(Article changed on April 5, 2014 at 17:08)
(Article changed on April 5, 2014 at 17:03)
(Article changed on April 5, 2014 at 14:52)
As a Yankee I fell in love with the City that Care Forgot (aka the Crescent City, the Big Easy and the Birthplace of Jazz) in my twenties and, like many a Yankee before me, moved there. (It was also called the Land of the Lotus Eaters because we forgot where we came from.) Like many a Yankee before me, I learned that a bald egg is a boiled egg oysters are ersters, oil is erl and the plural of yall is yall's (not your). Who knew?
With apologies to F. Scott Fitzgerald, New Orleanians are different from you and me if you and me are Yankees. Difference Number One is--they socialize! They sally forth. They mingle. In New Orleans, unlike in Chicago, when you talk to your neighbor on the street, on the streetcar or in the park-- they talk back! In Chicago your neighbor will first scrunch up his face, then move his seat or chair and then actually call security because you are obviously panhandling or mentally ill. Welcome to Chicago.
Contrast that with New Orleanians who actually say "hi Yall" when they get on the bus and the other New Orleanians actually hear them because they don't have ear buds stuck in their ears! Hello! This week on the St. Charles trolley and the Magazine, Franklin and Elysian Fields buses I saw one, maybe two iPhone addicts. This includes college kids, people on their way to work, tourists and all age and ethnic groups. It would be a little unseemly if not outright rude to ignore your neighbor in favor of--a phone.
And speaking of the St. Charles trolley, it serves as a metaphor for how New Orleanians are different from you and me. The seats are as old and comfortable as a church's pews--and made out of the same, unforgiving ancient wood. There is no air conditioning or heat. "Lighting" is courtesy of bald light bulbs which are screwed in. The trolley goes so slowly that bicyclists and joggers outrun it. Probably fast walkers, too.