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Day 1295: Leaving New Orleans

Saying goodbye doesn’t mean anything. It’s the time we spent together that matters, not how we left it.
— Trey Parker and Matt Stone, South Park, Tweek vs. Craig

D and I have often talked about moving back to the Midwest to be closer to home and our families.  It’s happening.  We are leaving town in exactly two weeks for Small Town, Northern Ohio, pop. 24,000.

This is the small town of my grandma, uncles, aunts and cousins, while my parents and brother live 45 minutes away in Slightly Bigger City.  The family needs me, their daughter, right now – my grandmother grows fainter by the second, my mother is slated for major back surgery and my father should not have to deal with this by himself.  D’s dad, whom we’ve not been able to spend much time with since D’s mom passed away, and his family are only a few hours’ drive away in Wisconsin. And, as most of you know by now, Loki and Lex will be three hours away in Cincinnati.  How is this all possible?  A growing Ohio technology company offered me a really nice research & development position and D has been given the go-ahead to commute between Ohio and Florida, where his job moved recently, for a while.

It’s hard to fathom leaving New Orleans, its wonderful culture, color, cuisine and craziness, and all of you, my amazing friends and blogger buddies here.  Without you guys, the Exile would have been truly unbearable and, on our return, we made something good together.   New Orleans is my love.  I died a little when I told some of you and the wonderful Krewe du Vieux organization that we’re leaving.  During yesterday’s St. Patrick’s Day parade, we walked up and down Magazine St., ran into dozens of friends at various rocking parties and ate some of the best food America has to offer.  Where else can we own the streets like this?  Where else can all of this happen?  Later, listening to Izzy Stradlin’s Shuffle It All in our kitchen, D and I wept like little children.

But, at what cost do we own this city?  I’m not going to miss people being killed outside my house, friends dying or being assaulted across the city, gunshots every night, hurricane evacuations, our dysfunctional mess of a city and state government and the crap crappier crappiest recovery (not to mention my own deep-seated pathology, the gigantic fraking pterosaurs we call roaches).  That, and our resultant emotional deflation, we can get away from for a while and spend our energy on family.   New Orleans is my love, but I’ve broken up with people for less.

So, with Loki moving to Cincy and me to Near Cleveland, what is it about the I-71 corridor in Ohio that is so attractive, you ask?  Come on up and find out, if you are out that way.  You will always have a home at mine.  (No, seriously.  If you drive north for the next evac, stay with me.  Don’t be dumb, it’s free room and board.  And cocktails.)

There’s always Jazzfest and Rising Tide 4 – Bigger, Longer and Unshitr-ed, folks.  Meanwhile, D and I will ply our midwestern neighbors with jambalaya and sidecars, play them our finest music and let them know what New Orleans is really all about.

39 comments… add one
  • brimful March 15, 2009, 1:04 PM

    This can’t have been an easy decision (as all decisions seem to get more complicated as time goes by), but I am happy for you and wishing you all the best on this new chapter. I’ll miss your writing about New Orleans, but I have a suspicion you’ll still have a lot to say, wherever life may take you.

  • Amy March 15, 2009, 1:28 PM

    I lived a bit away from Cleveland for a while when I was younger in a town called Geneva on the Lake, right on Lake Erie. It is a really beautiful area up there – calm – Make sure you go to the Geneva Grape festival if you get a chance – homemade wine, etc :)

  • Clay March 15, 2009, 1:33 PM

    Sad to see you go, but I wish you the best. I’m sure we’ll cross paths again.

    Take care and good luck,

  • charlotte March 15, 2009, 2:02 PM

    Best of luck, Maitri & D. All of your reasons for leaving are sound & perfectly understandable. Please tell me you will keep up the blog so we all here can keep up with y’all’s new life in Ohio. I lived in rural Ohio for 5 years as a kid…started school there. (Bellaire) It was some of the happiest years of my life.

    Anyway, all my best to y’all.

  • Lisa March 15, 2009, 2:16 PM

    Wow…bittersweet eh? I wish you and D all the best on this new path in your life….and I too hope you keep your blog up.

    And hey, Ohio is right next to PA…maybe we’ll cross paths up here someday…

    best wishes!

  • Kelly March 15, 2009, 2:18 PM

    Best wishes with your move. Take care.

