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Your Own Personal New Orleans Tour Remains Bestseller on Amazon! – Video

Well, I never thought it’d happen to lil’ ole me but my new book, Your Own Personal New Orleans Tour, has been on Amazon for almost a year now and it’s still a bestseller, in the top 5 in its category!

Your Own Personal New Orleans Tour Remains Bestseller on Amazon!

So here’s an interview I did with monster Internet maven Dion GeBorde about alla dat.

 

Click the Buy Now button below to get your copy of my bestselling travel guide

Your Own Personal New Orleans Tour

It used to be $0.99. Now you can get it for only $3.47.
But hurry, I may be raising the price in the near future. So now is the time to get it.

orange_buynow copy

Don’t have a Kindle? No problem. You can get a free Kindle reader for your computer.
Download the Kindle app. for your Mac HERE.
Download the Kindle app. for your PC HERE.

Leave a COMMENT. Tell us what you think.

Posted in New Orleans Books, New Orleans Culture, New Orleans Videos.

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Queen of Twerking Big Freedia Sets Guinness Record in New Orleans Central City Fest – Video

So you know Miley Cyrus ain’t got nothing on Big Freedia, the inventor and queen of the twerk. She recently went all the way from New Orleans to New York city to set a Guinness world record for the number of folks twerking at one time. OK, so they got about 300 or so. I big giant city like New York with millions of people and they could only manage a little over 300? Oo wee…what’s up wit dat?

Queen of Twerking Big Freedia Sets Guinness Record in New Orleans Central City Fest – Video

Well, New Orleans has got only a coupla hundred thousand people and we managed to dig up 400 folks willing to twerk for 2 minutes to set a new Guinness Twerking World Record. Really. They had a guy from Guinness supervising the whole thing being very vigilant, disqualifying people if they stopped mid-twerk.

This video was shot last weekend at the new New Orleans Central City Fest, a celebration that only started only a coupla years ago. And of course, we like our festivals and this has become the new big thing. In new Orleans if you build a festival… they will come.

So here we got out own inimitable Big Freedia doing only what she knows how to do best. Keep an eye on dat thing. It’ll burn your eyes out.

Posted in New Orleans Culture, New Orleans Festivals, New Orleans Life, New Orleans Videos.

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Crazy Funky Dancing in New Orleans – Funny Video Compilation

OK, well you know New Orleans is famous for our food and music and weird funky customs and our history and all of that. But did you know we are also famous for dancing? Yep. No kidding. And here we got a compilation of some of the city’s best… and not so great dancers.

Crazy Funky Dancing in New Orleans – Funny Video Compilation

Here ya go, our dancers going to it wild and free. Ain’t nobody holding them back, moved by the music, moved by the moment, moved by living itself, moved by the spirits that move in the river, the land, the soil, the wind, they just lettin’ it rip. Poetry in motion. Wild and free.

Posted in New Orleans Life, New Orleans Music, New Orleans Videos.

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New Orleans Police Horse Takes No Guff From Bourbon Street Revelers – Funny Video

I’ve never heard of police horse brutality but this funny video shows that even our Bourbon Street horses in New Orleans know how to put revelers in their place.

New Orleans Police Horse Takes No Guff From Bourbon Street Revelers – Video

The horse pushes people with its nose and actually pushes some of the ladies off balance as they pass by. Kinda makes you wonder if he is doing it to protect himself… or could it be possible that he’s just having some fun? I don’t know, but it looks like he’s getting a kick out of it.

Anyway, I’ve been around horses a lot and have never seen one of them do these so randomly and consistently. And he still allows folks to pet him without any complaint.

Posted in New Orleans Life, New Orleans Neighborhoods, New Orleans Videos.

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Real Raw Dixieland on Royal Street in New Orleans French Quarter – Watch This Kid Dance

OK, here ya go, some real, raw New Orleans Dixieland right there on the street in the Quarter. Excellent musicians right there for free on Royal Street

Real Raw Dixieland on Royal Street in New Orleans French Quarter

Some folks might say this is hot jazz, but really what’s the difference? Armstrong sometimes played what some folks would call hot jazz. This sounds like pure dixieland to me. I mean, really, isn’t that where ALL jazz comes from?

