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Let me show you my NOLA: The heart and soul of New Orleans

The Nola Chic is one of New Orleans’s top lifestyle bloggers whose goal is to allow you to experience New Orleans through the eyes of the locals as well as share my share NOLA life with you.  I’ll take you on a soulful journey through New Orleans. Walk with me beyond the touristy blocks of the city. Allow me to guide you into the tightly knit communities and businesses filled with outgoing, kind and friendly locals. Come sit with me on my porch and get to know my neighbors, my family, the true New Orleans Ambassadors.  As you lend me your ear you will get to meet some of the most loving people in the world.

I will go beyond the blocks of Bourbon St to show you the real city, the heart, and soul of New Orleans which is made up of a gumbo pot of cultures and traditions. But,  don’t worry I will take you into the Quarters, Bourbon St and so on.  I enjoy being a tourist in my city and I make use and love everything you know and love about New Orleans too. And as you know there are centuries of stories waiting to be told within the streets and buildings down there.

It actually hurts me to hear that someone visited New Orleans and fell in love with the city and didn’t go past the tourism district. These same people base this view of the city as a deciding factor to move here. And once they are here they aren’t familiar with how different the culture is in the urban community they chose based on proximity from the Quarters and they push to change the dynamics of the neighborhood, thus loss of our culture.  You can not love the New Orleans without the loving the native New Orleanians, the locals. Can you?

This is why I’m passionate about sharing my life and the stories of the people. If tourists and newcomers knew and loved the people of New Orleans as much they love our culture I believe that it would at least slow down the entire gentrification of our neighborhoods.

If the tourist knew the truth about our neighborhoods and local businesses they would feel driven to come into our communities to learn the culture and patronize small businesses.  These actions of bonding with the locals and patronizing their businesses would add an incomparable amount of wealth and resources to the lives of the New Orleanians. It would allow for an authentic New Orleans experience as well as develop friendships and trust.

New Orleanians work hard to ensure that tourist has the time of their lives when they visit, no matter how tired they are we will go over and beyond to roll out the red carpet for strangers. We do this because of who we are, not for the minimum wage, but it’s embedded in our soul DNA to be hospitable. But what is unknown to most of you that once we clock out and you are on your way back home, we worry that we will be forced out of the few blocks of houses that we have called home for generations in order to make room for more tourists. If the cultural holders are forced out who will continue to keep New Orleans alive? New Orleans only has a heart and soul, because of New Orleans natives.

My hopes in sharing are to get the tourist, the very people who love New Orleans for all that it stands for to come into the communities and patronize local businesses, the small business owner and get yo know the people. I invite you into my life in order to show you how much more there is to experience in my city.
You will have fun following The NOLA Chic as she shows you all New Orleans has to offer but through the eyes of locals. And let me apologize in advance some of the stories I share it may not tell of good times at a Secondline.

If you would please allow me to “Show you my NOLA” I promise you will be enlighted along our journey.

A native of New Orleans, who left her beloved New Orleans to spend twenty years of living in the land of Minnesota Not So Nice. Minnesota was full of opportunities but would learn that the soul of the state and the people who made it was just as icy cold as the temperatures. After the years and my 40th birthday flew by, I decided it was time to pack up my youngest child and come back to my roots, my birthplace the city that not only birthed me but gave me life. I would not be who I am without my New Orleans beginnings. I am all things that would challenge the belief of growing up in New Orleans. I was a 16yr old teen mother of a premature baby born with a severe medical disability. And only With the help of my mother, was it possible for me to BE! I was able to endure and survive the obstacles laid before my child and me. In a city that was built by my family, but did not allow for us to reap the benefits I overcame. Charity Hospital was my second home — a building filled with miracle workers who made it possible for my daughter to have life. I have lived a life of rainy days with peeks of sunshine, that are my children, including those not of my womb. I'm the proud mother of three and a grandmother of three. My dream was to live the life of the nursery rhyme of ”The Old Lady Who lived in a shoe,” and for the most part, I did. I cared for several children over the years as a special needs foster parent. I would learn that my love was not enough for some children, but I loved them through their pain. I'm not sure if I ever had a case of true love or came close to what love looks like on television, but I had my share of men and the mirage of love. I survived two abusive marriages. Though I longed to return to New Orleans on a daily bases, I must admit my move was one of the best decisions made for me. I am a college graduate; I was a successful entrepreneur. I coowned a soul food restaurant and catering company in Minnesota for 12 years. I developed the talent of creating custom cakes after the murder of my beloved cousin Melvin Paul. He survived Katrina only to go to Minneapolis six months later to be murdered over a parking spot dispute. But with the challenge of creating a simple wedding cake, I was able to find healing. I created the House of Cakes in honor of him. Minnesota life had me pretty materialistic. I worked to the point I do not remember much, but work and handing my children love money. I thought by having the big house on the hill, a husband, having a family, the ultimate provider and being involved in all things that matter, plus having the funds to match would cure me of what I was told was a generational curse of lack of everything from money, love to even self-love. But for the most part, that life poisoned my heart and soul. I was blinded by visions fed to me by the media. I was told I wasn't anything unless I was better than the Jones's. I lived being ok with a broken, bleeding heart. Life like this did not exist in my family while living in New Orleans from what I viewed with my eyes and soul. We may not have had all the things I acquired over the years, but we were happy, we were together. Family outside of New Orleans wasn't family anymore. We lived separate lives and had awkward moments when we bumped into each other in public. I hated living in Minnesota even though life their helped me in so many ways. I felt deep down the only way to repair it was to get back to my roots, my soul, my home, myself, my New Orleans. I'm here, and I love it. Even being in the so-called Blighted Area of New Orleans and not having all the financial and material security, I'm happy. I am determined that She, yes, New Orleans is a woman is just like me; together, we will overcome and will rise from all that tried to kill our spirit. Nothing like starting from the bottom and making your way back up!. I just know in my heart that New Orleans will provide for me. There's a bank account with funds in it owed to me by way of back pay for my ancestors. And I will receive my inheritance, and I will continue the traditions and customs of the old to keep the heartbeat of New Orleans beating. I'm down in the boot, living the life that feels right to me awaiting my destiny...

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