When people talk about New Orleans, they tend to talk about all of the things for which it’s famous: the hanging plants and wrought-iron balconies, the jazz and blues, the non-stop partying, and the incredible food. Although I enjoy all of these things about the city, it’s the small idiosyncrasies that make New Orleans such an incredible place. Santa-suited alligators in shop windows (even Easter alligators!), leasing signs advertising apartments that are “NOT HAUNTED,” the way every chef claims his crawfish étoufée is the best*, the graceful decay of the buildings, and the resident cats in almost every shop… it’s the quirky details that make me fall in love with this city each time I visit.
Of course there are the things I can’t stand about New Orleans too: the treacherous sidewalks that are impassable in any other shoes besides utility boots, the unremitting chain of tourist and gift shops along Decatur, and the pervasive stench of piss and vomit. (I still maintain that Bourbon Street is only good for people watching.) It’s a city that’s as picturesque as it is ugly. Nonetheless, there’s a charming sense of pride in New Orleans matched only in the US by New York City. People love visiting just to soak up the energy.
* My favorite crawfish étoufée is from the Boudin Shop, a small restaurant in Breaux Bridge, LA