Summer in the Bywater / by Rachel Eva Lim

The houses in the Bywater are powder brush pink, vivid green, magenta and turquoise blue. Walking past old men chewing tobacco and spitting at the afternoon sun, I am taken aback by the serenity gifted by the moist heat this far south. Jazz tumbles through the cracks in the city’s sidewalls, mingling with weeds and leftover spring sprouts that have clustered together at the edge of crosswalks. People told me it was a bad idea to move to New Orleans for the summer, but here I am. The heat is unforgiving, the humidity stifling. All I want are bright, tangy, cold foods that match the myriad colors of the buildings I have come to call dear. I find solace from the weather by indulging in sno-balls from the local stand (Piety Sno-Balls) at the corner of Piety and Chartres, a different flavor for each day of the week—black cherry, sour grape, mint green tea, hibiscus pomegranate and Vietnamese coffee with a generous dollop of condensed milk. Most days I take my dessert to the banks of the Mississippi River, lounging barefoot and chatting with the smiling locals as the colored syrup drips down my forearm. There’s something about the energy of this place that makes the days blend together seamlessly. And you, you become steeped in the steady hum. 

Published in The Spectrum Issue of Gather Journal