I absolutely love being from New Orleans. Even with all of the city's problems – crime, poverty, poor schools, the potential for hurricanes – there’s no place like her on Earth. I’m almost embarrassed to admit this, but when I was a little girl, I used to pretend that I was talking to Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show about my illustrious novel-writing and filmmaking career – and the part of my crazy fantasy that always tickled me the most was when I confessed where I grew up. Because, let’s face it, I could never run out of positive things to say about this multifaceted town: the zydeco and blues music, the fresh seafood and Creole cuisine, the historic architecture, the atmospheric swamps and cemeteries, the laidback vibe, the lively festivals... the list could go on and on.
That’s why a part of me is always envious of the out-of-town filmmakers who attend the Big Easy International Film Festival, which will be happening later this week. During the first two years of the event – and even with this year, too – many of the visiting filmmakers have either rarely seen or never been to the Crescent City. To be honest, while many of them come to view their films with an audience, I have no doubt that some use this cinematic event as an excuse to explore New Orleans. And, although I love knowing this incredible city – and feeling her sights, sounds, and smells in my blood – I sometimes wish that I could experience her magic and atmosphere for the first time, instead of being nurtured by her unique character since the womb. After all, I was an unborn child, in my mother’s belly, when I experienced my first New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. So, it’s safe to say that I was a native New Orleanian from the get-go.
Which place do you wish you could experience for the first time?
11 hours ago