I've heard of people born in New York City who never leave. Not once in all of their lives. Not even for vacation. They feel that anything worth seeing, doing, or having can be found right where they are. In some cases I'm sure that neurosis is part of the equation but, on the bright side, they never require a ride to or from the airport and they certainly don't need a driver's license or a car. I'm becoming one of those people.
When I moved to New Orleans 8 years ago, it was into an apartment in an area called Mid City. Close enough to the French Quarter but not quite there. I loved the neighborhood and the oak covered street. Had a great apartment and landlady. During the first year I had a car, but after finishing massage school sold it because I couldn't justify the expense when there were other modes of transportation available to me. I bought myself a bike and also travelled by bus. Public transportation was new to me, everyone owned a car where I came from, but the bus was definitely interesting and a great place to people-watch and listen. I stayed in Mid City for about six and a half years and then moved to Treme'. Closer to the French Quarter, but still not quite there. Now, I live in the French Quarter. I am there.
My radius of travel has dwindled considerably. Years ago I had a friend who lived in the Quarter and I used to marvel at the fact that he would hardly ever leave. His job was a half block from his apartment and the only other places that he visited were the A&P on the next block for groceries, the Walgreens, and his neighborhood bar which was also about a block away. I get that now. My job is only blocks from my door and pretty much everything I need is here (groceries, coffee shops, movie theater, booze, music). I also like to go to the Marigny to hear music or have dinner on Frenchmen St. but other than that I don't have much reason to leave my little world. I try to visit my family in NJ once a year but after a day or so into the trip I get antsy and want to be back in New Orleans. I don't know what it is about this city that captivates me but I'm definitely home.
I'm going to make an effort to visit other parts of the city and experience new things so that I don't start to feel stagnant and develop phobias about stepping outside of the borders of the Quarter. (Uptown already seems like a foreign country to me.) To that end, this past Friday evening we crossed Canal St. and went over to Dino's Bar & Grill to hear Margie Perez sing. She sounded great and it wasn't a bad little bar. Their waffle fries were awesome and I had a "Philly" cheesesteak that wasn't. I should have followed my instincts and ordered something else. On Saturday when I went out to run my errands I decided to change it up and go to a different coffee shop and went to Croissant D'Or. Years ago they used to make these delicious little pumpkin tarts at this time of year. I was so hoping to have one of those. Nope. And the things I had weren't so great. Very disappointed but I do love charm of the place and will always go back. After my less than stellar coffee I rode over to the Louisiana Music Factory and bought myself a cd, The Baby Dodds Trio (featuring Danny Barker). Good stuff.
I'll be continuing this "try something new" trend tomorrw night when we go to see and old favorite of mine, The New Orleans Nightcrawlers at a club I've never visited. I'm excited and a full report will follow.