  • Kevin March 15, 2009, 2:50 PM

    The city’s loss is the Midwest’s gain.

    Be well, be safe and good luck with your new job. I hope your family’s travails turn out well.

    Hope to see you before you leave.

    xo, K.

  • Michael Homan March 15, 2009, 6:44 PM

    I wish you both the best of luck in this next chapter in your life. And you know, it would probably be healthy for you to quit keeping chronology with the levee break. On a personal note, you were a big role model for Kalypso, and thanks for that.
    Michael Homan

  • Dave March 15, 2009, 9:07 PM

    Best of everything to you and D, Maitri. I’ll miss your incisive insights about New Orleans.

  • GentillyGirl March 15, 2009, 9:48 PM

    I will keep the candle burning for you two.

    I’ll always be here in New Orleans.

  • Howie Luvzus March 16, 2009, 2:53 PM

    We’ll really miss you down here. Take care!

  • saintseester March 16, 2009, 3:24 PM

    While I think NOLA is loosing a good citizen, she can also gain by you continuing to spread the word in other sectors of the country. Good luck and best wishes to you and your family.

  • HammHawk March 16, 2009, 3:45 PM

    Sad to hear this. I have a few people in mind that I wouldn’t mind your taking with you; after all, you guys do have a responsibility to correct the disruption to the cool:uncool ratio that your move creates. Do take care.

  • shokufeh March 16, 2009, 5:06 PM

    Maitri, I’ve appreciated your blog and its reflections of and on this city, for which we share a love. I wish you and your husband the best, and am happy that you’ll share the good things of New Orleans with those elsewhere.

  • Karen March 16, 2009, 5:36 PM


  • swampwoman March 16, 2009, 5:57 PM

    Moving to be closer to your family is definitely a foundation of New Orleans culture, there is a great satisfaction and love being involved in their lives and within close proximity. You can always return, New Orleans will be here. Bonne Chance!

  • dsb nola March 16, 2009, 6:45 PM

    I know it’s not easy but it sounds like the best thing for y’all. We look forward to seeing y’all at Jazz Fest & RT meetups … and at going away party, maybe?

  • rickngentilly March 16, 2009, 11:01 PM

    good luck to all of you expats.

    at least yall will be spreading factual messages about new orleans instead of the bullshit spread by people who have never lived here.

    new orleans is a virus to paraphrase lori anderson and bill burroughs.

    good luck with your family matri.

    thank you for being a productive member of our city while you were here.

  • liprap March 17, 2009, 12:57 AM

    ((((((hugs)))))) to you and D and much Ganeshlichkeit going out to y’all from me. Been thinking of getting some fancy HinJew kippot with a message printed inside as a throw for next year’s KdV…will have to send you some when I get ’em!

    All the best to you. Our loss is absoLUTEly your family’s gain. Be well.

  • Maitri March 17, 2009, 9:12 AM

    Thanks, y’all. I love you so much. This is what makes NOLA so hard to leave.

    Liprap, who said we’re not in Krewe du Vieux any more? I’ve been ordered to walk with my krewe and help out each year. I’m treasurer mentor for life.

  • Nolacleophatra March 17, 2009, 1:03 PM

    Thanks for stopping by Saturday. It was good to see you even if was for a brief moment. Good luck with the move and family stuff. You’ll be missed!

  • Julie G March 17, 2009, 1:24 PM

    Your blog and your insights have meant a lot to me. Best of luck in this new chapter of your life. I know you will be back for many visits!

  • KamaAina March 17, 2009, 4:54 PM

    This is an ironic postscript indeed to the famous Lafcadio Hearn quote that “it is better to live here (New Orleans) in sackcloth and ashes than to own the whole state of Ohio”.

    Then again, out here, more and more as the cost of living soars through the roof while wages don’t, one hears “Aloha also means goodbye”.

  • Maitri March 17, 2009, 5:17 PM

    KamaAina: Funny that you mention that. I find it more ironic that Hearn took off for Japan immediately on writing those words. Maybe that’s what’s in store after Ohio – Turning Japanese.

  • j. brancasi March 17, 2009, 8:27 PM

    I’m sorry to see you go. I’ll miss your insights. Best of luck!

  • mominem March 17, 2009, 9:01 PM


    You and your perpetual motion multi cultural self will be sorely missed.

