What am I passionate about, what would I shout about from the rooftops, or in this case, the levees?
The Gulf Coast – its landscape, people, music, its abundance of blue sky and oysters and soul – always, always, always influences me.
Always makes me want to sing and shout and carry on!
When I know it’s time for the Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival or the Cochon du Lait Festival in Mansura or the Andouille Festival in St. John Parish, for Mardi Gras or St. Joseph’s Day or Jazz Fest, for wandering through the Washington Avenue graveyard on our way to brunch, or down Frenchman to Three Muses for feta fries and lamb sliders and the rompin’ tunes of Washboard Chaz and The Palmetto Bug Stompers, then I wish my pockets were deep and I wasn’t so far from home.
But when I do get back to New Orleans, I let the world there seep in, so that once I leave, the spirit of the place will last awhile inside my bones.
And this Christmas I’ll imagine the Festival of the Bonfires along the Mississippi River, looking to the northern constellations as if they were the communal Cajun pyres of Lutcher, Gramercy, and Paulina, their levees aflame with lantern light.