Sunday, October 31, 2010

Laissez les bon temps roulez.

Way back in my college days, my friend Francisco was legendary for his parties. He was (and still is) a witty conversationalist, a talented artist, a kind and giving person and much more. However, this was all of little concern. When Francisco’s name came up, none of his finer qualities were discussed; one’s thoughts immediately turned to the inspired debauchery that surely lay ahead.

There is a reason he came to mind last week. Thanks to the gods of good parties (and to be fair, my company’s scheduling dept.), I recently wound up in New Orleans on a Friday night. With me, were some colleagues who had never been to this fine city. I was excited for them and wanted to share my enthusiasm. I should have crowed about Nawlins' immediately recognizable architecture, the rich and varied history (they have as a local heroine a deceased voodoo priestess!!), the (very decidedly non-veggie) Cajun cuisine that people rave about and on and on. There were so many things that come to mind, but instead I prepared them by promising the big 3: blues, booze and beads. In other words, I Francisco’ed the city of New Orleans.

Yet somehow, I don’t feel too badly about it, probably because I know I am not alone in this way of thinking. Through hard-earned raucous celebrations, even in the face of heart-breaking adversity, the people of New Orleans have created a city synonymous with the joy of living. Think about it, it is one miserable, cranky, insufferable person who fails to be moved by the sounds of an 8 piece band playing “When the Saints Come Marching In”.

To immediately get you into the party spirit, New Orleans has the most liberal open container law I've encountered in all of the US. How liberal? As long as your drink is not in a glass container, you are free to stroll all over town with it. Not liberal enough? I bought a bottle of locally brewed Abita Purple Haze at a convenience store, stuck it in a paper bag, and that seemed to get me around any glass prohibitions nicely. So, even the stroll from the hotel to the French Quarter becomes part of the festivities.

Then, there is the wonderful concept of block after block of side by side bars, all  featuring live music and most not charging a cover of any kind.  Coming from Miami, a city with a perpetually anemic live music scene, this alone is a cause for merry making into the wee hours. And this is extremely possible with reasonable closing times (around 5am) that don't leave bar patrons standing despondently on the sidewalk at 2am (Yeah, I'm looking at you, California.)

For all of these reasons and many more, a visit to New Orleans is practically a guarantee of a good time.If you want culture, it is there in spades, but if you just want to party your ass off, that's ok, too. In other words, if Francisco’s home was known as the Boom House, I think it is safe to say that New Orleans is America’s Boom House.


  1. Good coverage! Indeed a great place to visit, and hang out.

  2. Ha! America's Boom House! You know, I think that it's okay to be remembered for a house o'fun. Where would we be as a people if we didn't enjoy libations? We'd be stuck in prohibition, that's where! And, well, we all know the ills that arose from that. I'm not saying debauchery on every corner... er, well, maybe I am saying that. But, if we must endure a church a la vuelta de la esquina, hell, what's wrong with a pub sprinkled in between?

  3. I'm all for pub sprinkling. I have that same huge ass beer picture, but of course my kids are in it. It is my parental duty after all.