New Orleans is exhausting, and like anyone who’s lived here their whole life, I’ve gone through phases of love and frustration with the city. I grew up here, I went to college here, and on the cusp of building my adult life here, I wavered.

In February 2020 I began planning a move to Chicago that July, about two years after college graduation and in the midst of one of my low periods. It was a pretty classic Stay Or Go quandary: Does this place have anything left to offer me? Do I have anything to offer it? Does my love for this place outweigh the lack of infrastructure? These questions were all rendered moot as March 2020 proved to be a less than favorable time to consider a major move to an entirely new city.

What I learned at an early age here is that when things are really, really hard, somebody has me covered. Part of that is hometown foundation, but part of that is a general spirit of community that shines brightest in times of true disaster—and there’s been a lot of true disaster. I find this kindness not just in lifelong relationships but also in new ones and in strangers. In the deep COVID months, when my psyche could not handle the inescapable levels of true disaster everywhere I looked, the dedicated editors and contributors at ANTIGRAVITY continued showing up to report on life in New Orleans. The internal fervor for producing something important, honest, and unafraid reignited something in me that I felt fading in the months previous. I tethered myself to this magazine, offering whatever I could give wherever I could give it. The cynics of the world say human beings are inherently selfish and cruel, but New Orleans, and the people I’ve worked alongside with at this magazine, have consistently shown me that this is not a universal truth, and that hope goes a long way in the multitude of fights we are up against.

To be part of this history is an honor, and as I’ve flipped through the archives in preparation of this issue I feel it even more so. Watching moments in New Orleans’ history come and go through these pages, and remembering whole eras of my life that have come and gone alongside these moments in time, reminds me why I take this so seriously. This is public record, an archive of a city that’s being dismantled by the powers-that-be, and the people who won’t stop fighting this destruction.

New Orleans, for its part, is not an easier place to live than it was in February 2020; you could argue that it’s harder. But home is a difficult thing to leave, and I built another for myself doing my part to help put these pages together each month. I’m seeing predictions that this has the potential to be the most active hurricane season to-date—a type of prediction I largely ignore so as not to lose my mind, though I’m not naive enough to write such things off. I worry, yes, but also know that I’ll be covered. I have more to offer here.

Photo of the author at Washington Avenue and Constance Street by Peyton Brunet, April 2021 #201

Verified by MonsterInsights