I do love New Orleans. I may have initially, long ago, decided I like the city because alcohol is so much a part of the casual culture here. I wonder?
It is so interesting seeing New Orleans without alcohol- without planning meals in restaurants to be sure they are in a place that serves alcohol, without mapping out where the local wine/liquor stores are, without having whole chunks of my day defined by alcohol consumed.
I actually think I may like being sober. This surprises me, since I'd thought of a life without alcohol as a Life defined by a continuous feeling of Deprivation. And I'm not really feeling deprived, except in a minute or two, here and there, mostly when a Habit-Thought relating to obtaining or drinking alcohol kicks in, and then I realize, Oops, I'm not doing that right now.
It is still an alien feeling, though, this feeling fully present all the time, to myself, my companions, my surroundings. A wee bit I feel like I'm in a strange foreign country, and equally I feel like I'm home to a comfortable loving place that I'd forgotten I belonged to.
This is a sensually-rich city. The house we are renting is just off St. Charles, and I love hearing the streetcars go by! Audobon Park is just a few blocks away, and what a lovely place that is!! DH and I are both still liking the idea of retiring here eventually- and we're having fun driving around (it's rainy, making our usual walking-biking mode a little less attractive than usual) vetting different neighborhoods and imagining ourselves living in them.
We are now off to lunch in a French Quarter restaurant owned by the family of one of my patients- apparently a New Orleans institution that I've somehow missed before. I'm almost drooling in anticipation of more great food!!