    Every time our city loses an ardent supporter, we grow a little more maudlin, but our infusion into the larger more homogenized culture becomes a little stronger there always seems to be a constant stream of converts. Maybe one day we can create the United States of New Orleans.

  • mominem March 17, 2009, 9:11 PM


    You and your perpetual motion multi cultural self will be sorely missed.

    Every time our city loses an ardent supporter, we grow a little more maudlin, but our infusion into the larger homogenized culture becomes a little stronger there always seems to be a steady stream of converts. Maybe one day we can create the United States of New Orleans.

  • Brad V March 17, 2009, 9:17 PM

    Best of luck – may the next chapter be rewarding as this one.

  • Adrastos March 18, 2009, 12:09 AM

    I have no idea of how to leave a trackback here so the url of my post about George and you be pasted into the website dealy.

  • Banzai Bill March 18, 2009, 2:20 AM

    Good luck with the move back closer to family. I’ve always felt that I would move back to New Orleans after the hurricane drove us to Tex-Ass, but here we are in our third and 1/2 year after the storm still here. I understand the move, but also understand that the draw of New Orleans, even with all its blemishes, will beckon you back “home.” Here’s to a great time with family, and here’s to all of us coming back home to New Orleans. Banzai

  • pistolette March 18, 2009, 6:23 AM

    Wow, I’m catching up late, with the juggling preggie/baby and all, but… Good luck with your new adventure! I’m glad to hear you’re leaving with a good heart and to spend more time with family, rather than because Nola broke you or something. Best wishes!

  • Sophmom March 18, 2009, 8:32 AM

    So…. does this mean you’re coming back for Jazzfest and RTIV??? Y’all can have my room at DB’s (I offer without even asking her because I KNOW IT’S OK). She’s got lots of soft surfaces. I’m so sad that you’re leaving, as I get to N. Ohio even less often than I get to NOLA, but I can take hope in the validity of maintaining digital closeness. It’s worked well for me so far. Finally, I just want to add (without having read all the comments – promise I will come back for that), that you’re doing the right thing. Not that leaving New Orleans is the right thing (or that I have any right to know what the right thing is for that matter), but you can’t go back and get what you’re going to Ohio for, if you miss it. Your times to be in family are fleeting. Go where you are needed. Your friends will keep the lights on for you.

  • Steve Picou March 18, 2009, 9:03 AM

    You and your family are fortunate that this mission is possible. All too soon such situations disappear with the passing of time and of our loved ones. The safety net/obligation trap is one and the same. It is bittersweet. Savor it and return if and when you can. We are blessed to have had you so long. I am confident that other wonderful souls will arrive here saying, “I heard so many incredible stories from Maitri…”

  • E.J. March 18, 2009, 11:50 AM

    I wanna cry. We’ve only hung out a few times, but I’ll miss you. I don’t remember how I stumbled upon it, but yours was the first local blog I read, and the first I read regularly — even before we met at the first RT. I’ve always admired you. Fine! There, I said it!! ;-)

  • Editor B March 18, 2009, 1:13 PM

    You will be missed, Maitri. Not that we spent a lot of time together in real life… In fact, come to think of it, I’ve spent more time on your blog, and from your following entry I know you’ll still be blogging. So in a way it will be like you’ve never left!

  • LisaPal March 18, 2009, 1:17 PM

    I’m kinda sad for all of us here where your absence will be felt, but happy for your new opportunities and that you’ll be close to family and doing what’s best and right for you. No matter where you go, I know your spirit will always be here with us (if not your body a few times a year), just as I know that a part of New Orleans will always be with you. Wishing you and D both the very, very best! Lisa P.

  • Mr. Gunn March 19, 2009, 1:26 AM

    Best wishes and I hope to run into you next time I’m back in NOLA.

  • Angela March 22, 2009, 10:11 AM

    Maitri, so sad to hear you are leaving. I was looking forward to much more time spent together. Now I will just have to find a way to get up to Ohio, apparently. Thank you for making Gustav the best evacuation ever. And please pass on my greetings to Bob. I promise, if you send me your new address, to keep you stocked in Sucre king cakes next year. Take care.

  • andrea March 22, 2009, 8:47 PM

    I just read RSS for the first time in a month… and you are moving !!! Wow, best of luck to you .. enjoy Ohio .. I was born there, it can’t be too bad :)

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