Tennessee Williams went on record as saying, “There are three cities in America: New York, San Francisco, and New Orleans…everywhere else is Cleveland.” You can buy a tee shirt in the French Quarter that says it, that’s how I know. We all know New Orleans rocks. No disrespect to the fine city of Cleveland, Ohio. Cleveland rocks, too, in its own way…
Cleveland is not New Orleans. I think we can all agree on that. No matter what charms Cleveland may possess, or whatever charms your hometown may possess, be it Wewoka, Oklahoma or Hinton, West Virginia, New Orleans is in a class by itself. That includes New York and San Francisco. There is no place else on the globe like New Orleans. I live here. I know.
I’m not here to mock Cleveland, which was once the country’s fifth largest city with 900,000 people. It now has about 400,000, making it the 48th largest city. That’s a big hit. There’s nothing funny about that. New Orleans’s highest population was about 600,000. Right now it sits at around 380,000. We’re still missing about a fifth of our pre-Katrina population, which was lower than 600,000 when the federal levees failed. New Orleans is currently the 50th largest city in the U.S.
I’ve lived in a few other places on God’s green earth. So has Frau Schmitt, who is the better half of this operation. We both agree there is no place like New Orleans. Frau Schmitt is usually right about these things.
How much more fecund is New Orleans?
New Orleans is both virile and maternal. It has swagger and it has a welcoming hug that will smother you with love. New Orleans is like nowhere else. New Orleans music is jazz. Jazz was born here. It couldn’t have been born anywhere else. As anyone who has spent any time on Bourbon Street knows, New Orleans rocks
New Orleans rolls, as steadily as the Mississippi tides. New Orleans is like nowhere else. There isn’t a Jazz Hall of Fame in New Orleans. The streets provide their own testament. Walk into any New Orleans nightclub and it’s jazz, man, it’s jazz, jazz, jazz.
Destroyed by the flood caused by the federal levee failures during Hurricane Katrina in 2005, New Orleans is back. It is better than ever. It is smaller, more concentrated, more potent and more intoxicating than ever before. Less people live in New Orleans than before the storm, but the city is growing. The city is waxing strong and resilient, gathering steam and it’s ready to blow it’s top like Pete Fountain on his licorice stick.
Pete Fountain passed away the other day. He was known as “Mr. New Orleans.” What’s the difference between New Orleans and Heaven? I don’t have that answer. I have a while to wait before I learn it. In the meantime, I’ll take New Orleans.
You should take a trip to New Orleans, too.
What are you waiting for? You know where you should stay when you’re here.
À votre santé,
La Belle Esplanade
…where every morning includes a curated breakfast salon.
August 9, 2016: There are angels in Heaven and there are angels on earth. You just need to know where to look.