. . . life is peaceful there." Or so the song goes.
I'm counting on that. After 14 years in New Orleans, I'm moving to southern California to take a job with the daily newspaper in San Diego.
My feelings about leaving south Louisiana, the only place I've ever lived, cover a pretty huge spectrum - excitement, sadness, hopefulness, guilt, ambition, sentimentality.
But not uncertainty. Many things have fallen in place to create this opportunity. I have no doubt I'm headed in the right direction at the right time.
I'll miss my family, football games in Tiger Stadium, the smell of coffee roasting outside my front door, Blue Plate mayonnaise, boiled crawfish. I won't miss the piles of garbage still filling the streets, the anxiety of another hurricane season, the hot, humid, miserable summers.
My family (and me taking the picture) enjoying boiled crawfish at DI's Restaurant in Basile, La., over the weekend - quite possibly my last taste of the Cajun delicacy for some time.
We Cajuns have spent centuries leaving our homes and carving out niches in new places. All the while, we've managed to carry in our hearts that special essence - that joie de vivre - that sets us apart from others.
South Louisiana will always be my home. I'll always be a Cajun. I'll be back . . . often.