Everything is strange everywhere for everybody. It’s been that way for the last six weeks or so, and it’s going to stay that way for while. That made this a weird time to move.
It started in Colorado, where social distancing meant all of our plans for farewell dinners and drinks with friends went out the window. Heck, we couldn’t even give so-long-for-now hugs. To anybody. (OK, I bent the rules for my son. Don’t tell anybody.)
However, we were lucky in one way. Being so overwhelmed by selling our Colorado house, packing, coordinating the move, the long drive, and unpacking isolated us from the isolation. We weren’t sacrificing “normal” life. Now that our heads are finally bobbing above the surface of a sea of empty cardboard boxes, it’s hitting us hard.
We still have yet to see some of the amazing people who we’ve been so excited to share New Orleans with. The ones we have seen have been at that awkward, don’t-even-think-about-hugging six feet of distance. We’re so lucky to share a block with amazing neighbors — especially since our world so rarely extends beyond it — but we can’t hug them, either. (Hey Matlock, have you figured out we’re huggers?)
But what might be the weirdest part of all is the version of New Orleans we finally live in. It’s felt an awful lot like this:
I know that none of this compares to the real pain and suffering that’s being caused by this pandemic, but it is bizarre to be able to see what looks like New Orleans without being able to swim in its juicy, funky soul.
Which brings me to today’s shot in the arm. I was returning from a necessary trip to Costco and felt like I couldn’t just hop on I-10 and take the speedy way home. It was raining, and people are feeling the fact that this was supposed to be the first day of Jazz Fest. So I tuned in WWOZ to listen to their amazing “Jazz Festing in Place” programming and set my course for the scenic route. (Click here to see the schedule and listen. It’s fantastic.)
I drove towards the river on Carrollton, passed Claiborne and saw a street car. OZ was playing a Jazz Fest set from Kermit Ruffins. I turned onto St. Charles, heard some thunder, and drove under a thick canopy of oaks. Kermit was singing “I’m So New Orleans” and I felt the rush of comfort hit me. I could see it … I could hear it … New Orleans is still here, and we are lucky to call it home.