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Useful Notes / New Orleans

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A Crescent City montage, courtesy of Wikipedia. From top left: A typical New Orleans mansion off St. Charles Avenue, a streetcar passing by Loyola University and Tulane University, the skyline of the Central Business District, Jackson Square, and a view of Royal Street in the French Quarter.

"New Orleans resembles Genoa or Marseilles, or Beirut or the Egyptian Alexandria, more than it does New York.... Like Havana and Port-au-Prince, New Orleans is within the orbit of a Hellenistic world that never touched the North Atlantic. The Mediterranean, Caribbean, and Gulf of Mexico form a homogenous, though interrupted, sea."
A. J. Liebling, The Earl of Louisiana (quoted in A Confederacy of Dunces)

Ah, the Big Easy, famous for Mardi Gras, voodoo, and Jazz. Commonly associated with the Cajun culture, despite being a few hours away from any of it. Also, hurricanes—both meteorological and mixological. The French have a consulate there. Another claim to fame is the food; you can find almost any kind of seafood (except lobster) here. The squeamish can rest easy about how well-cooked their food is.

  • Some streets are narrow, because they were originally built for horse and carriage. Do not complain, they indicate that a natural disaster has never annihilated the surrounding area and created room for a wider road.
  • Tourists think they're cute by pronouncing the name of the city "N'awlins". To not incur the wrath of a local, just go with "Nu-OH'rlins"note . Once you've lived here a couple years, your speech will naturally slur it down, but don't force it.
  • If you ask for directions in New Orleans, don't expect to hear "North", "South", "East", or "West". Due to the Mississippi River which curves through the middle of the city, you'll likely hear something like "Go up on Saint Charles Avenue" if you wish to leave the French Quarter and go Uptown, for example, even though to outsider's eyes, Saint Charles Avenue "appears" to go south and wind back up to going north. Although it sounds complicated, it's really not that hard to figure out when you look at a map. If you wish to study the geography a bit further, a good guide can be found here.
    • Another thing to remember: "Eastbank" and "Westbank" are in reference to the location of the river. This is probably what would trip up visitors the most, since there are fragments of the East Bank that are geographically west of the West Bank, and vice-versa.

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