Every city, town, state and country has its perks and its downfalls in relation to others. New Orleans is no different. Our downfalls include things like the climate in the summer, which can get uncomfortably hot and humid, our terribly crooked sidewalks, and just how real our 'hurricane season' can get. After living here for long enough, though, these are things you get used to. Just like here, there are some things that people from other places are forced to get used to, that we simply never have to deal with. Most of them aren't completely terrible or life-threatening, but they are annoyances that we simply don't come into contact with.
1. Having to Know of Some ‘Secret Spot’ to Buy Drinks Under Eight Bucks
Moving from New York City to New Orleans, I was shocked at the prices of drinks at bars. If you want to have a night out in the Big Apple, bar hopping will run you at least 30 dollars, but more like 40 or 50 or even more if you plan on actually having a real night out with more than three drinks. In the Big Easy, however, it’s pretty easy to find a bar that has mixed drinks for five bucks and beers for two or three. They might not have genius mixologists and rooftop pools, but the prices are worth it.
Let's face it: if you grew up somewhere where snow was a thing in the winter, it was fun as a kid, but it seemed to get less and less fun and more and more of a nuisance with each passing year. The sludgy walks to school or work and wet socks are essentially nonexistent here, at least due to snow (your socks won’t be immune to the rain).
3. Boredom in General
If you find yourself saying, “I’m bored,” here in the Crescent City, you’re doing something wrong. No matter what day of the week or time of day it might be, there will always be something going on, whether it be live music, parades, downtown street entertainers, or a bar that’s open 24/7 to drown your boredom at. And many of these things cost a grand total of zero dollars to experience.
4. Driving Everywhere
While our public transportation here might be lacking in efficiency, it does a fairly good job of getting you from point A to point B as long as you’re in the city. Additionally, walking from place to place is far easier and more pleasant than most cities and towns as long as you watch out for those potholes and cracks in the sidewalks.
5. A Lack of Interesting (Although Sometimes Gross) Wildlife
For an actual American city, New Orleans is extremely rampant with wildlife. Firstly, the vegetation diversity is vast. The tree roots are one of the major causes of our terrible, uneven, cracked sidewalks and streets, but it’s worth it when you’re not tripping over these cracks. Additionally, there are few other cities where you might see an alligator crawling up your block, or a gang of lizards waiting for you on your front porch when you step out in the morning. However, it’s all fun and games until a two-inch flying cockroach smacks you in the face.
6. Bars Closing at 2 a.m.
It’s true, not all bars stay open all night here, however, there are no laws telling them not to. In all other cities in America, there are these laws, making bars close as early as midnight, but generally more like 2 or 3 a.m. So if the bar you’re at closes and you’re not ready to give up on the night, chances are there’s another bar that’s still open within walking distance.
7. Adhering to Fashion Norms
People really don’t care what you wear here. They might be interested in what you’re wearing, but there is zero judgment. This hits close to home for me again, being from New York, where, unless you’re wearing the latest brand or trend, you’re deemed to be ignorant and not in the know. Here, men wear dresses on certain occasions, people walk through the streets wearing onesies, and hell, there’s even a naked bike ride if clothes aren’t really your thing at all. Just don’t get caught wearing a Falcon’s jersey. That might get you some unwanted attention.
8. Hiding Your Alcohol from Police on the Street
Coming from virtually anywhere but here, most drinkers have had the panicky feeling of, “oh crap, the cops. Better hide my beer can!” Here, you can literally raise your drink to a passing officer on the street and greet them. As long as you’re not drinking out of glass, plastic cups or metal beer cans are legal to drink alcohol from in public. You can even ask restaurants and bars for a to-go cup for your drink.
9. Having to Choose Between Just a Few Restaurants
In a lot of towns and even cities, in order to get good food, you must make a choice between a very small number of diners or restaurants. Pretty much wherever you might find yourself in New Orleans, there will be a number of completely delicious food locations to choose from, both fancy and otherwise. Finding a less-than-delectable spot would probably prove to be a harder task than finding one that you’ll truly enjoy.
10. Watering our Lawns
New Orleans, being an essentially tropical city with a fairly tropical climate, provides us with an all-natural method of keeping our lawns healthy: humidity and more importantly, rain. Obviously, there are downfalls to having a steady supply of rain year-round, but at least we don’t have to worry about droughts, and our lawns pretty much take care of themselves.
11. Asking for More Sauce on your Food or More Food on your Plate
Asking for more sauce might insult whoever made the dish in front of you. Chances are, whoever cooked it for you, if they’re from here, knows what they’re doing in the kitchen and that includes the spice rack and sauce cupboard. Additionally, portions of the food alone are pretty much guaranteed to be enough, if not too much. So take the advice you got as a little kid, and don’t ask for more until you’ve finished what’s on your plate.
12. Hour-Long Commutes (or Longer)
Whether you live in uptown New Orleans, or “far away” in the suburbs of Slidell, it shouldn’t take more than about a half an hour to get to the main parts of the city. Obviously, one should take an appropriate mode of transportation, i.e. not biking to Canal Street from Slidell, but as long as you follow that one basic rule, your commute to the city, pretty much regardless of where you live or where you’re staying shouldn’t be a nightmare.
13. Not Being Able to Have your Own Second Line Follow You Around for Any Reason
Seems like a strange one, but it’s true, you can do that here. It’s totally official; you go through the NOPD to get licensed, which only costs about $50, then there are a few steps to take, including planning the route and getting a police escort. But for whatever reason, whether it be a wedding or your pet goldfish’s birthday, you can actually have your own second line, police and all, follow you around downtown, and you can split the cost with friends.