February 5, 2010

Do You Know What It Means...

My company is hounding me to move up to New Jersey. Yes, I am aware that is where our office is located. Yes, I know I won’t find a job this good that pays this well for someone with my experience in New Orleans. Yes, I know that Jersey has a far better school system/government/public works/fill in blank than New Orleans.  And yes, I know I have gone as far as I can working remotely from my home office in New Orleans.

But, no, I won’t be moving to New Jersey, thanks for asking.

You see, I can’t leave New Orleans. Here are my top 10 reasons:

1) My mother is buried here. Tell me, whose grave would I visit when I am sad/happy/lonely/scared?  And, even if I did dig up the name of some relative who was buried somewhere up there, would the cemetery operators frown upon me placing Mardi Gras beads and masks on the headstone?

2) When I walked into the Jersey office and shouted WHO DAT into the air, no one would respond in any way other than possibly calling security. Here in the Big Easy, screaming Who Dat is akin to saying Good Morning.

3) Where would I get my Bunny Bread/Blue Runner Red Beans/French Market Coffee/Zapp’s Chips?? I’d have to get it shipped up from New Orleans. And that’s just a whole lot of work and planning.

4) It snows up there and they all go to work and school anyway. That’s just silly.

5) When I showed up to work  in April and May wearing shorts and flip flops and sat at my desk watching streaming video of the Jazz Fest with tears pouring down my face, people would start to doubt my ability. And then I’d get fired anyway, so why bother packing everything up and moving?

6) The Saints are in the Superbowl. Our football team wears gold pants, our mascot is a flower, and our male fans wear dresses, but our team is going to the Superbowl after 43 years of trying.  Leaving now would be like leaving before the encore!  5,000 straight men parade around in drag to commemorate Buddy Dileberto and celebrate the Saints going to the Superbowl…and it brings tears to my eyes…tears of joy and pride and a feeling of being home. I just don’t see anything like that happening anywhere above the Mason Dixon line.

7) Did I mention it snows in New Jersey?

8) My house in New Orleans cost $100,000 and is 100 years old. Plus it sits 2 short blocks from the Jazz Fest, ½ mile from City Park and about 5 minutes from the French Quarter. What’s that you say, I can get a smaller house in New Jersey for $450,000 and it will be a 2 hour drive in hellish traffic anywhere. Well, gee, thanks, but I’m good.

9) People in New Orleans know that you eat Red Beans and Rice on Mondays, you can get the best roast beef po boy in the world from Russel’s Short Stop, Dixie beer will give you a horrible hangover, you can’t take a left on Tulane Avenue, streetcars have the right of way, so look before you turn on St Charles, and that Betsy’s restaurant continued serving breakfast all morning even after the car slammed through the from wall. People in Jersey don’t even know what a po boy is.

10) I, despite my near constant crankiness about it, love New Orleans the people who live here. I love Mardi Gras, grown men who call each other “baby,” Jazz Fest, impromptu parades, second lines at funerals, second lines at weddings, second lines for any old reason, people who actually know what a second line is, being able to get from one end of the city to the other in less than 40 minutes and being able to do so without a map. I love gumbo, muffelettas, Terranova’s grocery, king cakes, po boys, shrimp ettouffe, and Parkway Bakery. I love PJ’s coffee and sitting outside CC’s coffeehouse on a sunny spring day. I love that my next door neighbor is the trumpet player for the Fairgrounds race track and that most days I get a free live jazz trumpet concert wafting over from his house. I love confederate jasmine and sweet olive. I love that the worst natural (or man-made if you ask us New Orleanians) disaster to ever happen in the United States’ history didn’t break us, it made us even stronger and more dedicated to rebuilding this beautiful city. I love that my husband will grab a live giant New Orleans cockroach with his bare hands and throw it outside…chivalry like that is not only dead, it never existed up in Northeast.

And so, my friends, those that I love so much in this beautiful city…can I use you as references on my resume?

WHO DAT!!!!!!!!


Laura Ferry-Jimenez said...

you can use me... but ya might not get the job! ;) haha.

awww... I almost cried, on Wed, when I was promising Isabella that if we had to move, we would be back real soon and started naming all the things I loved about New Orleans. :(

ps: you forgot snow-balls! not those crappy sno-cones!!

Jessica Austin said...

I still remember your email when you left as the Houston exec, Do you know what it means to miss New Orleans? I remember being so jealous that you had such a sense of home that was attached to a place that you thoroughly enjoyed. I'm glad it's the same for you now. It is a wonderful gift you can give Max. Even if he grows up and moves away he will always have a strong sense of home.

Tiffany said...

Thank you for a beautiful essay, on my birthday, no less.

beth ferry pekins said...

yeah claire!

LatinTeacher said...

I envy you, and this is a great post. I've lived in NJ now for 10 years. I don't hate it, but it's still not home. It never will be. And I have horrible nightmares about raising a child without Mardi Gras and second lines and beignets and crawfish boils. We do our best, but it's still not New Orleans. I just was home, but I gotta home again soon. I didn't get enough.

I did put out some feelers for a job, though.