Writing Portfolio, Travel Stories & Other Diversions

The Muddy Mississippi: My Journey to New Orleans


karenhathappyGrowing up in a spacious home amidst the woodsy hillsides of Marin County, I had no true understanding of this corner of our country. Sure, I was aware of heated politics and civil unrest that were occurring in ‘The South’ because our family watched the images marches and riots on Walter Cronkite’s evening broadcasts.

As the daughter of a staunch Republican attorney, I nevertheless developed a liberal outlook that embraced pacifism, feminism and equal rights; yet, social justice issues were somewhat hypothetical from my Bay Area baby hippie perspective. However, with my expansive worldview and better than average vocabulary, I was the darling of my high school philosophy and social studies teachers: erudite Jewish educators who loved to quote Eric Fromm and Rollo May. In 1972, these wonderful high school teachers at the new alternative school, Nexus, encouraged me to think big, to write poetry, to take hikes in Point Reyes, to attend a liberal arts college, and even to see the glorious cathedrals in France. But they never even suggested I visit New Orleans.


Forty-three years later, I buy a residence not far from the Mississippi: the home is in the southernmost part of Uptown New Orleans very near a wide curve of the River’s crescent – and so the nickname Crescent City. From our front porch, if you just wander across the Rouse’s Market parking lot, hop over a few railroad tracks, cross Clarence Henry Parkway, mosey through a cluster of container yards, you’ll find a bunch of behemoth cranes loading up the freighter ships that travel to the Gulf.


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  1. Just beautiful! NOLA misses you already!

  2. Bobbi

    Great piece… makes me yearn for another trip to NOLA with my local friend and guide.

  3. Karen D'Or

    Thanks for all these lovely comments. Miss Musingly is feeling quite appreciated today!

  4. Jefra Parlett

    just spent a week in Grand Canyon with four wonderful ladies from there. Will that lovely drawl crawl into your California voice?

  5. Jeri

    Such a lovely story Karen. I can almost feel the humidity and smell the crawfish right here in my bed. :-) It was fun following the journey with you.


  6. Cyndy

    What a wonderful turn of events at this time in your life for each of you.
    Julie Lanza just returned from a long weekend there and loved it.
    Stay young and stay adventurous.
    Xox ,

  7. Jody Delwiche

    Great read, Karen…what a story! Love every thing about NO!

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