New Orleans is known for Mardi Gras, Jazz music and the tragedy that was Hurricane Katrina, but to me it means a whole lot more. I visited the city in 2009 and I fell in love instantly. I had always felt out of place my entire life, as if I didn’t really belong anywhere and then I found this city, the place that made me feel like I was at home for the first time in my life.
New Orleans is a beautiful city in every way. From the French Quarter to Audubon Park uptown, to Magazine Street in between, just riding the streetcar to see all the sights is a wonderful experience. Putting aside all places of interest the Crescent City has to offer, the most inspirational thing about New Orleans has to be the people that live there. You will be hard pushed to find a friendlier, more welcoming group of individuals. To them I was a stranger but that didn’t stop them from opening their arms to me.
I arrived in the city late one Saturday night and I was all alone. It wasn’t long before I was offered a place to stay by a couple I met on Frenchman Street and they weren’t the last. They were the kind of folks that made me feel safe and protected even though I was in a new place. Every day that I was there I made new friends: friends who took me on tours around the city, showing me brilliant things that I will never forget. I listened to the most breath-taking music and ate the most exquisite food, experiencing things I had never experienced before. New Orleans was the first place I had ever eaten sushi and the first time I sung karaoke!
I felt no fear when I was there and for the first time, I found myself being spontaneous. If you knew how highly organized I was before I went there, you would realize why this was such a big change for me. Before I visited the city I was broken inside, I was lost and the phrase “finding myself” meant nothing to me. Then I got on a plane and went to the other side of the world to the Big Easy, the place where I did in fact “find myself” and where I was put back together. It was the one period of my life where I was truly happy and I will never forget that.
The people of New Orleans touched me with their warm generosity and open hearts. I’m so thankful that I found a place where I could be myself and I was accepted for who I am. I hope these words can express my gratitude because they are all I have. The time I spent there changed me forever and one day I hope to go back there. I left my heart there but I know it will be taken care of, just like I was. There’s nowhere else I would rather spend my time. Thank you for saving my life, New Orleans.
About the Author: Maya Kaur is from England and her favorite things in life are writing, music and of course, travelling!! She has a music website and you can follow her on Twitter @MissMaya84.
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