Tourism vs. exploration

What can I say about New Orleans that hasn’t been said a million times over? So I won’t write about the obvious. I will share what I learned while exploring by foot, and also meeting up with two locals.

The thing about New Orleans is, it’s getting more attention than ever before. Following the devastation by Hurricane Katrina, it is going through a major evolution. One example is that the city gives tax breaks to filmmakers to make movies there. So as a result, the city gets an influx of people from the Los Angeles movie industry who relocate to work on films. Also people who visit New Orleans during the non-stormy time and see how beautiful it is make a snap decision to move there. And if a major storm hits, it scares the transplants away and abandon the city. I thought about this bit of information I learned and wondered, who will be left if there’s another storm that hits the city? Who will be the ones to endure and stick through it?

We walked around the Garden District, the French Quarter, the outskirts of the Quarter, Uptown… we couldn’t go anywhere without having to dodge a number of tourists on the sidewalk. Of course, I realize we were outsiders as well but I guess I mistakenly thought there wouldn’t be so many non-locals. As a Lindy Hop enthusiast, I was excited about seeing a show at Preservation Hall… only to be disappointed by a Disney-esque line there was no way I was going to get in.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy for New Orleans and that it’s getting the economic support it needs. I just might be a decade too late visiting it. I had a different set of expectations and was disappointed in some ways. Maybe because it was Jazz week, the place was overrun by tourists. Or because I’ve lived in tourist-heavy cities like San Francisco, New York, Santa Barbara and Seattle.

The original settlers of New Orleans, those who built a foundation for the city, their mark is permanent. Fortunately, they will never go anywhere, through stormy weather or sunshine.

Sunset at Greenwood Cemetery, New Orleans (personally, the best part of my trip.) 


Categories: Airstream Bambi Trips

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