Soft rains came early in the evening.
But no amount of rainwater has ever been able to stop New Orleans. We toured the bars along Frenchmen Street, and at one point paused to listen to a brass band on a corner with a crowd of roughly a hundred. We ordered beers at a cash-only joint where the bartender gave us our drinks on the house.
We talked to strangers and sang along to songs we knew. We danced to the blues and stood under lamps just to pretend we were ducking out of the weather, while agreeing that a little rainfall was nothing to hide from. It was lucky dragonflies and perfectly preserved moths. Jimi Hendrix and cigarette smoke. Bassline heartbeats. Eye-contact.
It was a night in New Orleans made all the better by the knowledge we were flying out in the morning, destination Boston.
I’ve considered myself a terribly lucky man as of late. I’ve rid myself of some bad relationships and managed to hold onto a few of the good ones. I’ve worked hard and made somewhat of a name for myself in a few creative communities. I can finally afford to travel to parts of the world I’ve never visited and see things I wouldn’t have seen otherwise. The best part is I get to come right back home to write about my thoughts and experiences and those I’ve shared them with.
So I feel like that makes me twice as lucky to have made it out of New Orleans before the harder rains of Tropical Storm Barry came.
For more than one reason I couldn’t get to sleep that night. One was the conversation. We sat on the balcony of the 18th floor overlooking the city that was beginning to sleep, mocking us in a way, yet giving us a moment of peace to ourselves. We sat across from each other with lightning streaking through the black clouds overhead, with similar electricities surging between us in the form of weighty words, leaving me exhausted yet nonetheless wide awake. We paused only for the authority of thunder, allowing it to interrupt whenever it so chose.
We spoke mostly of the past, of regrets, of harrowing memories and narrow escapes. Mistakes made. Lessons learned. Maybe it was the energy of the storm brewing in the sky so close I swore we could touch it. Maybe it was the late hour, or the anticipation of the journey ahead of us the following morning.
Whatever it was, it was real.
The rains came then, dripping steadily in streams from the roof, spraying the balcony like a mist in its gusts.
I lied awake until my alarm went off. The rains had still only begun as the sun rose— before we could even sit down to our complementary breakfast, waters fell from the sky that might’ve floated Noah’s arc.
I drove with blurred vision through layers of reflective gray, blasting Sum 41’s All Killer No Filler to keep awake long enough to park safely in a lot that had no shuttle. We unpacked the raincoats and trudged our way to the correct terminal.
Our flight was delayed by a couple hours due to weather, which was fine by me because then the skies were dry before liftoff. I dozed a little on the plane, but not for long enough. Moments after checking into our AirBnB we saw the news on social media: parts of New Orleans were under water. Some people couldn’t even leave the city, and we’d just barely made it out ourselves.
But lucky for us, our trip wasn’t ruined. We’d made it to Boston, where the humidity was low and it felt a lot like autumn. We were within walking distance of a few local places including the Samuel Adam’s brewery, and after dinner there were a few beers on tap calling our names.
We were some of the lucky few—and escaping a flood is just one of the many reasons.