A Canadian artist from Montreal came to New Orleans with the intent of staying overnight, but ended up spending two months here instead. This is his love letter to the city that made him fall in love with her, expressing how she won him over and why.
Dear New Orleans,
Some people call you "N'awlins"; some others, "The Big Easy." I won't call you anything else than your real name. You may catch me calling you "NOLA" sometimes, because I find it super cute and because I can be lazy. To be truthful with you, I never thought I'd write you this letter. I don't consider myself to be that great of a writer. Images and strong visuals are my thing, my shtick.
In order to make myself the clearest possible, let me start by telling you that I have this habit of comparing places to human beings. I compared Québec to a teenage girl who sees her body changing and who doubts herself, even though she'll be a strong and unique woman later.
When I think of you, dearest NOLA, I see a loud, cheerful, hospitable woman who's got several scars on her body and her face. But instead of being ashamed of these scars, she flaunts them. She is proud to have survived the many hard times in the past. What I love is that you seem to be enjoying every day like it's your last, and this is the most gorgeous thing to see and to experience.
Your being called "The Big Easy" felt weird from the get geaux. You have that reputation of an easy, excessive, and destructive woman, just like Vegas can be. But I'm not okay with that description—"easy" is not an adjective for you. After two months cuddled in your warmth, heat, and humidity, I found you were charmingly high-maintenance and totally addictive. Long story short, I was supposed to be, for you, a simple (yet exotic) one-night stand from the freezing Canada. But, guess what? One night was enough for you to flip me over. I think I'm falling in love with you and I want to see you again.
Your streets and sidewalks were messy, yet allowed me to ride my bike in zigzags and laugh about it. Your very loose concept of time management obliged me to deal with it and gave me the occasion to observe what was around me: a beautiful rainbow of skin tones, body types, and fashion styles that was mesmerizing. The last time that I was hypnotized by the beauty and variety of people was in Istanbul. Take this as a genuine compliment, because Istanbul is a hunk of a city.
Your blatant enjoyment in not respecting rules made me fall for you: stop signs are nothing but pieces of metal on a street corner, neutral grounds become parking lots, BBQ spots, or instant flea markets. You think that rules are made to be broken. I think that you are right.
I appreciated your complex identity; it has inspired me. I love your boldness; it scares some people. They say you are dangerous. They say I should be careful when I walk in your streets at night. Let me reaffirm that you never made me feel unsafe the whole time. Well, there was one night in a bar when that woman was swinging her arms offbeat, nearly hitting my moneymaker of a face several times. I was scared for a second.
If you are beautiful during the day, you are gorgeous at night. I did you up and down, left and right, on my green bike. I discovered you from Elmwood to the Lower 9th Ward and from the Mississippi to Lake Pontchartrain; I even set foot twice on the Westbank. Now, my legs are on fire.
The love we were making together every Sunday afternoon will stay with me forever. You were the most beautiful, powerful, and ecstatic during your second lines, drowning me in the sounds of your multiple brass bands, the screams and chants of people. You made me bounce, twerk, step, spin, drop, clap, snap, and do things with my body that I forgot I could do. You gave me no choice but to follow your rhythm and obey your orders. I felt like you and I were one. Now, my heart is bleeding.
I may be totally wrong about you, but this is what I got from our unexpected two-month relationship. I don't need you to answer me because I have zero doubts of my love for you. Neaux need to ask me if I will be back. I will.
I hope I don't look like a stalker; I'm just a passionate man who has found another breath-taking muse.
In the meantime, I bow to you, Hot Thing.
(Artwork below by 2Fik):