Get a load of the kid dancing half way through the video, movin’ and groovin’. And when that guy starts playing the clarinet real low like it reminds me of those real early Disney cartoons in the 1930s with all those animal characters bouncing.

I got goose bumps watching this, I mean these guys are that good. And it’s the groove they create, that whole otherness that happens sometimes with great musicians coming together to do great art.

And I was thinking, here we got a recording probably done with a cell phone. It’s amazing the quality of the sound. No studio with multiple microphones, just a tiny little hole in a cell phone. The whole band playing together like they used to record in the old days. That’s what made the music so hot and immediate. I don’t think you can really create that in a studio.

Posted in New Orleans Art, New Orleans Culture, New Orleans Life, New Orleans Music, New Orleans Neighborhoods, New Orleans Videos.

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New Orleans Favorite Food Writer and Chef Celebrates 30 Years Writing Cooking Creole for the Times Picayune

Marcelle Bienvenu is from St. Martinville, Louisiana. It is considered the heart of the Cajun Country. It’s also the heart of Cajun Cooking, and the true heart of Cajun Cooking is Marcelle. For 30 years she written about Louisiana foodways and provided us with recipes steeped in the traditions of our ancestors while recognizing modern tastes and conveniences.

New Orleans Favorite Food Writer and Chef Celebrates 30 Years Writing Cooking Creole Column for the Times Picayune

Marcelle Bienvenu food writer for the Times Picayune in New Orleans here does  cooking demonstration in Covington.

Marcelle Bienvenu food writer for the Times Picayune in New Orleans for 30 years here does cooking demonstration in Covington.

My father’s family is from St. Martinville and when I was a kid we would go there often to see his mom (my grandmother) and visit with the rest of the family. I loved those times, because as far was we were concerned going to St. Martinville was a good vacation and it was one that was to us out in the country. Marcelle is a cousin of ours and in St. Martinville the Bienvenu name is as common as Smith.

I first heard about Marcelle when I was living out in Washington State and got the book Who’s Your Mama, Are You Catholic and Can You Make A Roux? Filled with great recipes and personal family stories it was a combination cookbook and memoir. What was neat for me was that she talked about cousins in her stories that Iactually knew.

She got the job writing for the TP after her restaurant closed in Lafayette because of the oil bust in 1984. Ella Brennan of the famous local restaurant family, you know, the one that runs Commander’s Palace among others, said that she should pitch the TP with the idea of becoming their food writer. She was hired immediately and moved to New Orleans.

In her article from the Times Picayune she states:

Allow me to reminisce. The Louisiana World Exposition was being held in New Orleans in 1984. I had young hair back then. Not a single gray strand could be found in my straight black tresses. I was living in St. Martinville in a small rental house near my parents and I so wanted to return to the Crescent City.

In a couple of weeks, I found an apartment on Coliseum Street and got a second job at what is now Riley Foods company on Magazine Street to supplement my income. My father was still alive and was excited that I was returning to the world of newspaper journalism. (My grandfather established the first weekly newspaper, the Weekly Messenger, now the Teche News, in St. Martinville in 1886. My father, then my brother, both served as editors.)

I’ve enjoyed reading her column over the years and sometimes try my hand at her recipes. Cajun and Creole food is rarely ever complicated and the flavors, well, people flock here from around the world to partake of our wonderful food.

So congrats to you, Marcelle, for providing us with your talent as a writer and cook, and sharing with us your stories and glimpses into your family. May you continue to be a popular fixture Thursday mornings for us New Orleanians who like to read your columns over a nice cup of coffee and chicory.

Posted in New Orleans Culture, New Orleans Food, New Orleans Life.

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Open Up Ya Jaws For The Five Oldest Bars in New Orleans

New Orleans has lots of bars. I mean we got slews of bars, tons of bars. Some would say we got a plethora of bars.

OK, all that is owing to what? Well, we like to party, we like to celebrate, we like to take it easy, we like to be with friends. We are into it. I mean who needs a bar when you got a front porch? Well, some bars have front porches – so there ya go.

