New Year, New You
Remembering resolutions in the City that Care Forgot
The new year gives us a fresh start and thousands of commercials reminding us that we aren’t good enough. While on Dec. 31 we were gluttonous ne'er-do-wells, at the stroke of midnight we each became goal-oriented gurus who will achieve perfect waist lines, homes, careers and relationships in 2019.
It’s hard to become completely new people during our day-to-day lives. It can be an even bigger challenge when you live in New Orleans — there’s barely time to get centered before Carnival begins on Jan. 6, which rolls into French Quarter Fest, which rolls into Jazz Fest, which rolls into any given Thursday when we feel like sopping up crawfish étouffée with an entire loaf of French bread.
In honor of the never-ending human struggle for perfection (wonder why we are obsessed with artificial intelligence?), here are a few suggestions of how to approach your resolutions while living in New Orleans.
If you planned to start Whole 30, well… I’m sorry. Have fun eating a lot of lettuce. Paleo, primal and keto fans will find similar challenges. In New Orleans, we like to add butter to our butter. For those eating special diets and anyone resolved to lose weight, a really tasty option at restaurants is to order items with the Eat Fit logo. Eat Fit is a program where nutritionists work with chefs to create dishes that meet specific nutritional criteria. More than 130 restaurants in the Greater New Orleans area participate. And while I haven’t tasted it yet so I won’t pass judgement, this year they will have an Eat Fit King Cake available for purchase at various retailers. It is touted as being gluten free, grain free, low carb and keto-approved. I assume the king cake baby will be svelte.
An increasingly popular resolution is to give up alcohol for the month of January, and luckily, one benefit of the craft cocktail movement is the increase in menu options that are alcohol-free. Many of our award-winning bars and restaurants have created mocktails that are beautiful, tasty and feel like a real treat. If you don’t see anything on the menu, don’t hesitate to ask your bartender to create something for you.
Moving every day is just plain good for you and New Orleans is a wonderful city to walk in. There are many guided tours available ranging from vampires to architecture. It’s also a great city for running, with scenic paths on the Mississippi riverfront, in City Park and in Audubon Park. Sick of the same gym routine? You can always purchase a Class Pass and participate in classes that offer Pilates, barre, cycling, yoga and more.
If you don’t have visions of Ray Liotta’s eyeliner dancing through your head, please tell me how you have avoided his Chantix commercials. That being said, quitting smoking is one of the hardest things a person can do. I’m grateful my teenage forays with Marlboro Reds never became a habit, and my heart goes out to all those who even try to quit. (Mom, if you’re reading this, put out your cigarette). Thankfully, there are anti-smoking ordinances in Orleans Parish that prevent smoking inside bars and restaurants. While New Orleanians are still grasping tightly to our food and alcohol, we have relinquished the vice of smoking for the most part. That being said, everyone knows if you light up on Mardi Gras day, it doesn’t count.
This resolution is a personal one for me. In our over-busy over-scheduled lives, it is just plain hard to find a moment of stillness. If your goal in 2019 is to create a meditation practice, there are some wonderful options in New Orleans. I personally love to sit on a bench and be with nature. The Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden at New Orleans Museum of Modern Art in City Park is a quiet place with natural and manmade beauty. The Labyrinth at Audubon Park — located near the riding stables on the zoo side of the park and provides a calming experience where you can focus on the path and clear your mind of everything, even the confrontation you may have just had when the person practicing yoga on top of the labyrinth didn’t understand why you wanted them to move on to the grass. There are also many guided meditation options via smart phone apps and YouTube that can be done anywhere.
From “30 bags in 30 days” to the tiny home movement, there is a growing awareness of the negative aspects of our consumerism. As someone who connects memories to objects, I’m a sucker for souvenirs, but I also hate clutter. When traveling, my middle ground solution is always art. Buying art from a local creator helps any area’s cultural economy and provides you with an object that is much more meaningful than a t-shirt.