where are you from?

I have a running argument/joke with a friend, TheJohnLH (although he’ll always be KingAssClown to me) regarding where I’m from. I always say New Orleans and then if someone asks for a neighborhood, I tell them. EXCEPT, my neighborhood is actually in Jefferson Parish…adjacent to Orleans Parish (and the city of New Orleans). The house where I grew up is less than 3 miles to the parish line.

KingAssClown grew up in Algiers which is within city limits but resides on the other side of the Mississippi river so I tell him that the Westbank doesn’t count.

I’ve learned recently that I’m an anomaly as a burbs kid who claims the city. A high school friend never says he’s from NOLA but from its suburbs…a suburb about 4 miles further up river from my parents.

So I’ve been contemplating what makes me a city girl in my own mind (well partially at least), I think it’s that my parents took us everywhere. We went to the big parks inside the city (Audubon and City); we went to museums, to the zoo, to festivals, to the French Quarter, to carnival parades (everywhere that there was one, including St. Bernard). My parents would take us to whatever restaurants we could afford and that my Dad wanted to try whether they were in the deep suburbs, the lakefront, or wherever.

So I didn’t grow up like many suburban kids, hearing of the evils of the city, especially since many family members still resided in a variety of neighborhoods (Uptown, Carrolton, Gentilly).

When I was a preteen, I figured out how to get to the places I wanted to be on the bus and the streetcar. Then I was the navigator for the friends with cars. I knew how to get to all the places teenagers in NOLA want to go (to the parades, to the French Quarter…)

So despite growing up on a suburban farm (thanks to my parents’ enormous yard and my Dad’s penchant for livestock), I do think of myself as a city girl. But not a native uptowner, that’s E’s place.

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3 thoughts on “where are you from?

  1. This is a wonderful post. I think one of the reasons we get along so well is that we had similar upbringings. You’re right, Algiers was never completely accepted by Eastbankers, but I always considered myself a New Orlenian. Even if I was born in Houma and moved to Algiers when I was five. New Orleans is where I grew up and experienced life. I will always love the city.

    And just for the record, we’re both from New Orleans. I will argue with anyone who disagrees.

  2. Since dad worked for a Major Oil Company, we moved around a lot. From 4th grade and remainder of my formative years, though, we lived in Algiers, subset New Aurora, a/k/a da ‘Wank. That meant we were well-traveled. My paternal grandmother lived off of Esplanade by the Fair Grounds, so there was lots of trips to Mid-City. We had cousins in the Metrys, so lots of trips to David Drive; a great aunt Uptown, so we spent time there, too. We were hauled off to Audubon and City parks, the lakefront, Pontchartrain Beach, etc.

    High School was Uptown, starting in 8th grade, so there was the daily trips across the bridge and back, first on “Public Service” (Gen. Meyer Express to Rampart at the Plaza Towers building followed by a walk to Lee Circle to catch streetcar) then luckily my brother got his driver’s license when I was in 9th grade and it was carpool from then on.

    As drinking age came upon us (16-17 back then, unofficial but we never got carded, anywhere) we hung out a lot Uptown and then I and my fellow ‘Wankers (not to be confused with “wankers,” that’s gross) would spend Friday and Saturday nights between Maple Street and the French Quarter, which pattern continued well into college, either the time I was UNO or weekends home from LSU.

    So, where am I from?

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