I fell in love with Louisville in Mrs. Trudy’s 4th grade class at Blake Elementary when I was gifted a Derby City history lesson. We learned about Louis XVI, the fleur de lis on the city flag, Mayor Jer, The Belle of Louisville, Churchill Downs and all the things that make Louisville unique.

I was mesmerized by our booming river town and its French influence, especially when our attention turned to Muhammad Ali. As we traded tales about The Louisville Lip, I made a pact with my friend to dive into the Ohio River and retrieve his gold medal. Good thing that wasn’t necessary because I’m terrified of the monster lurking beneath that brown curiosity. Y’all know it ate the Falls Fountain, right? Ali and I were fruit of the same vine.

We walked Parkland’s streets on hot, humid days, and chilled at Chickasaw Park on Saturday afternoons. He even attended Central High School like everyone in my family. I was (and still am) delighted that the most famous person on earth shared something wonderful with me, home. 4th grade changed me because I knew in that moment, from one very basic lesson, Louisville was special and I never wanted to let her go.

My name is Mariel and I hope you’re ready to experience the 9 (some say 10) neighborhoods of the West End with me. From Parkland to Russell, Portland to California, the West End is filled with unique traditions, outstanding architecture, and an abundant history. I am proud to have called it home for 33 years.

I grew up in Algonquin, swimming at the pool during the summer and loading up on penny candy from Mr. Charlie’s Candy Store. I love Sunday drives down the beautiful parkway that connects Algonquin to Chickasaw and Shawnee. This part of town is often misrepresented and I am intent on showing you the truth beyond the veil.

Stick with me through this year and you’re sure to understand why we residents say the West End is the Best End.

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