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Crescent City (Mis)Connections: NOLA as Paris of the South … really?

New Orleans, a city with diverse culture and unique charm, has been given many nicknames: Crescent City, The Big Easy, Birthplace of Jazz, and the Paris of the South. All these names have been given for good, somewhat rational reasons. 

That last one, however, is up for question.

Whoever decided that Paris is an accurate metaphor to describe this Southern city clearly did not have their facts straight. Or maybe they just haven’t been in either New Orleans or Paris long enough to make the comparison. I can only assume that this sneaky individual had ulterior motives for this false propaganda. Let this be a lesson to all that deception is never the answer.

Allow me to break it down for you.

Misconception #1: If we are going to nickname New Orleans for its European counterpart because of aesthetics and architectural design, let us not forget the huge Spanish influence here. The legendary wrought-iron balconies and central courtyards can be attributed to the reconstruction of the city during a time that New Orleans was under Spanish control. Perhaps a better name would be the Paris-Madrid-Paris of the South, or, if US Weekly were naming it, something kitschy like the Padrid or Madris of the South.

Misconception #2: If we are the Paris of the South, what would our northern counterpart be? Is there one in each country, and who do we compete with to keep this title? Seeing as this obviously sends me into a whirlwind of confusion, I think a better geographical entity to judge it by would be hemispheres. Thus, New Orleans is the Paris of the Western Hemisphere.

Misconception #3: Lastly, and most importantly, let’s focus on the false impression the name causes. I know that we are not an American city known for lights, so a comparison to “La Ville Lumiere” seems deceiving. And even more ironic is a comparison to “the City of Love,” as proven by my lack thereof.

In fact, New Orleans has recently been voted the number one city for singles and for hookups. That’s love?

Nevertheless, there is one point of similarity between New Orleans and Paris: the swampy footing beneath fledgling relationships. Both here and there, you’ll find a thin line between making a first impression and portraying yourself inaccurately, between self promoting and exaggeration, and between leading someone on and entering the friend zone, is key.

Whether conducted in French or English, romance, in other words, needs a lot of translation.

Pookie Lola writes Crescent City (Mis)Connections, a weekly dating blog, for NolaVie.


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