I love this exchange in the comments from Harry Shearer’s blog post “In the Rest of the Country, It Was Tuesday”:
It was just Tuesday for me, and that’s perfectly fine by me.
What would get me excited about New Orleans has nothing to do with Mardi Gras. What gets my pulse racing is the idea that the rest of the country is spending a king’s ransom to return the city to its previously, completely disastrous state, replete with sky high murder rates, banana republic style political corruption and totally broken educational system.
New Orleans’ horrible shortcomings were more charming when it was their problem – less so when it’s my problem.
I think I’ll spend next Fat Tuesday in Quebec City for Winter Carnival. It’s a bit more old fashioned, and heavy coats take the place of more daring costumes, but it’s lively and fun. What’s more, nobody gets shot like a dog in the streets and they pick up the trash on time, to boot.
HARRY RESPONDS: If you prefer a place where the culture comes courtesy of a law (“You speak French because you have to”), welcome to it.
The truth is that New Orleans is NOT right for everyone, such as this person. No one who lives here has ever said, “Everyone loves New Orleans and would love to live here!” Like a lot of people, I have a pat line for things like this. Mine is, “If stuff working like it’s supposed to is your top priority, then New Orleans isn’t for you.”
My friends are sick of the comparison, but I’ve said of our time in Nashville, “There’s not much to love and not much to hate. New Orleans has plenty of both.” I think that’s why it appeals to those of us who enjoy festivities for no apparent reason and dressing in costume 10 times a year. Yeah, it sucks when the police chief doesn’t do his job or the utility people are corrupt, but I’m sure that the winter festival described above is a real nice way to pass the time, too.