The Five Oldest Bars in New Orleans

They got your bars in the French Quarter, we all know that. Lafitte’s Blacksmith shop is touted to be the oldest bar in the city. It’s in a building that supposedly has been around since the 1700s. Maybe one of the original buildings in the Quarter and one that escaped the two fires that destroyed most of the city in the later period of that century.

But there is one bar they talk about in this video that I, alas, have NEVER heard of. And it’s uptown where I live and that would be Henry’s Bar. And down the street from that is where Lee Oswald used to live. How about that?

We got da bars, babe. Big ones, little ones, quirky ones, elegant ones. Some fa you and some only fa me. Den dey got some for both of us. So open up your jaws and take in da bars.

 

 

Posted in New Orleans Culture, New Orleans History, New Orleans Life, New Orleans Neighborhoods, New Orleans Videos.

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Enjoying the High Life at The High Hat Cafe in New Orleans

Every year for a while now I go with Larry, a buddy of mine to some restaurant around New Orleans to celebrate our birthdays. Although my birthday is in April and his is in May we sometimes don’t get around to our celebratory repast until months later. Seems to be a thing with scheduling this way and that.

Enjoying the High Life at The High Hat in New Orleans

For some good New Orleans style food, good prices, great neighborhood atmosphere, you can't beat the High Hat Cafe in uptown New Orleans.

For some good New Orleans style food, good prices, great neighborhood atmosphere, you can’t beat the High Hat Cafe in uptown New Orleans.

So recently we planned the date which was to be on a Saturday and I compiled a small list of places I’d suggest. We met at my place and I gave him the choices: We got your Maple Street Cafe, Riccobonos, and High Hat Cafe

So after a brief cogitation he chose the High Hat.

Now, I’d eaten there a couple times before and I liked the ambience, which is that of an old-fashioned diner, and had enjoyed the food. I also liked the fact that the owner was the first person I saw when I went in.

Yep, just like before this guy greeted us at the door with a big smile on his face, and there’s just something about his demeanor, his friendliness and such that just unmistakably says “owner.”

This Saturday afternoon the place was packed and he found us a nice table by the window. Against the wall above the bar on a blackboard were listed a slew of specials for the day.

Then tout de suite a nice waitress brought our menus and asked for our drink orders – two iced teas – and within a minute or two there they were all tall and ice cold in front of us.

We inquired a bit about the specials, she gave us a little while to decide and back she was taking our orders. The pork debris with the creamy grits looked good so, on her suggestion, I went for that. Larry got the fennel and oyster soup along with the shrimp remoulade salad wedge.

We toasted our birthdays with the iced tea and shortly thereafter came our orders. Not much time elapsed for us to get into any deep conversation when our food was placed in front of us.

Larry looked like he was in heaven after his first spoon of the soup and motioned to me to have a taste. It was indeed very good.

But I was more interested in my dish. I dug into my plate with the pork, the grits and the fried eggs on top. Very good, very tasty and I’m getting hungry right now just thinking about it. The grits were indeed white and creamy and the pork was juicy and flavorful.

And the eggs, well, you know I’m an eager egg eater, have some almost every day. But these eggs –really different.

Having lived on a farm for a while I know what real, fresh farm-raised eggs look like. And these were it. You can always tell because the yoke is not just yellow but deep yellow, almost orange and thick when you burst the membrane. And delicious as farm raised eggs always are. So I get that all of their ingredients are of this quality.

And here’s the thing about High Hat Cafe: The prices are great. I mean I paid 11 bucks for this dish.

Of course, because it was a celebration of our birthdays, we could not pass up something that would pass for cake. So we got the pumpkin pie made with a cheese pumpkin. I know, I never heard of cheese pumpkin either but it’s creamy and delicious.

And we got the apple pie with bourbon ice cream. OK. We were just going to have a bite or two of our desserts and take the rest home. But… the best laid plans of mice and men… we ate the whole dang thing.

So… here ya go… great food, nice unpretentious, uptown, diner atmosphere, great friendly service and great prices. How the heck can you beat that?

