The other night, I texted a friend of mine to see where to meet for drinks and thought I might convince her to meet me at my neighborhood bar. She told me she was going out in her neighborhood, and so I said that I wouldn’t try to get her to come to my neighborhood. Here’s the thing: we were less than a mile and a half away from each other. New Orleans is not a big city; there are few points inside the metro area that would take more than 30 minutes of travel time. And yet the crossing of arbitrary boundaries is somehow like climbing Everest.
Things that "ain't dere no more"
You could say that you truly become a New Orleanian the first time you say “It’s where so-and-so used to be.” That so-and-so could be anything. When I moved to New Orleans in the summer of 2006, people were still talking about the locally owned chain of K&B drug stores, which ended operations in 1997. This impulse is deeper than nostalgia, though. It’s an attempt to interact with history, to remember all the versions of this city that have been destroyed and rebuilt so many times over.
What other people say about us
A March 2014 story in the New York Times about the influx of artists to New Orleans gave us this beautiful quote from the actress Tara Elders: “New Orleans is not cosmopolitan. There’s no kale here.” Pardon the pun, but we chewed on that one for years. New Orleanians are generally a bit obsessed with depictions of New Orleans, and one of our top pastimes is poking fun at the nonsensical conclusions other people draw about our home -- whether it’s a delightfully and disastrously strange TV show (K-Ville's gumbo parties), off-the-wall movies (Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans), or head-scratchingly clueless travel articles.