I’m all about doing something for the first time, often. To that end, I recently went to two places in the continental United States of America I had never been to before: New Orleans, Louisiana and Los Angeles, California.
New Orleans, Louisiana
I went to NOLA for work and was only there for about 48 hours but still very much felt like I was somewhere else, somewhere that wasn’t in America. I know I only scratched the surface of all there is to do, see, and experience in New Orleans but it was well worth it to hit some highlights and get a feel for a city I’m sure I’ll return to.
NOLA made me feel like I was somewhere else likely because of the Quarter (French Quarter) which was where the city was originally centered on at the time of its founding in 1718 by Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville. Both French and Spanish influences are strong in the area because the French gave Louisiana to the Spanish to settle a war debt way back in the day. The architecture, colors on the walls, and street names made me feel like I was in Cartagena, Colombia or a French outpost somewhere. The food, like the architecture and coloring, is also influenced by the cities colonial past with healthy doses of Creole cooking, music, and culture mixed in. NOLA’s jazz spots are distinctly African-American and brought me home quickly. There’s a heaviness to the city. Ghosts of slaves past and souls lost down through the years.
Go to NOLA. Experience the magic, music, and mysticism for yourself.
Los Angeles, California
Twenty-eight countries and I’d never been to California before April 2018, a damn shame if you ask me. I was taken with LA soon as I got off the plane. I mean, palm trees are always nice. But more than that, I instantly felt calm. LA – like Cape Town, South Africa – is a place where city meets oceans and mountains. Something about topography like that just does it for me every time.
I underestimated how big and spread out LA is. Blame it on my living on the East Coast for six years but LA is big! It’s flat too in my personal opinion. Outside of the downtown area, I didn’t see many skyscrapers. It’s like the city want’s to respect everyone’s view. Speaking of views, LA is of course where most American movies are made which brought up Cannes, France for me – another place where water combines with land and magic is made. Another place I was very calm as well.
I ate so many tacos, went to so many museums, and engaged so many artists. For a creative like me, LA seems like a good place to be.
P.S. Go to Coachella at least once in your life. I know it’s in Indio, CA but the experience is worth it.
When’s the last time you went somewhere for the first time? Where’s a place at home that makes you feel like you’re abroad?