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New Orleans Economy: Will The Big Easy Survive the Brexit Vote?

How will Brexit affect New Orleans economy? When the results came in revealing the Leave campaign had won it shocked the world with the media and rummy politicians touting it as being as destructive as one million atomic bombs. Here in the Crescent City there were panicked people running up and down Bourbon Street screaming, crying at the news, the shocking news of the exit of the UK from the EU. Some opted to tear their eyes out when they heard, others to rend their clothing in old-fashioned Biblical style.

New Orleans Economy: Will The Big Easy Survive the Brexit Vote?

Bourbon St. crowd in panic after the Brexit vote.

Bourbon St. crowd in panic after the Brexit vote.

Meetings were, and still are, being taken all over the city by politicians and city managers, with businessmen in searsucker suits drowning their sorrows in the latest iteration of New Orleans Rum. Yes, lives have been destroyed, billions if not trillions of dollaras have been lost, down the storm sewers out to Lake Pontchartrain and into the Gulf of Mexico to be eaten by the sharks and minnows.

I can’t stand it, I can’t stand it, the Brexit vote will destroy us all!!! What will Europe be without England in the EU? What will Britain be without the EU? Will New Orleans finally be washed out to sea?

These are the very important questions of the day yearning for an explicable answer and… yawn….

Really? So England decides that it wants to take back its freedom from faceless bureaucrats in Brussels who are not only stomping on the sovereingty of the English people by allowing the free flow of immigrants who, for the most part, refuse to assimilate into British society meanwhile taking advatage of all the free social safety nets Britain has to offer, but also puts restrictions on such things as how the Brits make their Stilton cheese, something they’ve have been doing really well for centuries, thank you.

I just can’t imagine why anyone in their right mind would want to get out from under such an overwhelming, soul-squashing type of government? Can you?

A Tale of Terrific Ham
A few years ago while on one of my visits to Spain I got a taste of what it was like living under the thumb of these EU bureaucrats. For one thing it was a common topic of conversation about how much Spain was suffering economically from the conversion from the peseta to the Euro.

At that time Spanish unemployment was around, I don’t know, 20%. And let me tell you there ain’t nothing worse than a Spaniard with nothing to do. Everyday life seemed to click along OK but everyone’s money seemed to have a lot less spending power than it used to. And, yeah, the EU was instructing businesses on how they should run their business.

We took a tour of the place where they process jamon iberico, a beautiful spot in the mountains close to the coast in southern Spain. This jamon is gotten from black-footed pigs who forage on open pieces of land. No warehouse-locked porcine these, like our “normal” pigs packed together in filthy surroundings. They get to live their lives out on open fields feasting on filberts and roots and such.

black footed pigs jamon iberico

Black footed pigs, that produce jamon iberico graze in an open Spanish field.

What they ate made for not only delicious ham but their fat was healthy, almost like olive oil. We were privileged enough to be given a tour at this Osbourne plant where they make this fantastic, and fantastically expensive, ham.

As they brought us into through front door into the oldest part of the facility – a big-spaced patio-like area open to the sky with a covered walkway on all four sides – our guide told us this was where they used to hang their ham, exposed to the unique air that came in over the mountains from the sea, which also provided cooler air at night.

Now, in Spain their jamon is not like ours. If you go into any bar you’ll see hanging from the rafters pigs’ legs, covered in mold with little cups underneath to catch the dripping fat. You see to make jamon serrano or iberico, they slaughter the pig, take the leg and cover it with a layer of salt. That’s it.  Then they hang it for, well, a long time.

The jamon develops a mold all around it that helps to cure, ferment and preserve it at the same time. When they serve it they slice it really thin and just eat it maybe with a little piece of bread or something. Very simple eating and very delicious and tastes nothing like our ham in the States. A completely different experience.

Our guide told us that before the EU started their central planning the hanging of the ham in the open mountain and sea air would help to cure the jamon, and give it its unique flavor. And they’d been doing this with no problems from generations.

But the EU decided that well, no, they were doing it all wrong and now they had to build a “sanitary” facility where they had to hang the ham inside with perfectly controlled temperature and that to just tour the place you needed to put on little white paper suits, and a paper hat and wear little paper booties on your shoes. They did have windows at the top of the walls they could open to get some outside air in, but that had to be controlled too.

So that gave us a taste of how bureucrats in Brussels were telling jamon makers in southern Spain how to incorporate “best practices” into their business. Basically Osbourne had no choice but to comply otherwise they couldn’t sell their jamon.

So Brexit was a vote against central-planning elites in Brussels – who think they know better how everyone should live their lives and run their businesses – in favor of liberty and national sovereignty. I for one was pulling for Leave and was ecstatic when liberty had won out. And, of course, the news media was up in arms, Oh my God! Panic in the streets! What do we do now!! The markets will crash! … and all this ridiculous political theatre. Please.

The UK will not only survive but thrive. For now the panic on Bourbon Street has been reduced to the usual din of drunks and strippers, seersucker-suited men (and some women) have returned to their tables at Galatoire’s and the world pretty much has returned to near normal, but with a more free Britain who can now return to making their Stilton cheese the way they used to. Vive la revolucion! I think our New Orleans economy will survive Brexit.

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