My former next door neighbor Brandon moved to New Orleans a year-and-a-half ago. In leaving, he managed to leave both my neighborhood and my life noticeably impoverished. The man can cook like no one I've ever met and if that weren't enough, inside of him lurks a the best story teller I've ever known. The man can spin a yarn out of thin air while whipping up a batch of Hoppin' John so good it will bring tears to your eyes. In New Orleans he's found a home to say the least. If nothing else, New Orleans is a city where fine cookery and fine story telling are still held in high esteem and he fits right in.
In Brandon's mind and in his words, a mundane task like grocery shopping becomes an epic story of the triumph over hardship. A cab ride through Faubourg Tremé becomes a myth to rival those of the Ancient Greeks. Two days without air conditioning in the stifling heat of a Louisiana July becomes an opportunity to share a recipe for the wild bananas that grow in the Delta.
I've been begging him for years to please write down his stories and at long last he's started a blog. I get lost in his posts, really. Brandon's a gifted, natural writer of rare talent and New Orleans is a richer place with him there.
And now, thanks to his blog Where the Sweet Olive Grows, the world can be a richer place at the same time. Give him a read if you're looking for a chance to daydream about city that exists on the fringes of myth to begin with.