Recently I spent the 4th of July in one of my favorite cities, New Orleans! After living there in 2011 – 2012, I try to make it there at least once a year. Since I’ve already done most of the touristy things, when I go I just visit some of my old haunts. The thing that made this trip different was time this time I went by motorcycle.
The ride there was long and tiresome. I broke it up by spending the night in Houston at a friend’s house. Even so, the trip the next day was hard. It was close to 100 degrees (38 Celsius) and humid as hell. I ran into rain at the start of the trip. Also, a wasp hit my helmet face shield and somehow ended up inside my helmet with me! He seemed unconscious but I could see him waking up and I had to stop and try to take my helmet off to shake him out. Despite the heat and humidity, it was a pretty drive. I especially like the tall coniferous trees around Bastrop, TX. The bridge over Lake Ponchartrain in LA is breathtaking, it’s such a huge lake you can’t see the other side. I also like the view from the bridges over the Mississippi river in Baton Rouge.
A friend of mine who lives in New Orleans was nice enough to let me crash his place. During the days, I spent my time riding around and visiting places I used to frequent. I had drinks on Magazine St. I walked the Quarter, especially the quieter parts away from Bourbon. In fact, I didn’t go to Bourbon St. at all. I cruised down St. Charles gazing at the old, plantation-style mansions and shotgun houses. I read a book in the Lafayette Cemetery. On Independence Day I went to watch the firework show on the Mississippi. Afterwards I went to Frenchman to watch a show, the Brassaholics at the Blue Nile. They’re a local brass band and they put on a badass show. That was the second time I’d seen them.
The next day, I started the long ride back. My friend gave me a windshield that he didn’t want for his bike anymore. It helped take the wind off my chest and I didn’t get so fatigued on the way back. By the time I hit Houston, I decided I would just go all the way to Austin. All in all, I was on the road for more than 10 hours that day. When I finally got home I was beat. I just threw my dirty self on my bed and didn’t move. The next day, I decided to take my car instead of riding my bike. On a day without rain! There’s a first for everything I suppose.
This trip, I felt like my feelings for the city changed. Until this trip, I usually felt a sort of longing for the city, a desire to move back there someday. This was the first time I didn’t feel that desire. I now feel that New Orleans was the stage for an important chapter of my life. I guess they’re all important aren’t they? Though, that stage is in the past, and I can’t go back and recreate that place in my life even if I wanted to. So I left there feeling that I had finally made some sort of peace with residual feelings about the past. New Orleans was a wonderful stage for that chapter in my life.