Check it! @SfN Troisieme postPosted: September 28, 2012
Instead of eating it, considering checking it while in NOLA. Unless you’re dumb or filled with #PASSION, you’ve scheduled some time away from that relentless beast of a meeting to check out the city. Here are some suggestions!
The Lower Ninth Ward. Made famous by Katrina and then by Brad Pitt helping to build crazy ass houses. Last time I was there, most lots were still empty but everything had been cleaned up. There were maybe about 50 of these hyper-postmodern houses finished or under construction by the Make It Right NGO, and they are interesting to see. The other interesting/terrifying thing to note here is the levee. When you cross the Industrial Canal, note the water level, then head to the west side of the Lower Ninth and note where you are. It is freaky. Anyway, we have all been inundated with these images. But actually standing there and thinking about how our incompetence and failure as a nation allowed a huge community to be quite literally erased is an affecting experience.
Marigny/Bywater. Close to the French Quarter – just across Esplanade Ave. I haven’t spent much time here, but my understanding is it is where to find the hipster scene and good food/music that the young people will enjoy.
City Park. Accessible by the Canal St streetcar. City Park had become kind of a dump by the early 2000s. It was littered and decrepit, and the Spanish moss had died off many of the live oaks. One post-Katrina mystery is the massive resurgence of Spanish moss. Anyway, it looks like a huge investment has been made and the park is gorgeous. The museum is decent, with a nice sculpture garden.
The Garden District. Of course. Get off the streetcar somewhere before Napolean Street (stop to admire the tonnage of Mardi Gras beads in the trees) and wander down to Magazine Street for coffee, restaurants, antiques, etc. Where Constantinople St crosses Tchoupitoulas and runs into the railroad tracks is the fictional home of Ignatius Reilly, from John O’Toole’s Confederacy of Dunces (along with Walker Percy’s The Moviegoer, one of the great 20th century New Orleans novels). For fans, there is also a bronze statue of Ignatius recreating the opening scene of the book outside the former site of DH Holmes on Canal St… unfortunately a pretty seedy and shitty block now.
Cemeteries. If you go to the Garden District, the Lafayette Cemetery is a nice tiny one to check out. The Metairie Cemetery is home of one branch of my family’s crypt, at right, which I’ve been horrified to see opened twice. As you can see, plenty of room for more names, but hopefully that thing is permanently sealed now. I don’t think anyone left alive has any interest in being put in there. It’s gross. Anyway … maybe off the tourist trail but huge and beautiful.
Plantations are boring.
Swamp tours are ecological no-nos.
I’m am trying hard to think of anything else not food related.