The other LA -
I moved from Los Angeles to New Orleans in 2014, here's some stuff about that.
L.A. // NOLA
I'll start this conversation off with some advice: almost no one I know in New Orleans actually says "NOLA" out loud. I think it's the local equivalent of calling San Francisco "Frisco," which is to say, it just seems wrong to the ears of many people I asked about this. Obviously there are exceptions, but FYI, for many it's kind of an eye-roll IRL. In writing it's fine, just maybe think twice before you say it out loud.
As a post script I'll say that especially after the movie, something deep inside my native Los Angeleno heart rolls its eyes REAL hard when people refer to my original hometown as LALA Land. I guess when you're from a place you earn the right to be a curmudgeon about how the n00bs talk about your spot.
I've lived in New Orleans since I first came here to work on a TV show on October 13, 2014 - yes I remember the date. And then I met my husband, and then I stayed, but I digress - that's a story for another day. Anyway, point is, by New Orleans standards, I'm a n00b when it comes to New Orleans - unlike Los Angeles, were I am legit a native. My n00b-iness is something I freely admit to, because New Orleanians are passionate about their home town. I mean, hell, they should be - it's awesome here. I can speak authoritatively about L.A., but not LA. Not yet, anyway.
New Orleans is a world away from anywhere else - like pack your passport time - it's that different from anywhere else I've been. Ever. For real. So, I am not trying to claim it as my own just yet - it'll be a lot of years before I have earned that right. And real talk: I'll never be OG. This place has a lot of history, so understandably it doesn't play when it comes to who get's to say they are for real from here. Besides, it has very unique issues, and it's been having it's marketing & PR moment for a while now, so people here are rightfully cautious about outsiders making unwelcome changes. L.A. will always be my home, and a place I keep getting drawn back to by family and career, but I've got tons of love for New Orleans, see below for some stuff about that.
So, before you ask, here are some things I LOVE about New Orleans, and some pictures. And food (of course). The following are my top three favorite things about New Orleans. Why only three? So this page doesn't go on for an hour, that's why.
1. The People:
Unquestionably my favorite thing about New Orleans. This is a city that takes Southern Hospitality way past it's usual point of departure. People in New Orleans are generally more ready to invest in a conversation with you, possibly at length, than any other breed of human I have met. Southern hospitality here is more than "hello" and holding doors open. This is a place that has stopping to smell the roses and appreciating what life brings in the marrow of it's bones. Never before have I discovered a population of individuals more ready to engage before moving here. And my God, these people have a sense of occasion! There are hundreds of parades, festivals, parties, and very closely held traditions here, each one with a strongly suggested costume. // In my experience the average New Orleanian has a hat and wig collection in an abundance often seemingly bordering on madness. And a host of different kinds of glitter for all occasions. //
2. The Food:
This is such a big, fat, giant DUH. New Orleans is a world famous food destination. It is is a city that draws an enormous amount of food tourism, and you can eat brilliantly in New Orleans at every conceivable price point. There is a real abundance of owner operated restaurants here, which makes for every kind of quirk and charm in the restaurant business. The list of what is so great about the food is too long to elaborate here, but you can be sure that you will eat better here than most places. Average here is better than average anywhere else I've been. And of course, every season, holiday, party, and fete has it's related special food. Food is a universally loved topic, and people will talk to you for hours about food like the seasoned professional eaters they are. // Lots of businesses actually close 2 days a week and many places close for several weeks every summer, because people care a lot about having a life here (and who can work a stove in that humidity?). //
3. Its Unique Beauty:
Several books have been written on this subject, to be sure. The uniqueness of New Orleans is due, in large part, to it's singular American history. It is the oldest city in the United States, by far, has been owned by several distinct nations, and has a look and feel all it's own. I am not remotely a specialist on this subject, but it doesn't take a degree to look around and see what it staring you in the face. This city has a totally one-of-a-kind style. Some of that is historic, some the result of its climate, and some of it simply the result of the unique flair New Orleanians bring to everything they do. In no way does this stop at the buildings - people here really celebrate the uniqueness of the individual. This is a city of you do you, boo. This place is deeply weird. // New Orleans is famous for it's large Black population, and where large African-American populations live, utterly insane funky style and flair follow. And because this is New Orleans, well, EXTRA unique flair. BLESS. //