I can’t believe I’ll be in New Orleans this weekend. I kept saying this to myself again and again in the days leading up to my departure from Chicago. This wasn’t exactly said in excitement, either – no, in fact, you could say it was laced with anxiety and stress. I’d be traveling alone to a city I’d never been to and what’s worse, I was sick with a diet version of the flu, and couldn’t stop sucking down vitamin D capsules and crackling open Sudafed packets. So, on Wednesday night, I paced around my apartment, muttering things to myself like some loon. Pretty sure I’m the only person who could ever worry about something as innocent and enthralling as New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.
But that’s just how I deal with things; expect the punches, accept the hugs.
Admittedly, there’s a lot to fear about New Orleans if you’re an out-of-towner and your knowledge of the city is limited. For me, I’ve heard great things, but I’ve also heard horrible things. There’s never been any middle ground between the two, which might be why I sort of panicked prior to arrival. While my college roommate used to call it his “future home”, digressing on how it’s like being in another world with the most extraordinary people, music, and food, others in passing have called it the closest thing to a third-world country in America. These latter people weren’t very friendly (okay, you can call ’em yuppies), but, hey, anyone or anything can play on the nerves.
So, yeah, you could imagine this was an interesting trip.