POSTED Wed. Feb 6, 2013


It's OK (sometimes) to leave the lights off
Adam Karlin
Written by ADAM KARLIN

The reaction most New Orleanians had to the lights going out in the Superbowl was this.

And I had kinda had a similar reaction. My facebook status was: “Blackout in Superdome. Welcome to New Orleans, America.” (my favorite social media reaction of the night: PEOPLE OF GOTHAM).

But there are folks out there screaming bloody murder. Calling the blackout an embarrassment. Saying that if New Orleans wants to host national events, we need to adhere to national standards. And to a degree, maybe that’s true, although if the Superbowl left town, that just means more time to Mardi Gras, a celebration we definitely do better than anyone.

(By the way America, you know we canceled a whole weekend of Mardi Gras to host you for the Superbowl? That’s how much we love you. We don’t postpone Mardi Gras lightly).

Anyways, among locals, most seem to take the blackout in stride. ‘You know, that’s how New Orleans do’ was the basic consensus. We roll with the punches here, take a little inconvenience, shrug our collective shoulders, have a collective drink and get on with doing our collective thing. You don’t know how many times I’ve come to an intersection in this town where the traffic lights are out. People just treat these little blackouts like a four-way stop. It comes natural to you when you’ve lived here for awhile. But if there were an intersection blackout in my old city of Washington DC? There’d have been a riot.

I love this about New Orleans. It’s hard to say exactly why. The little inconveniences are a sort of reminder that we don’t live in a city that is as obsessed with getting every little detail right, as obsessed with achieving 110% efficiency, as the rest of America. Because that automaton level of efficiency is, well, a little soulless. A little too clean. I think that’s why the inconveniences here also often come with flashes of human connection you’re often otherwise denied in the rest of America.

Does it take me a long time to check out at Petco when I’m buying pet food? Yeah, but that’s partly because the guy at the counter just told me a 15 minute story about his beloved pet tarantula. Am I in a rush to get somewhere and someone is stopped on the one-way narrow road in front of me to talk to their auntie who lives on the block? Yeah, but I can reverse out, and whatever. That guy is getting some family time. Everyone will be late to the thing I got to get to anyways.

One of the more fascinating conversations I’ve had in this town was with Jonah Evans; we bandied about the question: What’s the right level of inconvenience in New Orleans? Where does it shift from ‘charmingly incompetent’ to ‘dangerously different.’

Well, for one: education, security and governance should be efficient. We should not have to worry about our children’s performance in schools. We should feel comfortable walking home. We should trust our elected officials to do what’s right with our tax dollars. These are no-compromise things for me. If having all of the above – safety, clean governance and great schools – made New Orleans a little more bland, than so be it. I can add hot sauce to the red beans; I don’t need walking home at night to get spicy.

That’s it for me, really. Get the above right. Get those basics, and let New Orleans operate as she does. Get all of that right, and a 30-minute Superdome blackout will feel as insignificant as it truly is.

POSTED Nov 27, 2018


Ready for Reveillon

Ready for Reveillon

Just like caroling on Jackson Square, the St. Louis Cathedral concerts, or bonfires on the levee, Reveillon dinners are a beloved Crescent City holiday tradition. This year a…....

POSTED Feb 28, 2018


Off To The (Wiener) Races...

Off To The (Wiener) Races...

We often stress on this site the unique nature of New Orleans. The one of a kind confluence of cultures, ethnic groups, immigration patterns and geographic conditions that…....

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POSTED Nov 30, 2017




Almost any identifiably New Orleans menu item has a corresponding festival, but up until recently, one of the city’s most iconic culinary treats was left without its own…....

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Pre (and Post)-Turkey Day Times: Some November New Orleans Events

Pre (and Post)-Turkey Day Times: Some November New Orleans Events

Here are a few Thanksgiving you can enjoy in New Orleans. Beyond the below, don’t forget that on Nov 26 (the Sunday after Thanksgiving), some of the city’s…....

Written by NEW ORLEANS & ME

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