Images taken by Emily Bagwill at Morning Call Coffee Stand in City Park.
Nostalgia is truly setting in as I enter my last month home in New Orleans before heading back to NYC for school. So, naturally, I've become a fierce tourist in my city.
If you have lived in, or even visited, the Greater New Orleans area for literally any amount of time, you've experienced the photography magic that is City Park. While City Park is home to the world's largest collection of Live Oak trees and, apparently, the world's largest mosquito collection, the destination for this local tourist was the Morning Call Coffee Stand, a cash-only, 24/7 coffee and beignets shop. There is one other operating location in Metairie, which truthfully has a higher chance of my business because of its location. But, for the sake of some cute photos, I graced City Park's Casino Building, cash in hand.
There is a certain atmosphere that resonates with me whenever I experience something I have vague memories of. I'm personally battling with some strange phantom memory syndrome where I'll remember a few things about an event or a place, and then I'm pretty sure I just make up the rest. Toni Morrison was right all along.
But, I know for a fact that I lived in Chilly Gentilly up until second grade. And I'm 80% sure we spent nearly every Sunday in the French Quarter. (Excuse my feminine voice, I can't help my pre-oedipal maternal relationship.) These are the kinds of luxuries we so easily take advantage of as children. Bottom line is, these tourist-y type of NOLA attractions have always been a part of my routine. Now, my father taught me to never bet a man at his own game. It is so easy to be swindled in the city. And I trusted my ability to out-con the con-man... I am not as witty as I think.
Two frozen Café Au Laits and one order of beignets. In all honesty, these were ordered solely as props for the above photos, but you can "bet your bottom dollar" that every last bit was vainly consumed. The total should have been about $12. I don't think too much of restaurant transactions; there is a lot of untamed responsibility in a debit card these days. So, when a server presents the total, I just pay it.... Oops. "$23.58" I pulled out a 20 and a 5, and graciously said, "Keep the change!" The server excitedly fled, and only then did I realize that was an odd total. And he never came back around to my counter. Smart Man. Just like that I was Scammed by My City.
[Cut to literally any angsty, teen, coming-of-age movie about self discovery]
I think it is immensely important to release your inhibitions and rediscover some of those fundamental experiences that really shaped you. We can only experience life so much at six years old. One of the biggest things I've learned from leaving my hometown for school was how much I love being a NOLA girl. This city became my identity. However, I'll be the first to admit that there is still so much I need to experience. After some very sobering personal life bumps this summer, I'm not in the market to waste any more time. There are so many relationships and memories to create that are just out there in the world, waiting for me. It is so easy for us to become wrapped up in a person, or a place, or a career path; we forget to take a moment for ourselves. So, I encourage you all to do something amazing for yourself. Explore something in a way you never have before.
This is the year that I empower myself. One scam at a time.
Follow Maddie through New York City as she embarks on new adventures and makes new memories... all while pleasantly getting scammed.