Tuesday, June 15, 2010
An old reputation
From the WPA New Orleans City Guide published in 1938. This book opens with the following stanzas reportedly written a hundred years before, presumably in the 1830s:
Have you ever been to New Orleans? If not you'd better go.
It's a nation of a queer place; day and night a show!
Frenchmen, Spaniards, West Indians, Creoles, Mustees,
Yankees, Kentuckians, Tennesseans, lawyers and trustees,
Negroes in purple and fine linen, and slaves in rags and chains,
Ships, arks, steamboats, robbers, pirates, alligators,
Assassins, gamblers, drunkards, and cotton speculators,
Sailors, soldiers, pretty girls, and ugly fortune tellers;
Pimps, imps, shrimps, and all sorts of dirty fellows....
It goes on but you get the idea. Plus ca change plus c'est la meme chose. The more things change the more they stay the same. New Orleans has had a reputation for a while. I would change a few words here and there but the essence is the same as you'll find in any guidebook.
I don't know how much I disagree except to say that the above only paints a part of the picture this vast city encapsulates. A tiny part. I am glad to be a tiny part of this milieu.
That's a picture of New Orleans' official flag at the top, by the way. I'll explain the symbolism another day. For the moment, let's just say that it's the flag of my disposition.