Tuesday, November 14, 2006

trying to cut the cord

Since the hurricane I've had a hard time adjusting to the fact that I no longer live in New Orleans. I pause when people ask me where I'm from; do they mean where do I currently live, or do they know I'm not local and want to know where I came from? The past few times I've been asked this question I just stood there with my mouth open, puddle of drool gathering around my feet. People assumed I was from Mississippi, based on that puddle of drool and my inability to answer a simple question.

I've slowly started to accept that in certain ways California is home. I voted here, I've got a CA driver's license, and I drive a yuppie car. I'm very Californian in those aspects.

But in other ways I'm having trouble becoming Californian. Whenever jparks mentions buying a house here, I clam up and won't even discuss it with him. I think that some part of me isn't ready to own property in this ridiculously over-priced area. Or maybe it's just that as long as we don't own property here we can leave at any time; head back to a land below sea level where I feel more comfortable.

Right now we think nothing of heading back to NOLA for the holidays. But once we have kids, flying halfway across the country will no longer be an easy feat and holidays will have to be spent here. But without Celebration in the Oaks, Cajun Night Before Christmas, and Benny Grunch and the Bunch I'm not sure how the holidays will ever feel right.

And at what point in time do I need to stop feeling like it's my right to have time off of work for Mardi Gras? When will I stop feeling like something is not right if once a year I don't stand in the middle of a street with a beer in one hand, cold Popeye's chicken in the other, and yell at men on floats to throw me some long beads?

I guess what I'm wondering is how long do you have to be gone from a place before you stop thinking of it as home? I need to know so that just a day before I hit that amount of time I can move back to NOLA.


  1. No matter where we live, or how long we've been gone, New Orleans will always be home.

  2. When I moved here in a round-about way from Texas, I kept thinking I'd move back someday. I liked California and all, but I thought it was too expensive and I'd miss my family too much to stay. I do miss my family a lot, but after about 5 or 6 years, I realized that instead of thinking of when I'd move back, I started thinking of when I'd like to buy a house (yes, I'll agree that the ridiculously astronomical housing prices are insane). I've been here 9 years now and I don't think of moving back anymore, 'cause this is home now. It also took more than five years for me to stop answering that I was from Texas. Now it's "originally from Texas, and I've lived in CA for the past 9". You'll never stop being from NOLA. You'll just start also being from here.

  3. You shouldn't want to think of any place as home BUT New Orleans! Say it loud and proud like a true New Orleanian!

    When will you be here? I want to get the most out of the time I am able to irritate you. ;)

  4. Hmm, this is not a problem I have personal experience with, being from Hellinois. Maybe you should pretend you're from someplace that no one in their right mind wants to live in, like Illinois, and think of New Orleans as a "home away from home," a place that you like to go to a lot, like Hawaii...

  5. It's not that you're becoming Californian -- you're a cultural embassador of all-things NOLA to the culture-less Bay Area! If it weren't for Jason I wouldn't have known to bastardize everything I eat with Tony Chachere's, for example.

  6. I was born in Indiana, only lived in New Orleans for 2 years (but Metairie for many more years), and haven't lived in New Orleans for 6 years. I still consider it home.