I’m on the train from Hammond to New Orleans, and I’m amazed at how excited the travelers sound & feel. It’s like nonstop chatter, kids with ants in their pants, some adults too. It’s like they can’t contain the feeling of being in New Orleans. Each voice had a different reason for coming to New Orleans, but the cheer in it was the same.
I was trying to mind my business, even took to taking pictures of the train ride, but hearing them was a needed distraction. Their voices screamed one by one as if everyone felt that I needed to listen to them. “Man, that’s New Orleans right there” as we crossed over the Lake Pontchartrain, a child said to his Grandma “look at the Superdome, look, look!” as we enter the city lines we caught our first partial view of it. They jumped up from their seats, pushed their noses pressed against the windows to see as she reminds them of the announcement of staying seated once we were in the city. A missed boyfriend called his girlfriend to say “Bae I’m here, I’m in New Orleans!” His friend grabs the phone to tell them her ” We’re hours away, plus he hanging out with me after he worked on my nerves talking about you” only to confess that he’s playing with her.
I hear soft cheers and gathering of personal items as the train conductor announces that we are three minutes from the gate of the New Orleans Amtrak Station. “Yayyyy we’re here!” The train stops and the love-struck guest and locals returning are lined up to exit before the doors are open.
They are so excited to be here, I can hear it, feel it, because it once was me. Maybe that feeling is still in me, if not having this experience brought it back to the surface.
Wow, Im thinking, as I am reminded what it felt like with my mouth ready to get a PoBoy, crawfish, a pig lip, potato chips, and a Pineapple Big Shot cold drink…
New Orleans has this magical feeling such as entering Disney World, but different. The city doesn’t give you a sense of opportunity waiting for you, or that it will be comfortable living but, love excitement and freedom to be whoever your heart desires. New Orleans makes you want to heal, start over from being broken. If you can relate to being abandoned, abused, mistreated, the center of gossip, told you are homeless or have no chance and willing to roll up your sleeves, dig deep into your being, your soul and believe in You then you know what it takes to enjoy being apart of New Orleans.
We’re off the train; everyone is smiling, calling around shouting “We’re in New Orleans!” I wonder why there is the need always to use the word “New Orleans.” Why not say “We’re here “?? I have traveled to other countries, but I never announced “Hey, I’m in Jamaica” when I called my loved ones.
I hope they can hold onto that feeling because it can turn in an instant from something as simple as turning on the TV. If it’s not some political corruption, its some sort of violence or natural catastrophe. I honestly think it all stems from how the government services our city; they don’t. I do not believe the politicians even live in the town, which may add to why they don’t care. Even with all the bad, that happens here, people still come and always return.
New Orleans captures hearts, no matter the ethnicity or where they are from. People love living here; they want to be here if only the people in charge would care. Maybe, it will take for those who flock here to stop coming here. All it seems that is being done with millions of tourist dollars are lining the pockets of the corrupt leaders of the city, who do not represent what and who New Orleans really is.
All New Orleans wants is to be loved and cared for while she is going through storm after storm. She keeps her heart and arms open to all who come to her. She continually tries to feed our souls through the food, music, culture and all things that make her unique from other cities in the world. Advocate for my city, just don’t come to enjoy her, don’t use her wealthy resources to fatten your pockets, treat the people who love New Orleans so much that they stay here, endure hardships, and carry on, the locals are who keep New Orleans alive, without them/us the city would die. I hope that our leaders would stop being greedy and do what’s right for the town, so that each day trains, buses, cars, and airplanes are filled with travelers such as these, excited about all things New Orleans… let’s wait and see.