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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Addiction


"Times are not good here (New Orleans). The city is crumbling into ashes. It has been buried under taxes and frauds and maladministration so that it has become a study for archaeologists...but​ it is better to live here in sackcloth and ashes than to own the whole state of Ohio."

— Lafcadio Hearn, 1888
I should leave this place...

It's the perfect time for me to leave this place.

I'm a 28 year old single guy. Pretty normal,right? Not where 90% of the population is married (or divorced) by my age. I get chastised all the time for not being tied down, but I refuse to settle. I have great friends. I have some not so great friends. I have acquaintances and I have former friends. I don't get to see the ones I would like to see as often as I would like, I see some of the ones I'd rather not see more than I want to. I have been betrayed, I have forgiven some, not others. I have done wrong to some. Most have forgiven me, some have not. Most of my true friends have wives, kids, families. I'm happy for them...It's the perfect time for me to leave this place...

Everywhere I look there are uneducated, ignorant people. For every solid individual there is another who is the dredge of society, bringing down the rest of us, holding us back. We have a multimillion dollar library where 30% of the population can't read at a high school level. We have subpar education system, subpar roads, subpar leadership, and ass backwards ways of thinking. Our major metropolitan city is the Newark or Detroit of the Deep South. More murders per capita than any other place, with 16 detectives for a population of 400,000 people. It's hot as hell. The Saints have put me through more heartbreak than any woman. I’ve gotten 3 speeding tickets being timed by a helicopter while eight state troopers sit in the median sucking up tax dollars all day, and we can give 3 million dollars in raises to state representatives, but we can't afford to pay for Morganza to the gulf or suitable levee systems to protect us. I'm tired of putting my life on hold and having my home and livelihood threatened every time there's a Rita, a Katrina, or an Andrew that makes his or her way into the gulf.  It's the perfect time for me to leave this place...

I’ve been lucky enough to travel all over this country.  There are better places. There are places with better weather. There are places with better infrastructure. There are places with more educated populations, higher socioeconomic status, lower crime rates, less threat of natural disaster, cleaner cities, healthier lifestyles, more bike trails, running tracks, recreational activities, less pollution, non corrupt politics, lower insurance rates, and better public school systems. There are places where it doesn't pour down raining every day for 3 months, places with less substance abuse, places with less rates of cancer and cardiovascular disease, places with less drugs and gangs. My liver wants me to leave. There are places with better healthcare, better public services, better professional football franchises, and happier people.  It's the perfect time for me to leave this place.
I should leave this place, but....

I'm addicted.

I’m addicted to boiled crawfish in April, boiled crabs in July, and raw oysters in November. To people with Cajun accents, unwavering faith in the Saints every August, and walking down the middle of the street with a beer in tow and no fear of prosecution. I’m addicted to fishing for redfish in the marsh, Mardi Gras, Jazz fest, and to the friendliness of complete strangers. Addicted to the history and culture of where I'm from. I’m addicted to 110% humidity, to seafood gumbo, to Boudreaux and Thibodaux jokes, to going to the camp for the weekend, LSU and my beloved Nicholls games on Saturdays, and Saints games on Sundays. Addicted to beautiful southern women, Louisiana high school football, Tony Chacherie's, Falgout Canal, the Cajun Bahamas and cold Bud Lights. I’m addicted to the music, the art, the architecture, and to playing Pedro with my friends.  Addicted to CP3 breaking down the defense off the dribble, the chants of "Who Dat!" raining down from every corner of the Superdome, the bars and taverns, pint night at the Bulldog, the Soul Rebels at Le Bon Temps on Thursday nights, The Balcony, Aficianados, Drago's, Capt. Allen's Bait and Tackle, the French Quarter, The River Walk, Bourbon St. and Abita Beer...Addicted to my friends and family being within driving distance.

One day I might leave this place, but for now -  I'm addicted. Maybe one day I'll find a new place and find a new addiction.

For my liver's sake, I hope so.

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