by Jennifer DePriest
Most of the time, we don’t think about it, but 318 isn’t just an area code for us, it symbolizes home. I left Alexandria in my 20s, lived around the world, and came back again. Germany, Kansas and Tennessee were all homes where the Army sent my family at one point. In fact, two of my kids were born in Germany and my youngest was born in Kansas. Each of those places will always be very dear to me, but there is just nothing quite like Louisiana; from the cuisine to the culture, the customs to the cochon de lait.
For me, it isn’t the size of the house that matters, but the amount of love that dwells inside. Home is family, friends, and a place where we feel loved. It is the place where we find comfort from the day-to-day ups and downs in life. My little home is my place to create and, in doing so, I am able to unwind from the worries of the world.
As the days begin to feel more and more like fall and the sun sets sooner, I find comfort in cooking for my family and friends. In the past month, my precious miracle grandbaby finally was able to also call 318 home. Lily Claire was born with a congenital diaphragmatic hernia on February 1st at Herman Memorial Children’s Hospital in Houston, Texas. After 7 ½ months, she was transferred to the trach unit at Children’s Hospital in New Orleans via a private jet. Her big brother tells everyone that she is a Princess, and we have to agree. Cooking for her parents and grandparents is what I can do to help and, at the same time, I get to enjoy the time that I get to spend with them. My daughter is a nurse and my son-in-law is a fireman. They chose careers in which they serve others, so they are not accustomed to the tables being turned. Our family, friends and community have all rallied behind them, as they travel down this very tiring and, sometimes, scary road, and the outpouring of love and support that have been shown for our family, from the 318 community has meant more than anyone could ever imagine.
In this month dedicated to celebrating all that we are thankful for, I would encourage you to look around and see who may need to feel a little warmth or a bit of home. Donate time at an organization that may be in need. Take time to visit with family, friends and neighbors. A warm meal and baked goods on a fall evening can do a lot to help others feel at home in our little corner of the world.