My husband believes he's from the south. The thing is, though, that he was born and raised in the mountains of western Virginia. It snows there. You know what I'm saying?
New Orleans seems strange to him. He claims it's not the south because you can't get sweet tea in the restaurant. And he's right, we're not like Georgia or Alabama or, for pete's sake, the Carolinas. But oh, it's the south alright. It's been said that we're really just the northernmost city of the Caribbean, and maybe that's the closest to the truth of the matter. What no one can dispute is that, while we are undoubtedly southern, we are also something other, something different. Something special.
There is much to learn when becoming a new New Orleanian. How to pronounce Treme, Calliope, Tchoupitoulas, and Pontchartrain. How to drive through a map where north and south become "towards the lake" and "towards the river", because two streets that supposedly run east-west can cross at a 90 degree angle. Where to go for the best Vietnamese, what the best coffee shops are, where to get the best sno ball, and what a sno ball is in the first place.
Having grown up awash in the vernacular, it's hard to realize how much that seems commonplace to me is realy regional, endemic. It started to dawn on me when I was excited to pass by the old Blue Plate factory and he turned to me and said, "What's Blue Plate?"
And then there's what to do with Tony Chachere's. First of all, it's pronounced something like "satcherie's". Why? he asks. You don't ask why. Because. Jonathan recently proposed that I start a blog wherein I actually try it on "everything" - ice cream, mango, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, what have you - and report the results. But that's not really the point of Tony's. The point is that you use it when you're supposed to use it, and you know when that is. He'll know soon enough.
He left two days ago, flew back to New York. It seems that the big bad city can't let go of him just yet; Chanel or MTV or some such big fancy mucketymuck just can't get their event off the ground unless my baby is there to make it all happen. And it's good for him to be needed, of course. I need him here, too, but he'll be here soon enough. Until then my heart will ache for him, and I'll daydream of all the things New Orleans will show him. And I can spend some time with my mama n' them.