Tour Guide Shoes

Relationship: Im/migrant
Tour Guide Shoes
Tour Guide Shoes

Since 2004, I have done tours in the French Quarter. I meet numerous tourists and generally their first question is “Where are you from?” I guess my accent and body language don’t strike them as indigenous to New Orleans. I tell them that I came here from Chicago and the inevitable next question is “Why did you move?” Now to confess, I usually just say, “Because I was cold.” It is the quick, dirty answer that keeps the conversation moving along and it is at least a sliver of the truth. I don’t mention that my husband and I were motivated to come to New Orleans because our house in Chicago burned down in the middle of the night and we had to move somewhere. My brother was living in New Orleans at the time and much of our religious community had relocated there. At the time we had a baby and a toddler. Squeezing them into warm clothes to make the smallest venture outside had grown woefully tiring; we were looking for someplace old, but the idea of living in the American South did not appeal to me. The idea of living in a warm, ubiquitous area built up by developers did not appeal to me. That pretty much left New Orleans as our only option. New Orleans isn't the South, it's the Caribbean. That's not obvious to outsiders. I quickly go on to tell the tourists I meet, “I’ve been here longer than I’ve been anywhere. So I guess it suits me.” After close to twenty years, I’d say that is the truth. 

Place(s): New Orleans, French Quarter
Year: 1998

– Eugenia Rainey

Relationship:  Im/migrant Im/migrant