By Caroline Moore, graduate assistant
This semester I’ve been visiting the local bookstores around town. I bring them some fun freebies in the hopes that they’ll buy our books. I’ve been pretty successful in making sales and befriending bookstore employees and cats alike. I can’t believe I’ve called myself a writer who grew up in New Orleans and never known about gems like Blue Cypress, Community Book Center, Beckham’s, and Crescent City Books, just to name a few. I felt like a fraud, a phony. Well, I am no longer a fraud.
These days, being born and raised in New Orleans and still living here now has me feeling like a unicorn. I get “oohs and aahs” whenever making hometown-small talk like I’m a circus bear on a tricycle. Is it a triumph that I’ve never left my birthplace? Leaving your hometown is regarded as a milestone for success; many friends of mine have moved to Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York City, and part of me envies that big-city migration.
However, my last year-and-a-half of grad school has re-ingratiated me with loving New Orleans life, flaws and systemic corruption and all. From exploring different dive bars for the first time to my encounter with Blue Cypress’s bookstore cat, Kitty Meow, I feel like I’m in a new city. And I’m lucky that my job is fun. I brought an order of books to Beckham’s the other day and walked down Decatur afterward, grabbing a Molly’s frozen Irish coffee with one of my best friends from high school. Mixing the old and new has been good for the soul. Something about introducing friends I met a year ago to my friend of nearly ten years feels so warm and fuzzy, like the underbelly of a bookstore cat.