Let me be the first to say that going to New Orleans for a conference was a total disappointment. I previously had greatly enjoyed this city but coming from living in Las Vegas, New Orleans has the same sense of unreality. For that matter even the same casinos. The French Quarter feels as a scale model of something that once was, with the exception of the junkies on Jackson Square at night. That is until the local constabulary shoos them away. There’s little to suggest that the quarter is the Bohemian neighborhood it’s purported to be. I was at the French Market at 8:30 AM yesterday and was most stuck by the fact that nothing was happening. Only one or two sellers were open and there was very little activity setting up the public flea market. By that hour, there’s already fish throwing, produce hawking and general commerce at Seattle’s Pike Place Market. Being out in the early morning hours made New Orleans feel not unlike walking through a Vegas resort at 8 AM. Cleaning crews were out, you could buy a donut or beignets but little else. I briefly wondered where the slot machines were before remembering, oh yeah, they were at Harrah’s.
Note that the Cafe Du Monde was open at 8:30a as they are 24/7/365 and they continue to serve outstanding cafe au laits and that fried thing as well. There is at least some small unpolished authenticity left in The Big Easy.