Our love affair with a suburb of New Orleans is deeply rooted.
My husband and I have lived in several cities — from Knoxville, Tenn., to Lafayette to Houma — and our favorite is by far Houma. Why Houma you ask? The answer is simple. We love Houma because of its proximity to New Orleans. Now, New Orleans has easily claimed the title of my favorite date night city.
To digress, my husband and I met at Louisiana Tech University. I am from Ruston; he is from Texas. After I graduated college, I moved to Knoxville to be with him. We talked about moving to Louisiana to be closer to my family, but we always had one rule: “It would only be South Louisiana.”
It seems we both had fallen in love with South Louisiana, and it was inescapable. He had first been exposed to New Orleans by coming with friends to a Metairie parade during college. He adored the family-friendly atmosphere and the camaraderie he experienced. I have always possessed a love for it, as I had family who lived in Metairie who we would visit each year. The city just felt like home each time I visited. A deep rooted affection existed that I couldn’t shake.
In a strange twist of life, we ended up having the option to move to central Louisiana or Houma. It was a no-brainer for us — Houma it was. It didn’t take us long to settle down in the new house before we made our first trip into the city. We excitedly cruised down Highway 90 relishing the beauty of the bayous along the way.
As we hit the city, it felt as if none of us had ever been there. We even drove through the French Quarter (windows rolled down) listening for music and beaming at all of the people we passed like we were a bunch of tourists. We absolutely loved it. My kids loved it; my husband loved it; and I loved it. There’s just something about the energy of New Orleans that grabs you. It crawls in your soul, and infiltrates your bloodstream and you’re hooked. You either love it or hate it — there’s no in between.
One of my favorite things about the city is how my husband and I can scope out something happening, and make a date out of it. Some of our favorite dates have been attending Saints games, Trombone Shorty’s Treme Threauxdown, The Blue Man Group at the Saenger Theatre and Urban South Brewery’s Delta Momma Night. That’s the great thing about New Orleans: The options are diverse and continual. Sometimes we even use the opportunity to escape to the city for our getaway weekends. It is so much fun to check into a hotel, grab a drink, and walk around the city and again see it through a tourist’s eyes. Those weekends usually end up with us looking at real estate and dreaming about our retirement flat in the city.
I will admit it to you, we are total posers. When we go out of state we tell people we live in a suburb of New Orleans. This is because: (A) It’s easier to explain than where Houma is, and (B) maybe we just want to be included so badly in this wonderful tribe of people that it makes it okay. But for what it’s worth, we feel so lucky to be so close to New Orleans, for our children and for ourselves. The thriving culture, the attitude of solidarity and the rebuilding of an entire city are such examples of things we want to teach our children and experience ourselves.
My cousin in Metairie had once said to me during a visit, “You’ll live here one day, it’s just in your soul.” At that time I was 20 years old and had no idea where my life would end up. Now those words ring truer and dearer to me than I ever imagined. I am so glad she was right.