Belladonna because they were less expensive, blah, blah. I could slap them. They have the best staff and give the best facials and massages ever. The ambiance is to die for. It's actually one of the top rated spas in the country and has received rave reviews by Cosmo. It's worth the extra 10 or 20 bucks. Live a little.
9. The Praline Connection - Any place that can provide you with some of the best pork chops, cabbage, rice and cornbread on the face of the planet for $7.95 should go into life's hall of fame. It'll make you tell ya mama "Yeah, that whole Christmas dinner thing...uh, I'll get back to you aiight?" Well, maybe I'm exaggerating a little, but it's the shit.
10. Speckled Trout - (Yeah, I eat alot, so what sucka!) Once you leave the southeast, you don't really find this fish too much. It's delicious (even though I'm a catfish girl myself), but more important than the taste is what it represents to me. Friday nights, Blockbuster and Monopoly. Until I was almost 18, my family was together on any given Friday night, eating fish and just being silly. Speckled trout means family to me. Corny, yes, but so what?
11. Crawfish - If you don't know, you'd BETTER ask somebody. Crawfish is to friendship what speckled trout is to family. We would send whoever was of drinking age to get us ton MD 20/20, Boones, Corona and daiquiris, and head to Lake Pontchartrain. Then, once we were all tow up, we would try and guess whose parents were already asleep so that we could sneak our drunk asses in without getting in trouble. I'm still tight with the Crawfish Crew.
12. Thursday Nights at the House of Blues - Though this spot admittedly catered to a younger crowd (it was on a Thursday, duh), if you're feening for a true party vibe, this was the place to be. Every Thursday, you could count on it being packed with wall to wall bodies that wanted nothing more than to have a good time to some blazin hip hop. Most definitely a spot to satisfy the need for eye candy. The yummy college guys were in full effect. Prior to being a mom, I was a Thursday night staple. My homeboy from work would always be there as well and we would both look like shit on Friday morning. It was well worth it though. On top of that, I can't recall one fight breaking out.
13. Bounce music - Okay, here's my dirty little secret: I'm an undercover hood rat. I love good hip hop, preferable underground. HOWEVER, there is this seedy part of me that can not resist the occasional New Orleans bounce song. Just about every rapper that came out of New Orleans started by doing bounce. It's admittedly ghetto and cheesy, but hell, nobody's perfect.
I could go on and on, and I won't promise that I'll have a whole new set of things that I miss "the most" in another month or two. It's just weird that I keep thinking about a place that, at one point in my life, I didn't think I could leave fast enough.