Guest Op-ed

Your Voice | New Orleans During the Pandemic | Guest Op-ed #1

Guest Writer: Stephanie M. of Chicago

Let me start out by saying, I have lived my life for other people far too long. It is so freeing to do what I want without people stopping me. I had the opportunity to come down to New Orleans and stay for a while. It’s a dream come true for me, because I love this city. I wanted to live here the first time I visited a few years ago. I don’t know how long I’ll stay, but I am happy for the time here, as I figure out what move to make next.

I arrived in New Orleans on Three Kings Day, which is also the beginning of carnival season. The pandemic has caused Mardi Gras parades to be canceled, but that doesn’t mean Mardi Gras is canceled. Carnival is very much alive in the hearts of every New Orleanian that lives here. The majority of The French Quarter residents have decorated their homes with purple, gold and green colors. Latoya Cantrell, New Orleans Mayor, streamed the beginning of Carnival festivities complete with Zulu Tramps and King Cake. Carnival season will be a little different this year, but the spirit is still here.

Arriving here, I was a little taken back by how quiet the streets of the FQ still are. Mayor Cantrell just ordered the city to go into modified Phase 1 since cases seem to be on the rise again. The usual 24 hour bars and convenient stores must now close at 11pm. The city is expected to be in Phase one for the next three weeks, so if there wasn’t much to do before, there definitely isn’t much to do now. There are no second lines, no street performers, no brass bands playing, no live music on Frenchmen Street. All the things that make New Orleans N’walins ‘aint dere no more.

Despite the pandemic, it is still possible to have fun. I mean, eating is always fun, am I right? All the restaurants are still open for dine in and to go orders. You can go for a ride on a gondola in City Park, rent bikes and ride around the city, go on the Natchez steamboat or take the ferry, take a swamp tour on The Pearl River, or just drive  around looking at all the beautiful architecture of New Orleans. I can never get enough of the FQ. It just never gets old to me.

If you are the type of person who hates being around a lot of people or get easily annoyed by them 🙋🏽‍♀️, then you just might enjoy The Big Easy right now. The streets are empty and there are no long lines at places like Cafe Du Monde or Pat O Briens. If you’re looking to take a road trip down, it is very possible to do so safely without risking your health and the health of those around you. Thank you Current Urban for a chance to write about my experience, this is such a cool thing for people like myself who want to start blogging.

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