|Sophie Wright, New Orleans educator.|
Canal Street is clean. Magazine Street is Clean. Prytania Street is clean. Banks Street is clean. There isn't an inordinate amount of litter that I see. I think the impression of dirtiness comes from the state of disrepair that afflicts the city's architecture. I can't say that St. Claude Avenue is dirty. It just doesn't sparkle. I feel this way about St. Bernard Avenue and Washington Avenue and Freret Street, the whole St. Roch neighborhood, Treme, heck, even the Vieux Carre itself. It isn't litter, it's just disrepair. In an old, moist city the decay and peeling paint are inevitable. Some would say this is part of New Orleans's charm, others would say it indicates a lack of civic pride.
If New Orleans lacks anything, it isn't civic pride. This is a place that inspires fervent love in its inhabitants. It does in me and I'm new here. I'll take any street in New Orleans warts and all over the prim, manicured vistas of Commonwealth Avenue in Boston. Plop me on Jefferson Davis Parkway or any stretch of Broad Street or Chef Menteur Highway and I will find something to catch my eye and someone to talk to. An entirely different city, New Orleans has the vibe of New York (the dirtiest city on the list). Everyone is up to something. They may not be chasing a buck but New Orleanians are engaged with their lives and their surroundings, working to make a mark.