POSTED Wed. Nov 27, 2013

Escape from New Orleans

Escape from New Orleans
Adam Karlin
Written by ADAM KARLIN

Leaving town to see family? Have fun. Getting out of New Orleans during high volume holiday traffic can be a straight hassle. This is clearly true of other American cities, but I think New Orleanians don’t pay as much attention to the issue because we prioritize, in terms of crappy traffic conditions, an admittedly worse time to be on the road: when evacuating from a hurricane. Sure, it sucks to be late for Grandma LeBlanc’s turducken out in Lake Charles, but it sucks worse to be bumper to bumper when a mid-August Cat 3 is bearing down on your ass.

Anyways, because I am born to kvetch, I’m gonna give you guys a gripe about Nola’s holiday traffic woes. In listicle form!

1 No way out

Given our weird, water-bound geography, our city lacks the multiple highway entrance and egress points of similarly sized cities. This isn’t Houston, where you can go in any direction and still be on land. The river and the lake squeeze us into a little jelly bean of limited major highway access. It doesn’t matter that you know the quick way to Calliope from O.C. Haley or how to use Franklin to get to Elysian and the interstate: we’re all still gonna end up on the same road.

2 What about 90?

Because you like lots of traffic and traffic lights? And by the time you get to Mississippi, you realize everyone in Gulfport and Bay St Louis had the same clever idea.

3 But I'm going west!

I once had some amazing fried chicken at a gas station on some lonely stretch of 61 between Norco and Laplace. This is the best thing I can say about that particular road. I find Airline option can be faster (or at least less frustrating) than I-10 around half the time, but during the other half, I end up cataloguing all the airport parking options by MSY as I sit at my fifth red light. Also: MSY. Being near an airport during the holidays is a bad idea.

4 Residential Roads

Yeah but where do they go? Once, all roads led to Rome. Now, unless you’re going somewhere within a 30-or-so mile radius, they lead to I-10, 61 or 90.

5 The ever-closed Causeway

First: the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway is an absolute marvel of human engineering and ingenuity. I love it. With that said, it closes a lot. Especially when there is bad weather or accidents, both of which happen a lot when you mix winter weather with holiday traffic. At which point it’s a race to get to 55 or 10 and hope no one else heard the traffic report.

6 C'mon. Is it really that bad?

No, of course not. I’m just drinking a jug of hater-ade. New Orleanian DIY- ness gets us through hurricane evacuations, so some holiday traffic isn’t that bad, even if sometimes it is that bad. I know this hasn’t historically been the case for regional traffic patterns, but I’ve had surprising luck getting to Plaquemines and St Bernard, two communities that are truly limited in the road access department. Although maybe that’s partly because I love the Waffle House in Chalmette and don’t mind taking a detour there. Anyways, in general the roads that lead to Venice haven’t treated me too badly, but maybe that’s because I’ve never been stuck on 23 behind a shipping liner.


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    The Arts Council of New Orleans

    The Arts Council of New Orleans is a private, non-profit organization designated as the City’s official arts agency. The Arts Council serves as one of eight regional distributing agencies for state arts funds and administers available municipal arts grants and the Percent For Art program for the City of New Orleans. The Arts Council works in partnership with the City of New Orleans, community groups, local, state, and national governmental agencies, and other nonprofit arts organizations to meet the arts and cultural needs of the New Orleans community through a diversity of initiatives and services.


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    Preservation Resource Center (PRC) has been preserving, restoring, and revitalizing New Orleans’ historic architecture and neighborhoods since 1974. Throughout its history, PRC has acted as an advocacy agent on a local, regional, and national scale, spreading the word about the city’s rich architectural heritage and the economic importance of preserving this heritage. PRC also takes a hands-on approach to preservation, with a history of successfully restoring over 1,400 properties. The center strengthens and revitalizes New Orleans in a way that is forward-looking and sustainable, yet sensitive to the city’s past and its heritage.


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    The Historic New Orleans Collection (THNOC) is a museum, research center, and publisher dedicated to preserving the history and culture of New Orleans and the Gulf South. Its holdings comprise more than one million items from more than three centuries, documenting moments both major and minor. Its four exhibition spaces–the Williams Gallery, the Louisiana History Galleries, the Boyd Cruise Gallery, and the Laura Simon Nelson Galleries for Louisiana Art–faithfully depict the multicultural stories of the region, from permanent displays exploring the evolution of Louisiana to rotating exhibitions showcasing history and fine art.

    Southern Food

    The Southern Food and Beverage Museum is a nonprofit living history organization dedicated to the discovery, understanding and celebration of the food, drink and the related culture of the South. While based in New Orleans, the Museum examines and celebrates all the cultures that have come together through the centuries to create the South’s unique culinary heritage. The Museum is also home to the collections of the Museum of the American Cocktail, the Galerie d’Absinthe, and a demonstration kitchen.

    Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities

    The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing educational opportunities to all Louisianans.

    The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities’ mission is to provide all Louisianans with access to and an appreciation of their own rich, shared and diverse historical, literary and cultural heritage through grant-supported outreach programs, family literacy and adult reading initiatives, teacher professional development institutes, publications, film and radio documentaries, museum exhibitions, cultural tourism, public lectures, library projects, and other public humanities programming.



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