This is a story with a happy ending.
I bought The Bakehouse in 2016 two years after I moved from Los Angeles to New Orleans. I spent a very memorable year living in the French Quarter where Tron became the unofficial mayor of Royal St. He’d lord over the block on his second story balcony where tourists would stop, point, and take his picture from the street. Honestly, it was the respect he deserves.
Living in the French Quarter was like living on Main Street in Disneyland. Everyone is on vacation. The vacation where they hope to lose themselves to the streets. Lordy do they lose themselves to Bourbon Street specifically. I remember walking down the street with a package of toilet paper from the grocery store, hearing someone say “people actually live here” as I passed. It was A TIME, God bless my heart.
Tron and I moved to a more reasonable neighborhood, the Irish Channel, where Tron became just a good ol’ neighborhood cat, spending the days fighting other cats under the house only to return home with dirty fur and an empty belly. He’s not much of a hunter. I saw him catch a bird, gently place it down on the patio rug, and watch it rouse and fly away. It was A TIME, God bless his heart.
To be honest, my second year in New Orleans is blurry in memory. I was busy going out, staying out, making friends. Turns out they were mostly the wrong friends. I was consumed in a relationship with a musician. Turns out it was the wrong relationship. Listen, I can make a wrong thing right for a while but not forever.
With hindsight I know that through my early years in New Orleans I was ready to make the next big moves in my life, but, whole-heartedly, I was scared to make them alone. I was just like, waiting for the right man to come along so I could start my life. And that life would be easy, right? GIRL WHY? I was stalling as though I hadn’t fully started my life on my own.
When I bought The Bakehouse, it was a distinct threat to my wrong relationship. I remember my boyfriend at the time saying “If you buy this house, our relationship won’t go anywhere.” Sir, don’t threaten me with a good time. Can you imagine that I stayed in that relationship for several more months? Shamefully, I did. But trying to grow and make myself small at the same time. I’ll tell you what – it didn’t work. It was a disservice to myself.
The first time I walked into The Bakehouse I thought of you. I ran my hand across the cool marble island and thought, I can invite people over to bake with me, and I think they’ll come. I signed on the dotted line a few weeks later, despite the threats to my fragile relationship. I’m proud of myself, still.
In a lot of ways The Bakehouse became OUR house. The three bedrooms, giant kitchen, and 13 foot dining room table were more than I needed for myself, yet it was all mine (and mostly the bank’s). It didn’t feel right not sharing The Bakehouse with you. Every recipe came from this kitchen to yours and that filled my heart. So many of you gathered around the kitchen island to learn how to make biscuits, and pie dough, and Drake on Cakes, and the way we made friends, and drank champagne and laughed. I just preheated the oven, but y’all made it The Bakehouse. These past seven years go down as the best years of my life, when I realized I didn’t have to wait any longer to make my own dreams come true. Every one of you that came to The Bakehouse helped me make my dreams come true. It’s incredible, really.
I’ve been slowly leaving The Bakehouse for a year now as true love has lured be over to Texas. I’ll tell you what I tell everyone in Texas – I wasn’t born here but I got here as soon as I could. Texas resonates with me here and now. Also, I’m head over heels for the most handsome Texan whom I don’t have to be small for so… it makes all the sense in the world. But I’m terrible at goodbyes so this particular goodbye has been a year in the making. Even still, I’m more of a “see you down the road” kind of lady.
The new owner of The Bakehouse dropped by this week to pick up a package she had delivered here before the house is hers. I figured she was excited to use her new address and I can’t fault her. It felt like an illicit meeting, the way she knocked on the door unannounced. I think realtors try to keep owners and buyers apart, lest they mess with a good thing – contractually, and all.
The way her eyes lit up when she came into The Bakehouse, moving boxes and all, gave me the chills. I could see all of the excitement and possibility I felt years ago first walking into the space. It was there all over her face. She could see her happy life there. Without know it, she gave me exactly the peace I needed to move on from the house I hold so dear. I’m so grateful to pass it on to her.
One of life’s important skills is to know when the party is over. For me, the party in New Orleans is over here. But WOW, what a bash! What a blast! You, YOU, helped me exceed my dreams. You helped me grow here.
There’s nothing, really, to be sad about. There’s great memories to hold dear. Don’t worry, I’ll just go build another Bakehouse, Texas style. That’s the happy ending.
Thank you for being here with me. Thank you for coming to New Orleans to bake around the marble island with me. Thank you for taking those virtual classes from your own kitchens for those weird years we were locked inside. We really dang did it, friends.
# Good Human Club