Wednesday, September 25, 2019

French Quarter, Je t'aime

I published a love letter to the French Quarter of New Orleans recently in the splendid French Quarter Journal. This is how it begins:

            In 2011, I came to New Orleans from New York City to take a teaching job at the University of New Orleans.

            I’d never been to New Orleans.  I didn’t know the city at all.  Where to live?  A friend, who had once lived in New Orleans, advised me:

            “Don’t live in the French Quarter.” 

            “Why not?” I asked.  After all, Tennessee Williams had lived there, and he hadn’t done too badly, had he?  

            Because, he said, it’s too expensive.  And you’ll never find a place to park. 

            I didn’t heed that advice.  I reasoned since I didn’t know a soul in New Orleans, at least I’d be living in a neighborhood where there was always something going on.  I wouldn’t be lonely.  As for the parking, well, I’d lived in New York for thirty years.  Parking, in the French Quarter, compared to the ferocious, gladiator-like struggle in New York City to find a space for your car, couldn’t be nearly as daunting. 

            When I came to New Orleans to search for an apartment, I enlisted the services of a real estate broker who specialized in the French Quarter.  He lived in the Quarter, and his family had been selling and renting houses there for years.

            “What do you do?”  he asked me.

            “Well, I’m a writer.  I’ve come to New Orleans to take a job teaching.”

            “A writer?  Oh, well, you must live in the Quarter.”

(You can read the rest of the piece here.)