PORTLAND, OREGON: As I sit at breakfast in Portland this morning, I couldn’t decide if this is like being in another country or if living in New Orleans is like living in another country! Since I lived here and did a talk radio show here for two years, I was surprised that I felt like I was in a foreign place – and not in a negative way.
Portland is different. The attitudes, the styles and the physical surroundings are as distant from New Orleans as the miles that separate the two cities. This trip has reminded me that we live in a country on a planet that offers wonderful visual and cultural diversity.
It’s natural to compare a place where you have lived with the place where you currently live, but the instinctive comparisons have led me a comforting conclusion. There is a type of courtesy among wait staff and hourly employees in this part of the country that is admirable. However, I instantly think of the unique style of courtesy we have in New Orleans. Only in New Orleans do you hear from an unfamiliar waitress say, “What can I get you, baby?” or “Are you doing alright honey?”
There are always things we can learn from other parts of the country and I have always promoted the idea that just because we do something one way in New Orleans is not mean it’s the best way.
I consider myself blessed because I am from the incredible city of New Orleans, but I have had the opportunity to live and work in many great cities around this amazing country we live in. From Seattle I moved to Portland and spent about four years in the Pacific Northwest. This is a beautiful part of America. (At the end of this blog there is a picture of me at Multnomah Falls, which is about 30 mins. outside of Portland in the Cascades and a picture of where I am writing this blog – in a restaurant that is built like a log cabin!) But I remember when I was living here I would see scenes on TV or in movies of the bayou, the cypress trees in the swamp and the French Quarter and miss the natural and historic beauty of my home – New Orleans!
Experiencing different parts of the country reminds us that America is a wonderfully diverse country, both geographically and emotionally. I love the perspective of this land that God has blessed me with.
Later this month, my son and his girlfriend will be coming to New Orleans and it will be her first trip to the city. We have been talking about all the unique things about New Orleans and I love bragging about my city. We all enjoy being in the company of those who are experiencing New Orleans for the first time!
It has been great to visit my son and one of the places that was my home for a brief part of my radio career, but even as I sit here in this beautiful part of America, I am thinking about my apartment in downtown New Orleans – the view, the location, the people and the historic beauty. I also think about how the sensation of living in New Orleans cannot always be reduced to words – it is something that must be experienced!
While I can appreciate many different parts of this country, I repeat the words I learned as a kid watching “The Wizard of Oz” – “There’s no place like home!” I’ll be back on the air Wednesday night!