Arriving in New Orleans


The fantasy of travel, which never goes away, still gets tempered by the actual arrival at a location. The best locations in the world are the ones that, like a shy guest at a party, sit quietly back in the corner and wait for you to discover them.

New Orleans is all about its life, its music, its spirit and its joy, grief and pain all smashed into one colorful pastiche. And yet, just walking off the plane, just before a mid-fall rainstorm hits, and just as the sun goes down, a lone jet-fuel tanker truck rumbles past my plane at the gate, oblivious to the empty runway and the tense, waiting silence that accompanies nightfall when mixed with the coming rainfall.

I was in New Orleans for a conference. Over the space of four days I probably spent five or six hours in actual meetings. Much of the rest of the time was given over to receptions, dinners, cocktails, and in my free time wandering the streets bathed in music, light, people, and more alcohol than anyone could safely consume for long. The brooding blue of my first minutes in town faded away.

I used this photo as on the front page of a portfolio website I made for myself last year. The deep blues, the vision of travel and the sense of anticipation drew me to it. In the end, I took the image down and changed my site layout because the whole site was just too busy. I could never completely explain just how a jet-fuel truck and an arrival gate were related to the site. Even so, that beloved fantasy of travel never goes away, even when I arrive at my destination too late in the day to see much of anything.


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