When I told my parents that I wanted to go to school in New Orleans, their eyes widened, jaws clenched up, and I could see their minds trying to formulate ways to tell me that wasn’t a good idea. They knew touristy NOLA, the land of Hand Grenades, Bourbon St., and seedy late night bars. But my scholarship package was compelling enough to convince them to let me go and Fall of 2009 I found myself carrying bags and boxes to the 11th floor of Buddig on move- in day.

I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. I was a lost freshman, not sure what I was interested in, undecided on my major, and searching for some independence. The first few weeks were rough- I missed Tampa (my hometown). But I stuck it out. I tried a snowball, ate a poboy, and went running around Audubon Park. The weeks passed, and before I knew it, it was Thanksgiving. Being in Tampa was for the holiday was wonderful; no one makes mashed potatoes quite like my mom. The weekend came to close and I headed to the airport to make my return flight to NOLA. As I disembarked at MSY and walked towards the baggage claim, I remember thinking to myself how great it was to be home. The idea took hold of me and I kept returning to this idea of New Orleans as “home.” When did this city become so important to me?

The answer is: I don’t know. It reeled me in with its rich history and vibrant culture. It enthralled me with its delicious food unparalleled nightlife. It hooked with the great friends I’ve made at Loyola. I don’t know how it happened, but New Orleans is my home. When I leave, I miss it, and I count down the days until I go back.

New Orleans will take you in if you let her- have you found a home in NOLA?

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