Everyone has a sacred space. Or at least I like to think they do. Whether that’s the home they grew up in. Or their church. Or perhaps the place they met their spouse.
I had never thought about what that might be for me until this past Labor Day. And I never imagined in a million years that place would be a bar.
At the corner of Bourbon Street and St. Ann in New Orleans is a bar appropriately titled Bourbon Pub and Parade. Since 2001, any time we visited NOLA this was our home. No matter the event, if you wanted to find us, you need only look to the outside corner facing Bourbon, and we’d be there. Holding court with our favorite bartender. Occasionally tipping a go-go boy. And generally having a great time catching up on the past year’s events.
Never would I have thought of that corner of Bourbon Pub as our sacred place. Until now.
When we arrived for Southern Decadence this year, we were met with the news that our bartender had retired. The woman who we only saw once a year – yet could put our drinks in front of us without asking – was no more. And somewhere in that moment, the light went out.
Don’t get me wrong. We still had a wonderful time at Decadence. We saw old friends and made new ones. Tried out some new places – both food and drinks. And helped the group we attend with, the Decadent Ducks, and the fabulous Candy Samples raise almost $16,000 for Food for Friends.
However, as we walked through the Pub, you could feel the magic was gone. No one looked familiar. Our corner of the bar seemed dim. The space in some ways almost felt haunted.
New Orleans will always be our second home. Over the years we have developed a fondness for the city and the people, and the friends who visit every year.
Except returning next year will be a little bittersweet.
At least until we find out next sacred space.