Yep, that got some people’s attention. Before you start screaming, let me tell you what I’m talking about. (Important note: Hover on the pics, I’m asiding.)
I grew up in Chattanooga with the intention of leaving as soon as possible. I have never wanted to be here. I can tell you all the bad things. Crooked politicians, Market Street could collapse at any moment and leave us all in a pit of the old part of town, the schools don’t have enough money, my old high school doesn’t even have a choir…one of Chattanooga’s biggest problems can be summed up simply by saying “the Ridgecut”.
I always wanted to go to New Orleans. Badly. I didn’t get to go until 2007, but from the minute I set foot in the city, I loved it. The air breathes differently. It’s a hot in August that I’d never experienced before, and that’s saying something for a southern girl. The mix of people that you run into on a given day in New Orleans makes you feel like you’ve walked into some other place where country doesn’t matter, you’re all from nowhere. The food is amazing, and the most important thing…there is music everywhere. There is art everywhere. There is history everywhere.
I am, however, in Chattanooga. For better or worse. As previously mentioned, I find that Chattanooga and New Orleans are having similar crime issues. The circumstances, though, have forced me to acknowledge what I like about Chattanooga and what personality we have as a city. We have history.
I can find things in New Orleans, lots of things that I love. I accidentally wander into things there. I know things here, though. I know that the best cheeseburger is at the Doctor’s Building Coffee Shop (sorry, everybody else, I love Chaco). I know that I can get homemade relish and cream cheese on a hotdog at Good Dog. I know that I can fall over in Coolidge Park and read in the grass during the warmer months. I know which stores have stacks of records or books stuck in their corners.
I figured out that the most important thing about Chattanooga is that I know where to find my friends. They’re always right over there…or over there… or over here if I need them. Have I made a difficult decision to keep Chattanooga instead of trading it in for New Orleans? In a lot of ways, but I have something that I’d have trouble finding in New Orleans, people who love me and they aren’t replaceable.