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benefits of New Orleanians’ migration to the Gate City

by Brian Clarey

More nudity

It gets hot down in New Orleans. Real hot. So a tradition evolved around the art of undressing, a celebration of the proper time and place to flash a little more skin than usual. And while it’s true that it does not often take much to induce a New Orleanian to drop trou or give a halter-top a yank (a 50-cent pair of plastic beads will usually do it), public nudity here in Greensboro will most likely take a while to catch on.

Better food

Not that there’s anything wrong with the cuisine in Greensboro ‘— plenty of foodies ply their trade here on a very high level ‘— but even the most seasoned chefs in town would welcome into their kitchens people who’ve spent time on the line in New Orleans’ best restaurants. And I hear there’s a few bona-fide Crescent City chefs taking refuge in town, so the gumbo’s gonna get a little spicier around here.

Higher consumption of alcohol

Dem New Orleans folk like to drink. It’s no secret and they are unashamed of the vice. Liquor sales will rise, generating more profits for the bars and more tax revenue for the state. But don’t expect the lawmakers in Raleigh to ease the restraints on alcohol sales and consumption. There are no go-cups in Greensboro’s future.

A real Mardi Gras celebration

They don’t expect us to understand, but Mardi Gras Day always, without exception, falls on a Tuesday, Fat Tuesday, to be more precise, though you have to consult a lunar calendar to find out exactly when Fat Tuesday falls each year. Greensboro’s 2006 Mardi Gras celebration will hopefully be held unapologetically on Feb. 26, the true date of Mardi Gras. And maybe, just maybe, there’ll be some wild parades.

More Saints fans

Ya know I’m looking for someone’… anyone’… to help me cheer on the black and gold on Sundays and perhaps give me a ride to Charlotte when they play the Panthers. It won’t be quite as sweet watching the Saints defend some random stadium in San Antonio (and you know that dink Tom Benson has been trying to move them there for years), but that’s still my team. And call me crazy, but I really think they’ve got a chance this year.

Costumes as clothing

Women really wear feather boas in New Orleans, and not just women in the sex industry. Men wear tuxedos with shorts and top hats; kids don face paint for no good reason at all and everyone is generally festooned in color and eclectic chic all year round. One of my wife’s favorite wardrobe items is a holdover from New Orleans: a short jacket cut from a gorilla suit.

More great bartenders

Yeah, we’ve got plenty of guys and ladies who know how to work the bottles already here in town, but we could always use more, especially since our liquor consumption is about to spike (see previous entry). And we’ll be exposed to drinks like the Sazerac and the Ramos gin fizz (though let’s hope we are spared the Hand Grenade).

A more laid back vibe

Maybe we’ll learn from our new citizens that it’s okay not to rush through life, not to focus on achievement or the acquisition of bigger and better stuff. Maybe we’ll pay more attention to the joyous side of life and remit ourselves, just a little bit, to the things that we cannot control but try to anyway. Maybe we’ll understand what it means to laissez les bon temps roule.

Better music

The armies of funksters, blues hounds, squeeze-boxers and horn-blowers that once occupied the music clubs of New Orleans now have nowhere to play. To the club owners and booking agents in Greensboro: Cruise around on the internet, check some Louisiana bands with touring dates in the area, and book ’em. The New Orleans folk will come out even if it’s on a Monday night.

We’ll feel better about ourselves

This one stolen directly from Codrescu as it appeared in The Villager, on Sept. 7:

‘“You will experience an overnight growth in self-esteem as our refugee poets and writers will begin to use your city as a source of material. You will also experience an equal plunge into embarrassment when they reveal what they found out.’”

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