Letter From New Orleans

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

I had some trouble finding a book to read for Mardi Gras. I wavered back and forth between reading a book that was specifically about Mardi Gras and one that was about New Orleans, so I reserved three different books from the library so I could decide later. I didn't get a chance to pick up the books until this morning - and it turned out to be a very good thing that I reserved three, because the two that I was originally considering turned out to be unsuitable, because they both had so many pictures in them that there really wasn't enough text in them to make me feel like I was really reading an entire book.

So I settled on reading Letters From New Orleans, and then looking through the other two so I could learn more about Mardi Gras. Here's the description of today's book: "When Rob Walker and his girlfriend relocated to New Orleans in 2000, Walker (a regular contributor to The New York Times Magazine) started filling his friends' email inboxes with tales of adventures from his new home. Those stories--capturing the simple, everyday, and often unbelievable moments that regularly transpired in the Crescent City--are the basis for the fascinating Letters from New Orleans."

Fun facts:

  • New Orleans was declared the 49th weirdest city in America. I did a google search to try to find the list, but I couldn't find it. I did find a list of the top 10 weirdest cities in the world, and New Orleans made the list http://www.theage.com.au/travel/worlds-top-10-weirdest-cities-20081218-71c7.html - So basically, there's a consensus that New Orleans is really weird, but a little bit of a dispute going on in regards to just how weird it is.
  • Louis Armstrong (love his music) was born in New Orleans (I'm ashamed of myself for not knowing that already). At the age of twelve he was sent to reform school after firing a gun into the air - he learned to play the cornet while in reform school (so you see kids, crime does pay).

I have never paid any attention to Mardi Gras before, and I knew absolutely nothing about it until today. So it was interesting to read about it from the perspective of someone who is relatively new to the Mardi Gras experience. Here's an excerpt; "The parades begin in earnest about ten days before Mardi Gras, and there are dozens of them in and around the city. We saw at least ten last year. Here is what happens: There are high school marching bands, and there are floats tugged by tractors. Each parade is put on by a krewe, which is what Carnival clubs are called. There is a theme for each parade, and the krewe members on the floats generally wear masks. What they do is they throw beads and other trinkets off the floats . . . " (Okay, so maybe I did know something about Mardi Gras - I knew about the bead part . . . but I only knew about that because I saw it on a commercial for a board game that came on while I was watching a reality TV show).

In honor of New Orleans being voted one of the weirdest cities in America - and the world - here's a random, weird passage from the book in which the author is attempting to explain why he moved to New Orleans from Manhattan: "In Manhattan, I found, one tends to think in terms of What's New. For example, I can remember when Balthazar was the new Bowery Bar, when Moomba was the new Spy Bar, and when Orchard Street became the new Ludlow Street and Thursday was the new Friday. Last year people said gray was the new black. For a minute or two, sincerity was supposed to be the new irony. I saw on a magazine cover that brown was the new blond. Certainly I remember Avenue B becoming the new Avenue A, and I think by now Avenue C is the new Avenue B. The idea is to have spotted the It idea five minutes before whoever you're talking to. Well: Maybe New Orleans is the new Avenue C!" - You're probably wondering by now what the point of me putting up that passage was. Well, I'll tell you why dear readers, it was to illustrate two of my pet peeves: 1. the expression "____ is the new ____" and 2. people who introduce new things to their family and friends with smugness rather than excitement. Those are not the most interesting pet peeves a person can have, but . . . there it is (which brings me to an auto-peeve - isn't that cute how I'm making up new expressions - I have in which I feel the need to end sentences with "there it is" or "that's just how it is" - I used to do that all the time in high school, and then I finally got rid of that annoying habit, and then it just popped up in my blog entry when I least expected it to).

In conclusion, I think that my brain is still being affected by the Ellen Degeneres book that I read last week - I've been doing a lot more rambling lately in my blog entries - Join me tomorrow dear readers, when I will attempt to make it all the way through the blog entry without rambling incoherently. It will be like watching a fun new game show where the contestant is going to attempt to do something really challenging.