This is New Orleans food at its simplest and finest. Wow. My stomach is growling. Can we go there now?

Posted in New Orleans Food, New Orleans Life, New Orleans Neighborhoods, New Orleans Restaurants.

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Funny New Orleans – Is Bourbon Street Sinking?

Well, me, I’ve guess I’ve seen it all, you know. But ain’t never seen this here thing. But even though the French Quarter is on one of the highest points in New Orleans, if we don’t get a handle on restoring the coast line we all might be swimming again in the Gulf of Mexico. Yeah, you right.

Funny New Orleans – Is Bourbon Street Sinking?

Is this our destiny in New Orleans? A flooded Bourbon Street? May be if we don't get a handle on coastal erosion.

Is this our destiny in New Orleans? A flooded Bourbon Street? May be if we don’t get a handle on coastal erosion.

This photo from freakingnews.com is funny but heck, may eventually come true.

Nice touch with the snorkle, being able to suck in just enough air to squeeze out a few notes.

 

Posted in Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans Art, New Orleans Life, New Orleans Music.

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New Orleans: Just Where the Heck Do You Think You Live?

Here we go with one of most funny, telling, original posters about New Orleans I’ve seen in a long time. We who live here know why we are here and have mostly a completely different view of it than most of the rest of the world.

New Orleans: Just Where the Heck Do You Think You Live?

funny new orleans - where do we live

Just where the heck do you think we live in New Orleans. This poster is right on.

Funny thing about it is there is some truth to each one of these photos but of course a lot of it gets completely exaggerated by the media.

Yeah, our society is pretty crazy and most of it does revolve around Mardi Gras, and yeah we got da crime and some of it in a few neighborhoods as blatant as you see in the photo.

And we got that incredible beauty and class and culture and architecture and history embodied in Jackson Square and the St. Louis Cathedral that all of us New Orleanian love to celebrate and brag about.

And the swamps, well, most of the newer parts of the city does sit on drained swamps and once you get outside the city limits, well, swamps are everywhere.

And the open water? Well, did you know that for years after Hurricane Katrina a lot of people thought the city was still flooded. And well, you know, if we don’t get a handle on our coastal erosion, that may be what the city looks like in a couple hundred years – open water.

But where we actually live are in livable, lovable, old, walkable neighborhoods that’s now become the envy of the rest of the country. Yeah, we got actual sidewalks that people actually use.

Posted in New Orleans Culture, New Orleans Life.

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New Orleans, A Kidnapping, Reconstruction and a Good Whodunit

It’s interesting that in the last year there have been two books published about what were famous kidnapping incidents in Louisiana. In the early part of the twentieth century was the Bobby Dunbar case wherein a little child wanders off, disappears, and is suspected to be a victim of kidnapping and apparently turns up later in the possession of an itinerant tinker. The book entitled A Case for Soloman shows just how duplicitous the news media can be and how their supposedly honest reportage of the supposed facts can influence a court case.

A new book of a real whodunit that takes place in New Orleans during Reconstruction.

The Great New Orleans Kidnapping Case is a fascinating account of a real whodunit that takes place in New Orleans during Reconstruction.

This latest such book, The Great New Orleans Kidnapping Case by Michael A. Ross, points up what initially was the opportunity but finally the tragedy of Reconstruction and what it wrought for the blacks in the South and especially New Orleans.

After the Civil War Republicans sought to correct the injustices that had been done to these people for so long. During these attempts at reconstruction blacks could hold public office and barriers to black-white equality were slowly and painfully starting to come down.

During this time in New Orleans blacks were allowed on the police force and one of the main characters in this book, an intelligent, refined, light-skinned Afro-Creole detective name John Baptiste Jourdain, was instrumental in attempting to crack this case of a white Irish baby who was stolen in broad daylight by two well-dressed and apparently refined light-skinned Negroes. (Descendants of Jourdain now own Lil Dizzy’s Cafe on Esplanade Avenue.)

Back in the early days of New Orleans there were many free people of color who, prior to New Orleans becoming part of the United States, had businesses, careers and many of whom were well-respected artisans in the city. The white and black populace intermixed rather freely and out of that came liaisons that produce many mixed-race children.

