Monday, 28 June 2010

Tourist seeks the New Orleans he read about in the newspaper

Stepping out of the airconditioned foyer of a hotel, the first thing that hits you is an intense wall of humidity. Clothes stick to skin in seconds, and no amount of Frizz Ease is taming the flattened mess on your head which was freshly tousled a few minutes earlier. It's hurricane season in New Orleans, and this morning's rain did anything but cool the city down.

Today we took the street car in the opposite direction to usual. Instead of going down St Charles Avenue into the lively French Quarter, we headed uptown through the picturesque Garden District.

The little cafes and small wooden terraces are soon replaced by immaculate white mansions, with huge perfectly manicured lawns. I watch a dog stretching out on a veranda, next to a set of matching white rocking chairs. The untouched houses line either side of the road for miles. "Bloody hell. These places are huge" says the Boyfriend. I'm pleasantly surprised and a little awed by the wealth on show; the Garden District a really pretty part of town.

A man sitting three rows infront of me seems less impressed. As the street car stops to let people on and off, it pauses momentarily next to a patch of derelict looking land to our left. It's messy and unkept, looks as if it once had a house on it, and seems out of place compared to the surroundings. I watch as the man three rows in front picks up his compact camera, aims it out of the window, and snaps a photo of what is possibly the most unattractive ten square metres in the vicinity.

It baffles me.

I imagine the man, slightly disappointed by the lack of destruction on show, going home and showing the photo to friends and family. Perhaps he'll upload it on to Facebook and label it "New Orleans". It's alright mate, I think to myself. I'm sure if you want to see some authentic Hurricane Katrina devestation, a bit of research and some balls will take you there. But something tells me you're unlikely to see it from the comfort of the tourist serving street car.

12 comments:

roseski said...

Frizz Ease isn't what it's cracked up to be.

The Unbearable Banishment said...

Trying to find the negative and ignoring the beauty. Now, ain't that America?

Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

roseski - tell me about it. This stuff wasn't tested in southern states humidity. fact.

unbearable - unfortunately, that seems to be the case. This is a great city though. I'm really taken with it.

Zstep said...

I haven't been to New Orleans since Katrina but the wife has. The French Quarter and Garden District were largely untouched but most of the rest of the city is still a disaster area...

Anyway, welcome to the American South, home of humidity and instant sweat. You'll get more of the same if you venture to Houston or Miami, New Orleans really is a sticky place. I do know some women who swear by it though, saying the humidity does wonders for their skin. No thanks...

jman said...

ALthough it may be too late be careful of nasties like flying cockroaches big enough to have you calling them sir and mosquitoes who don't understand that clothing are meant to be protection against them. A great city, but not the best place to visit in the summer.

Ellie said...

LMAO

heybartender said...

I recommend Birmingham, AL. Get thee to Dreamland for BBQ. Also, check out the bizarre fountain in the middle of downtown. Inconceivable how they got that one built in the Bible Belt.
See also Athens, GA (I don't live there anymore but I do recommend it), Asheville, NC, Knoxville, TN, St Louis, MO, Chicago, IL. If you would like recommendations for food, do holler. Hotels, possibly. Doesn't hurt to ask.

Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

Zstep - Yeah, this area is pretty much unscathed. Part of me is curious to see the more affected areas, but then I don't think tourists doing that helps anything. We're heading to Miami for Independence Day weekend...ready for the heat!

jman - I've seen a couple of cockroaches but nothing compared to certain parts of Australia! No mozzies as yet either.It's rained a lot since we've been here, the heat's pretty sweaty but air con sorts me out pretty quick. We just do a lot of pit stops in bars!

Ellie - Something like that.. ;)

Heybartender - I think we'll be skipping Alabama (we're flying from NO to Orlando on Thursday), but the other suggestions I'm just looking at on my map and will definitely be considering them when we work out a route from Orlando. We're theme-parking for a few days before that though :)

Zstep said...

Miami definitely has its moments and South Beach and the surrounding areas are outstanding. One word of advice, no matter what you look like, be prepared to be the least attractive person there. Pretty, pretty, pretty peoples in South Beach.

Also, dunno how feasible but if you can catch a bus to Key West, the drive is outstanding and unique within the US. Key West is a somewhat wacky place as well.

謝郁卿 said...

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London-Lass said...

Heat and flying cockroaches reminds me of my time spent in Cyprus (in the height of summer in the middle of a heatwave). Although the heat in Cyprus was `dry' - think they call the heat in the deep South `wet' - and the Cyprian cockies were (probably) a lot smaller than their US cousins.

We're actually enduring the mad tourists and sweaty clinging clothing in Oxford Circus at the moment - although not quite the same as the big ole US of A.

kyknoord said...

Maybe he's a survivalist scouting for a place to establish a new compound?

 

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