The Quirks Of New Orleans Culture: Second Lines

[Originally published by Forbes]


[Part one in a 4-article series on what makes New Orleans different]


New Orleans, LA—There are certain commentators who will argue that, thanks to gentrification, corporatism, and globalization, U.S. cities are losing their cultural distinctiveness. These people should really try leaving their rooms more often. One thing I’ve noticed while traveling is that cultural differences, in fact, remain alive and well in America. And nowhere is this more evident than New Orleans, where I’ve been living since around Christmas until Mardi Gras day on February 9. New Orleans may have changed demographically following Hurricane Katrina, but it still maintains the quirkiness that would be familiar to readers of the 1980 novel A Confederacy of Dunces. While other cities have campaigns to keep themselves “weird,” New Orleans actually is weird, marked by strange people, accents, music, food, buildings, parades, and rituals, all of which are bolstered by a tenacious party culture. This has helped New Orleans’ bottom line, as people flock to live in and visit the city. From now until the end of Mardi Gras, I will cover some of these idiosyncrasies in a 5-part series, beginning with the phenomenon known as Second Lines…[read the rest at Forbes]