Hello, New Orleans….

“Crescent City”….

“The Big Easy”…..

“Birthplace of Jazz”….

And now I call it “Home”.

A Little Background on the move to New Orleans

I woke up one morning last August and realized that after over 20 years of working late nights, weekends and 60-70+ hour weeks, it was just not in my DNA anymore to maintain that lifestyle.  If I kept up that pace, I was surely setting myself for an early demise.

I am not particularly afraid of death, but I certainly have no interest in hurrying up the process.

So why not give that aspect of my life the “One Finger Salute” and move to a location where it is a music festival (and so much more) all year long.

Problem solved….

No more phone calls from “Guys in Suits” in a panic to save them from their latest mishap, oversight or general lack of intelligence.

No more “Cubicle From Hell”.

So as of March 1st, we (me, my significant other, Mary and our trusty dog, Cooper) made the move from Fort Worth, TX to New Orleans.  Of all the re-locations I have made, this is the one I am most psyched about because it does not involve work, but a 180 degree turn in the way I live.

Why New Orleans??  Why Not!!!

I have made the most of my 45 years on this earth.  I have traveled all over the world from Singapore to Indonesia to Egypt and the Caribbean as well as traveling all over the United States.  I have met many interesting people, seen incredible sights and consider myself blessed for the experiences I have had.

But nothing has calmed me more than listening to sweet sounds that emanate from the instruments and voices of the artists I have encountered over the years in New Orleans. That sense of peace is what one of my buddies long ago called “The Zone”.

“The Zone” usually consists of me finding an adult beverage of choice, a comfortable location in whatever venue or festival I am at for the moment and tuning out of everything other than the musicians and the harmonies they give birth to.  Blood pressure plummets and tensions ease (or maybe that is just the Wild Turkey working).

Some examples are but certainly not limited to:

The low end vibe of George Porter, Jr.

Art Neville’s organ

Stanton  on the kit

Some sax action from Ben Ellman

Shamarr Allen’s trumpet

“Shorty”

Leo’s guitar

The acoustics of Paul Sanchez

The sweet melodies of John Boutte’

Ivan and whoever might show up

And the list goes on and on…..

The Present

For the moment, I am just hanging out and enjoying the fact that I am not in my usual rush to take everything in before I bail out of town.

I can have a relaxed meal or take Cooper for a long walk along the Mississippi.

Hang out with Mary at the Hermes Bar and just watch the rain fall.

Enjoy a musical performance without interruption of phone calls or text messages from customers acting like the whole world is falling apart around them.

No more 12 o’clock check out times.

No more wondering when I have to head back to the airport for that flight back to reality.

This is now my reality.

Will I ever go back to work?  Probably, but I figure I have a ton of personal comp time to burn off.

Besides, “burned bridges” take a while to get rebuilt.

The Future

So as my new journey starts without an end in sight, I will try my best to bring you my version of what the New Orleans scene means to me.  I am not a reviewer of shows (or restaurants) nor am I a professional photographer but just an amateur with a passion.

I hope I can convey to you the atmosphere of Frenchman St, Tipitina’s, Howlin’ Wolf, Maple Leaf (August, Mother’s, Elizabeth’s, Willie Mae’s) and other countless locations where musicians (or chefs) reside to perfect their craft.

But it is difficult to throw adjectives, verbs and nouns together along with a few pictures and describe this indescribable city. You just have to live it.

I realize I am a lucky soul to be able to change on a dime and move to a very magical place and be able to do just that.  Just live it.

So Hello, New Orleans…. I hope you don’t mind me hanging out for a while to get to know you better.

16 Comments for “Hello, New Orleans….”

Donna Pahl (VWGal)

says:

Mel, you have it right. VERY right. There comes a time when one has to think about whether we really all need to chase the dollar quite as much as seem to think we ought to. Congratulations on making the move, you won’t look back…and if you do, in about a year or so, you might see me doing exactly what you’re doing!

says:

Mel, you are very sane man. More people need to realize that the quality of life is really all about deciding to live it. My Best to you and Mary (and Cooper!), Michael

Mel

says:

Thanks Michael, quality of life is now my highest priority. Am I sane??? I guess time will tell… See you at FQF

Lisa Powers (Corona)

says:

Mel, I’m beyond stoked for you and Susan. You’re living the dream bro and I’m ecstatic for you both…and Cooper 🙂 That took a lot of guts to make the move. Congrats and enjoy every damn second of it!!!

Ross Vegas Perlmutter

says:

Congrats, amigo!

The other day I asked my gal the following question: “If you knew you only had one year to live, and if you knew that you would be perfectly healthy until day 364, where would you be? Where would you live?” My followup question was: “well, how do you know that it ISN’T your last year?” The thing is, what if it IS our last year? What are we waiting for? If not now, when?

As I prepare to peer over the edge of my next 50 years on this planet, I am asking myself some very hard questions. Alas, I still haven’t been able to surrender the trappings of my generous, secure paycheck or the security of a mortgage-free home. I admire you Michael, and I am cautiously looking at any and all opportunities that will allow me to move to my “spiritual homeland”, the beautiful and magical city of New Orleans. Consider yourself warned, and save some mudbugs for me!

Fred

says:

Mel,
I look forward to reading about your adventures and your recent move to NOLA. I am turning 45 in one week (April 5th) and have been giving a lot of thought to moving to that fine, fine city. You may actually be that bellweather I am looking for to help guide me in my decision.

Live it up and enjoy.

Fred

Mel

says:

Fred, Thanks and hope to see you around someday. If you need any help or have any questions to make that decision, do not hesitate to contact me.

says:

Congratulations on the move! You’ll really enjoy the music and clubs in the off-season. Low or no cover charges and world class entertainment!

And I look forward to reading more as you settle in.

says:

Mel – Great piece. Hope to read more of your experiences in New Orleans.
Many years ago, pre-marriage, pre-kids, I considered relocating to NOLA, with no job in hand. Alas, didn’t work out.
Glad I get to visit every year, though.
Congrats on making the move.

Mel

says:

Hey Philip,

Thanks, I appreciate that.. at least you are not that far away to enjoy but Tampa is not so bad either.

Susan

says:

Hope to meet you and Mary and Cooper for coffee and beignets this time around at Mardi Gras..love the work you are putting in on facebook and your news letter.I’m interested in who ever’s playing in town from March 6-9 2010……and want to get out to the Maple leaf!
All the best to you all!!

Mel

says:

Thanks for the support Susan. Cafe du Monde is a great place to hang and watch the people go by, good idea

Shows for the Mardi Gras should start showing up around January, so stay tuned…..