I haven’t been to Disneyland. I’ve never been to California. I have no desire to visit. I know, I know…I have a small and incurious mind. I have been to Disney World, though. They aren’t the same, I’m told, but they are both theme parks that have New Orleans-inspired sections to them. Let’s consider authentic New Orleans vs. Disneyland, or, to put it another way, let’s consider Disneyland vs. New Orleans. Six of one, half dozen of the other.
I was watching this video while I was wondering what to write about today:
NEW ORLEANS VS. DISNEYLAND.
There are more than five weird things about the real New Orleans. I don’t consider them weird, but I live in New Orleans. If you aren’t familiar with New Orleans, you may choose the word “weird” to describe some things you happen across in New Orleans. You never know what you’ll find when you turn a corner.
Item Number One: A tree growing around an anchor. I’ve never seen that in New Orleans, but we do have some trees that grow in interesting shapes here. I took a photo of one the other day to post on our Instagram account:
Item Number Two: A mechanical fortune telling machine shaped like a pirate in a booth. Well, we have plenty of people who dress like pirates in New Orleans. I, myself, have a trip-corner hat that I often wear in winter. I don’t think of it as a pirate’s hat. Where I’m from it is a patriot’s hat, but people from out of town will often call it a pirate hat. People who are from here? They don’t comment on it. A pirate hat fits right in here. As for fortune telling, when it comes to New Orleans vs. Disneyland, you just have to go to Jackson Square to get your fortune told. You can go there at 4:00AM and the fortune tellers are there to read your palm or your cards or do whatever voodoo it is that they do.
I don’t have a picture of me in my tricorn hat. Here is a picture of me sporting one of my top hats at breakfast. Close enough?
Item Number Three: Who is this guy, anyway? Anyhow, the older public drinking fountains in City Park were designed by Enrique Alvarez. He designed them that way because he saw small children stretching to get a sip from a standard height fountain. He designed his, which are Art Deco, with a little step for wee ones to use to slake their thirst. Sorry, I don’t have a picture of the Alvarez drinking fountains. I do have a photo of a fountain he made that is outside the Botanical Gardens, though, also in City Park:
And yes, I did say public drinking fountains above. Did I say that to indicate there are private drinking fountains in New Orleans? Yes. I did. Those are for absinthe.
Item Number Four: First of all, voodoo isn’t weird. The way it’s presented at Disneyland vs. in New Orleans seems more trite than authentic and the way this guy describes it is, well, …whatever. A suitcase on the ceiling? This guy has obviously never been to La Belle Esplanade. ‘Nuff said.
Item Number Five: Alright, this is the finale when it comes to New Orleans vs. Disneyland. Which is weirder? I’m of the opinion that Disneyland is more contrived while New Orleans is more organic. I don’t find New Orleans particularly weird. I don’t find Disney particularly weird, either though. Your opinion may vary. What is Item Number Five?
You gotta be kidding me? A weathered statue?!? Granted in a place fabricated out of whole cloth and fiberglass, something weathered may be weird, but New Orleans is a city famous for picturesque decay. Benign neglect and the toll of the elements is what lends the New Orleans landscape its own unique charm. Everything here is held together by spit and tissue paper. There is nothing weird about a weathered statue. These are the weft and the woof of New Orleans’s tapestry. Heck, one of these is in the park right in front of our small personalized hotel.
New Orleans is 300 years old this year. It is full of history and well-weathered details.
NEW ORLEANS VS. DISNEYLAND.
I’ll take the real deal over the imitation. La Belle Esplanade is not in the French Quarter, but the Quarter is close by. We live in the real New Orleans. Be a New Orleanian when you visit. See and experience all the touristy must-dos, but also get off the usual tourist radar and learn what it means to fall in love with New Orleans.
Have a great New Orleans day, wherever you happen to be today!
-La Belle Esplanade
Monday, June 25, 2018: It’s summertime and the busy season is just about to end. La Belle will be full for about another two weeks and then, like the rest of New Orleans, it will be like someone flipped a switched. No one will visit for the next two months. Summer is my favorite time of year. There are no crowds, there are no lines, restaurants run all sorts of specials as they try out new menus. If you have the time and the inclination, visit New Orleans in the next two months. It’ll be hot, but you’ll make good memories while you are here. I know a nice place to stay.