Sometimes, when a place is so special, it stops being a destination and evolves into a home. And home—a “where” that both feeds and urges you to feed back, a distinctness denied to so many Americans who’ve grown up in an amorphous nebula of strip malls, fast food, big boxes, MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, a world of social interaction and anywhere businesses that can be transplanted everywhere, and thus exists nowhere—is something many Americans of my generation have missed. Home is what so many New Orleans transplants came to rebuild, but before they knew it they were on the cutting edge of green architecture, education policy and the local food movement. They were keeping what makes this city special, and waterproofing its soul all at once. Home wasn’t rebuilt. It was reinvented.
When I left New Orleans—which took me two weeks of false starts and stops, I loved it so hard—and the orange lights of the city blurred into the graveyards and the humid air rushed into my mouth through open car windows, a billboard from a realtor loomed over the highway: “Home matters most.”
Yeah. You right.”