Although it was still against the law for the races to intermarry it was an accepted practice for many married white men to have a black or mixed-race mistress. The French who settled Louisiana and New Orleans had a very different attitude about race than the English who settled America.

Even under the slave regime, Creoles of color took great pride in the Francophone identity they shared with White Creoles. [Both] read French language periodicals, and relished wine, food served with rich sauces, and French colonial architecture. White Creoles patronized black Creole butchers, grocers, tailors, carpenters, masons and mechanics…

The city’s francophone Masonic Lodges accepted members across racial lines. Both black and white Creoles felt culturally besieged by the tens of thousands of Americans after 1803, and subsequent waves of German and Irish immigrants. They disdained the rough Kentucky flatboatmen, noveau-riche South Carolina planters, impecunious Irish, and blunt northern merchants filling the city’s newest neighborhoods. [And] the relationship between white and black Creoles was usually one of good will and mutual respect.’

The big tragedy of our city is that when it became part of the United States a whole culture of free people of color or gens de couleur libre, who enjoyed more equality with the French inhabitants, was basically destroyed. The American whites, new to the city and who were bringing their own laws and customs, put all blacks and even those light-skinned, educated creoles of mixed race in the same category.

If you were black you were less than. If you were black you were the same as a slave whether you were free or not. And slaves and their descendants could only be servants and could not stand on any equal footing with whites no matter how refined and educated they may have be.

So during Reconstruction these refined, educated Afro-Creoles were able to enjoy more freedom and the possibility of advancement in business and politics. This is why Detective Jourdain was such an important figure in this story. And why when Reconstruction ended in failure it spelled a tragic time for those of African ancestry especially in New Orleans.

Blacks here enjoyed a lot more freedom than in the rest of the country, and all of that came crashing down when Reconstruction ended. There was a backlash of pro-Confederate, white supremacist southerners and it did not matter if you were light-skinned, educated and refined, you were black and as such not equal. These folks had their opportunities stripped away and it was not till 100 years later that things began to finally change.

A fascinating, real whodunit, the author’s done an extraordinary job of making it read almost like a detective novel, with sparse and straight-forward, engaging prose. It’s a real page-turner. Especially well done are the court scenes that use the actual dialogue from the case. You can almost feel the heat and the claustrophobic air of the courtroom. The story is populated with fascinating local characters who would easily fit right into the New Orleans of today.

And like A Case for Soloman it points at how the newspapers of the day sought to influence the outcome of a case with speculation and twisted facts. It seems not much has changed.

The kidnapping and the subsequent court case depicted in The Great New Orleans Kidnapping Case takes place in that window of opportunity for blacks during Reconstruction. It makes the book important for anyone who wants to understand what blacks in New Orleans faced, had attained and what they eventually lost. And also how New Orleans culture suffered because of it.

It’s also for anyone who enjoys a really juicy whodunit.

Posted in New Orleans Books, New Orleans Culture, New Orleans History, New Orleans Life.


UNO Film School Grad Lenses a Doc About Ninth Ward Trumpeter Lil’ Satchmo

New Orleans is never lacking in the realm of interesting characters. Now UNO graduate and filmmaker Cameron Wheeless is determined to bring one of them to light. Here’s the story about a determined young man who dreams of being a professional trumpeter.

UNO Film School Grad Lenses a Doc About Lil’ Satchmo – Looks for Kickstarter Funding


I was contacted by Cameron’s mom and here is what she has to say:

He has been working on a documentary about a young man from the Lower Ninth Ward named Eugene Grant aka Lil’ Satchmo who plays his trumpet on Frenchman Street literally every night. Eugene is a class act young gentleman but has many struggles and Challenges. My son is trying to help him with this film.

Cameron is trying to raise money through a kickstarter to enter the film in as many film festivals as the funds he raises will allow.

Please watch the trailer with this link and any help to spread the word about this story would be so greatly appreciated!

I think you will see get a glimpse of why Eugene touched my son’s heart!

