The city of New Orleans is draped in a silky wrap of romance.
When I was approaching the back story for the heroine of Life on the Porcelain Edge, Tessa Natalie Tarrington I knew she had a hidden hopeless romantic tucked inside of her everyday Pastor’s Kid persona. Her mother was a native of Louisiana and the allure of the hazy romance of the state began with the pedestal she’d set her mother upon since childhood. The second natural allure of Louisiana as a second home came with Tessa’s innate need to run from life. To hide behind her perfect image as the quiet only child of the town’s pastor and his near perfect wife. In Louisiana, first in college at LSU and later in the city of New Orleans, Tessa sought anonymity and NOLA was the perfect place to live life hidden in the shadow of normalcy.
I’ve been in long term love affair with New Orleans and the state of Louisiana since my aunt and uncle moved there when I was entering high school. The first time I went to visit and saw the intricate wrought iron fences protecting art in the form of houses, felt the hum of the city that seemed to seep from every crevice and crook, and tasted the rich punch of spiced food tamed by the luxuriously sweet delicacies I was hooked. I wanted to know everything about the origins of the creole culture and the precious mix of Spanish, French and Southern traditions. I watched countless movies set in the city, read books utilizing the city as a secondary character and added zydeco and Harry Connick, Jr. to my ever growing playlists.
I used to imagine becoming a student at Tulane and the creative draw of studying amidst the laid back culture. I wondered if every person walking the streets of New Orleans felt the thread of acceptance and passion that wove its way through the city. Did they too appreciate the wonderful soul of a city that had felt the downpour of tears over loss or the shared in the joys of newfound love linked in the hands of young marriage?
New Orleans has experienced myriad of outsider reflections through my lifetime. The paraded corruption. The utter destruction of natural disasters. The hope of human will. The resurrection of a city. The renewal of love, joy and “laissez les bons temps rouler” – Let the good times roll.
I wanted to share my love of New Orleans. Not as a political statement or a seedy backdrop. But as a character who helps love blossom in her sultry, romantic whispers.
New Orleans is the perfect backdrop for Ryland to experience a side of Tessa he never knew existed and yet comes to appreciate. For Tessa, New Orleans is the place where she was able to discover who she was – besides being a PK.
For me, New Orleans will always be a place calling to me. She is comfortable and inviting. She is filled with delights, allowing her visitors to ooze into the wonder of her surroundings. She is filled with a music all her own. And she woos the weary. Welcoming them home with a warm beignet and milk laced cup of chicory coffee. I hope you enjoy meeting my NOLA in Life on the Porcelain Edge.