creative nonfiction

New Orleans Summer And Other Harsh Truths

Sep 1, 2016

When I left New Orleans as a young adult to pursue an education and later a career in other parts of America, I quickly realized that simply being from the 504 carried with it a certain exotic quality. “Wait,” new acquaintances would say, “you’re actually from New Orleans? I never thought that someone could, you know...grow up there…”

You are about to enter another dimension. Not just one of sight and sound, but of mind. It is a dimension of costumed revelry and sugared cakes with plastic babies, of fanatics dressed in black and gold and sandwiches dressed with “mynez” and Crystal. A dimension of wild celebration of the human condition, a place where everyone is “dawlin” and no one is without a cold drink. 

There is a signpost up ahead. You are about to enter...The New Orleans Zone.

Angel Trumpets release some of the best smells in the city.
Scott Gold / Nolavie

When people fall in love with New Orleans -- a phenomenon that happens on a daily basis around here -- they’re wont to wax poetically about the familiar qualities that make this city such a special and enchanting place.

But all of this gushing tends to leave out a single and singular fact of life in the Crescent City: This town, for lack of a better word, smells.

Storyville: 'Grieving For The Pies I've Never Eaten'

Feb 6, 2014
Laura McKnight

I’m a fan of most South Louisiana specialties — crawfish, king cake, Zapp’s Potato Chips, et cetera — but a few things make me feel like a traitor to my local roots: I prefer my coffee without chicory, I’m ambivalent about oysters, and I’m pretty sure I have never in my life eaten a Hubig’s Pie.