You have to watch this preview to find out why Lil’ Satchmo is so special and worthy of a documentary made about him.

Cameron is looking for a sum of a measly $3000. The minimum pledge is $1.00. Perhaps you can kick in a few bucks to help out. The deadline is October 23.

Click here to be taken to the Kickstarter funding page.

Also, spread the word with your friends and family. Let’s get this funded.

Posted in New Orleans Art, New Orleans Culture, New Orleans Life, New Orleans News, New Orleans Videos.

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At Vikings Game New Orleans Saints Drew Brees Gets Slammed Then Gets Mad – Video

It seems that Drew Brees is the epitome of cool. Almost beyond human with self-control as I see it. So it was kind of refreshing to see him get really pissed off when he gets sacked and body slammed by Viking cornerback Captain Munnerlyn.

Saints defense and offense was acting pretty lame for most of the game. I mean c’mon, they had the lead and was getting pretty close to losing it. Then the Vikings did us a favor by their  unnecessary roughness and pissing off Brees. You don’t piss off our star quarterback. Seems like his response gave the team just the jolt they needed to finally wake up and cream the Vikings.

In this video Brees talks about being suplexed.

OK. This is the first time I’ve heard the word ‘suplexed.’ I guess it’s some kind of wrestling term or other. But thanks to being suplexed Brees and the team get fired up and they win the game 20-9. Oh yeah, babe. Dat’s howya do it.

Posted in New Orleans Life, New Orleans Saints, New Orleans Videos.

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Young New Orleans Jazz Musicians Tear It Up In The French Quarter – Video

Wow, I mean wow. These hep and cool New Orleans jazz cats are so fantastic that I got goose bumps several times watching this video. So much music out of just a few musicians.

Smoking Time Jazz Club Tearing It Up In The French Quarter – Video

It’s amazing how these youngsters are so down with the traditional New Orleans sound. It just goes to show that old time Dixieland is anything but ‘old time.’ It’s timeless. It’s got the beat, the move, the rhythm and it makes you want to dance.

What really makes this video a winner are the dancers cuttin’ a rug right there on Royal Street. Don’t know if they are part of the act or just a couple that came out to hear them. But it seems like they had plans to dance because the girl’s got some white shoes and the guy is wearing some white bucks. The dancing is just amazing and so full of joy and grace.

And you know this is not unusual in the French Quarter. You can go down there any day of the week and here some fabulous free music right there on the street. The music ole Satchmo used to play lives on in the current generation, and they play it with style, pizzaz and affection.

Can there be a better combination?

Posted in New Orleans Art, New Orleans Culture, New Orleans Life, New Orleans Music, New Orleans Videos.

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Did New Orleans Win World War Two? The National World War Two Museum Fills Us In – Video

New Orleans houses the National World War Two museum. This is one of the best museums I have ever been to. And that includes those in Europe as well. I guess it means a lot to an American and especially to a New Orleanian.

Did New Orleans Win World War Two? The National World War Two Museum Fills Us In

Andrew Higgins, who built the Higgins boats that were used as landing craft for the D-Day Invasion was, was named by General Dwight Eisenhower as being the guy who won the war. Those boats were built by thousands of New Orleans citizens in the same area where the current museum now stands.

This museum is so interesting and so extensive that it would take all day if not two to see the whole thing. I’ve been there a few times for three hours each time and that is not nearly enough to take it all in. I have yet to see the new buildings, exhibits and movies available at the museum and can’t wait to get down there to check it all out. This video gives you and idea of what’s in store for the visitor.

Heart-wrenching, fascinating and inspiring, it is all that a truly great museum should be.

 

Posted in New Orleans History, New Orleans Life, New Orleans Videos.

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Yeah, New Orleans is Hot but What About Las Vegas?

People talk about how humid and hot it is in New Orleans in the summertime, that somehow dry heat is much better. Well, here is my take on all that.

A few weeks ago I went to Las Vegas for a business event. It was the middle of July. During the day when we had a break from the seminar I would walk outside the hotel and even before stepping into the sunshine it was hot. I mean it felt like opening an oven door. In fact, it felt like I was walking around inside an oven. That’s how hot it was.

