I have not fully adjusted to life in New Orleans, yet. Although I was excited to move here, I did not anticipate  the adjustments I would have to make. I had braved the live-free-or-die mentality of New Hampshire, how could I not blend here?

I have a Yankee accent of sorts, which I like to think is my lack of an accent, so this is people’s first clue I am not from these parts. Used to speaking a mile a minute, I have had to slow down, so I can think about how to pronounce New Orleans properly. One does not pronounce the name of the city like the name of the street. One does not pronounce Calliope Street like the name of the instrument. And, one does not pronounce Carondelet like Frito Lay. Not without risking a grimace and then, a correction from a local.

We do move a little too fast and furious in the North. I am rapid fire. In New Orleans things move a trifle slower. I had to recalibrate before my manager poked me in the eye. Things don’t always go according to schedule here. Plans change. Postal workers deliver mail at all hours of the evening. I never had to turn on a porch light before to guide a postal worker to the door.

Driving is an extreme sport in the North, even the shortest of roads becomes the German Autobahn. Here, I have discovered each driver drives to the beat of his or her own soundtrack. Cellphones and go-cups add to the thrill of the drive. Other people don’t seem to notice when you drive the wrong way down a one-way street. They have seen it all.

On high holidays, and I haven’t even been here for Mardi Gras, yet, people party like it is 1999. Halloween on Frenchmen Street is an experience. I had never had anyone attempt to walk on my car before Halloween of this year. I was a little unnerved. Locals said, “You are so sensitive,” and “I guess you’re not a joiner.”

I love it here still. In spite of and because of the fact that anything can happen anywhere at anytime. I live to see my first spontaneous parade . . .

Veronica K. Brooks-Sigler

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