I’m somewhat embarrassed to admit that I had a totally naive and erroneous view of the French Quarter of New Orleans…which was light on jazz and Creole and heavy on debauchery.
The French Quarter Of Debauchery In New Orleans
I’m a world traveler who has been to 139 countries and nearly every U.S. state. I’d like to think I have a decent impression of most cities. But not NOLA…at least not prior to my first visit to the city.
If I’m being honest, my expectation of the historic French Quarter was more fashioned by New Orleans Square at Disneyland than anything else. Here’s what I pictured: cobblestone streets with Creole style architecture (often called, incorrectly, French Colonial style). You know, those beautiful Creole cottages with wrought iron balconies and hanging plants.
That much was accurate, but I also pictured quiet streets with restaurants serving up Cajun or Creole food and jazz music playing as visitors and locals alike dined together in harmony.
Instead, I encountered quite a different experience when I went out for a midnight walk through the French Quarter.
The streets were packed. The smell of weed was overwhelming. I was approached at two different points by guys wanting to know if I wished to buy drugs. I’m aware of what goes on during Mardi Gras, but I did not expect to be approached by a prostitute wondering I wanted to take her back to my room. Then there was another girl who just came up to me and started twerking.
All within a 10-minute period…
And the French Quarter is not one jazz kitchen after another, but one bar after another, filled with drunk and boisterous tourists.
Thankfully, I was flanked by First Class Queen and the Royal Consort, both of whom kept me safe!
I returned the next morning just to see if it was any better. Not really…
Honestly, what got to me most was that pervasive smell of pot. It’s bad enough in California, but it was worse here. Oh how I detest it. And ironically, it is not even legal in Louisiana (except for “medical” reasons).
So yeah, impression meet reality…what a letdown. And I’m rather embarrassed I held such an idealized and ignorant view of the French Quarter.
I was only in town a couple days, but I can certainly attest that the bustling city itself is not defined by the French Quarter. That’s but one part of New Orleans, and there are other charming areas in town and around it that balance out the debauchery of the French Quarter. Would I go back to NOLA? Absolutely. To the French Quarter? No thanks.