Yeah, New Orleans is Hot but What About Las Vegas?

las vegas new orleans hot

Shot outside the Venetian in Las Vegas. More brutal in the summer than New Orleans. Who says dry heat is better?

Now, OK, so I may be exaggerating a little but that’s what it felt like. And there did not seem to be any relief from it other than stepping back inside the air conditioned hotel.

Because the air is so dry in Vegas when the breeze blows it’s hot. It’s a hot, dry breeze, and it feels like there is no relief from it. And here’s another thing: I was standing outside in long sleeves and pants and I didn’t sweat at all. It all evaporated from my body before I could feel any moisture on the skin.

So it was in the 100s when I was there. I know at least 104 or so and the weather man was talking about how it was going to go to 108.

And all these folks who say well dry heat is better then humid heat have never walked around in Las Vegas in the summertime. I mean it’s brutal. That is the only phrase that kept coming to me, “It’s Brutal” I’d say to myself. I mean it feels as if the heat and the sun is just beating down on you. And the night was not any better. Even after the sun goes down it’s hot, I mean hot, oven like hot, brutal like hot.

Anyway, all that being said I like Las Vegas. Although I didn’t put even a nickel in a slot machine I like going into the hotels, like seeing all the stores. They have a lot of real upscale stores there now. It seems that the strip is a lot more classy than it used to be. And some of the newer hotels like the Ballagio and the Venetian are really very nice, beautiful even. All of the comforts on the inside of these building belies the reality of the brutal heat outdoors.

In New Orleans I like to go outdoors and do my exercise, ride my bike and do bodyweight stuff like pullups and pushups and squats. And yes, I sweat a bunch. But I would not even contemplate doing that in Las Vegas.

Here in New Orleans the weatherman says “well, it’s going to be 91-92 degrees tomorrow but it’s going to feel like 102.” Who came up with that? I know what 101 feels like in Las Vegas and it certainly doesn’t feel like no 91 degrees in New Orleans. Here when the breeze blows at least it’s a cooling breeze, at least it gives you some relief and standing in the shade makes it feel a whole lot cooler than in Vegas. Even in the shade there it’s still damn hot.

And here I have no compunction to go outside during the day and get some exercise. When I start to sweat it cools me off and the heat doesn’t really feel brutal. I can’t imagine doing in Vegas the kind of outdoor workout I do in New Orleans. I mean I wouldn’t even consider it. Well… I did consider it but my inner voice said, “Your insane.”

OK, it’s true that here in New Orleans you can walk outside and just start sweating without exerting any effort, and yes it makes your clothes sticky but at least the sweat is cooling you off. Not so in the desert.

But here’s the thing, if you don’t want to deal with the heat in New Orleans or Las Vegas then here or there in the summer is not the place for you. Even back in the day before there was electricity, folks with means would hightail it to the Mississippi Gulf Coast to get away from the stifling conditions in New Orleans so they could enjoy the cooling gulf breezes.

It’s hard for me to imagine what it was like living in New Orleans before the advent of electricity and fans even, let alone air conditioning. But thousands of people did it and thrived, New Orleans at one point being one of the wealthiest, if not the wealthiest city in the country.

Folks just dealt with the heat, wore cool cotton and linen clothes, closed their shutters to let in the air and keep out the sun, built their homes with 10 to 12 foot high ceilings, had big windows they could open to let the breeze blow through and basically did not move around much during the day. That’s one of the reasons the South has the reputation for people who take their time when doing things. People just don’t want to move around very much and get overheated. Kinda makes sense.

I can remember when I was a kid going to art classes that was in an second story studio at the teacher’s home near the park. No AC, windows wide open and a fan or two. Yeah, I can remember sweat on my forehead but the breeze that came through the windows was nice along with the summer scents. It was kinda nice and it’s a good memory.

So give me humid heat anytime over that brutal desert heat. I don’t mind the heat in New Orleans and I’m glad we have air conditioning. Las Vegas, a nice place to visit but don’t think I’d want to live there.

Posted in New Orleans Life.

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