New Orleans is a town that has a remarkable ability to capture your heart. It did mine in a visit of only one week in April this year. The same way that San Francisco announced itself to my heart as home two decades ago, New Orleans has also claimed me.
When I left New Orleans to board my flight back to San Francisco on April 17, I did as I always do: stopped at a bookstore. Gumbo Tales, by Sara Roahen, caught my eye and I’ve been reading it ever since. If you know me, you’ll know that it never takes me two months to read a book that I’m enjoying. But in this case, I read it slowly. Very slowly. And today I finished the last page. I was tempted to read the entire bibliography as if it were prose so that the book would last longer.
But it’s over now, and I’ve had to leave New Orleans again. Along with Sara, who left New Orleans at the end of her story to follow her husband. With great regret, my connection to New Orleans is severed.
Then I read the back cover. Sara and her husband moved back to New Orleans the year after they left. Sara, who I don’t even know and will likely never know, is in New Orleans. Somehow that makes me really happy.
Gumbo Tales, Finding My Place at the New Orleans Table, by Sara Roahen. It’s not just about the food, it’s actually only very little about the food but rather more about the table and the people around the table. I can’t recommend this book highly enough. I hope that one day I will have the chance to write about New Orleans.