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New Orleans Potholes Part of Crescent City Culture

What do I think about the pot holes in New Orleans? Well, I lot of folks complain about the potholes and these are mostly people that move here or are visiting. They don’t understand the importance of potholes to our culture.

New Orleans Potholes Part of Crescent City Culture

new orleans potholes

Here’s one of the great New Orleans potholes. Fit for a king.

Yes, potholes in the street is just as much part of the culture of New Orleans than anything else. Yes, yes, I know this sounds ridiculous.

But consider this, and I get this from someone who has moved here, who teaches at Tulane and is also a writer. I will not mention his name out of respect for his privacy but I will tell you something that I overheard him say at a neighborhood party that makes a lot of sense.

What’s great about New Orleans is the neighborhoods and we actually have sidewalks. Yes, can you believe there are actually communities in the country that have no sidewalks. A thing more ridiculous than that I have not heard.

Anyway, New Orleans neighborhoods are walker-friendly. Yes, as in European countries, people actually do walk here. We sit on the porch each evening and watch folks go by and we yell our greetings to those we know and those we don’t.

Since most of the neighborhoods were born in the 19th century and the early part of the 20th century the streets are narrow. If cars are parked on either side of the street there is only enough room for one car to pass at a time and sometimes it’s so close that you have to slowly maneuver so as not to sideswipe or knock off a rear view mirror. So the narrowness of streets prevents folks from passing too fast.

Anyway, this professor at Tulane, in his response to someone complaining about the potholes, made an astute observation. The potholes, in addition to our streets being narrow, actually prevent people from speeding thus making the streets safer, and preventing the loud noise of roaring engines in the neighborhoods.

In fact, one could look at these potholes as a boon to the city. New Orleans in many ways is a model city when it comes to livability. It’s livable precisely because it’s designed for humans not for cars. Automobiles have to fit into the city instead of the other way around.

What a lot of folks don’t realize is that the city is built on alluvial soil, that is soil that was created by the flooding of the river laying down deposits of soil and sand as it’s made its way to the Gulf of Mexico.

In other words, the ground is not really that solid and moves and shifts. Also, the technology that’s used for our streets is outdated and doesn’t really fit the way our soil works. It’s my contention that the streets should be thicker and designed differently to allow for these shifts. But of course, that’s probably more expensive to do it that way.

Anyway, complaining about the streets does nothing to fix them and most folks just deal with it and drive more slowly. Why are people in such a hurry anyway?

Other folks complain about the potholes hurting their suspension and the like. Well, I’ve driven in this city for years and have never had a problem with blowing out any suspension on any car I’ve owned because of the potholes. I just drive carefully which one should be doing anyway whether the street has potholes or not.

OK. I’ll grant you that there are some streets that would fit into the ridiculousness category. I just avoid those streets if I’m in a hurry. So I don’t complain about potholes, I just accept them as part of living in New Orleans, part of out culture just like our ubiquitous cockroaches and sweltering heat in the summer.

Whaddaya think? Agree disagree? Leave a COMMENT!

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