To listen to Brett Will Taylor on NolaVie partner WWNO-FM explain why New Orleanians should celebrate the Super Bowl (and even Roger Goodell), click here.
Dear Super Bowl visitors,
The 330,000 of us who live in Orleans Parish are thrilled that 120,000 of you are about to descend upon our great little city. Really we are. You buy us drinks. And give our politicians really important things to do …. like plant palm trees.
We also understand that 5,000 media types will be accompanying you on your trip, offering all kinds of tidbits and whatnots regarding a city they know as little about as you do. That’s great, too. You just can’t have too many live shots from Jackson Square or stories about beignets.
But … in case you want a local perspective, here are a few do’s and don’ts to keep in mind while visiting New Orleans.
Love the Saints. We know you’re here because you love the 49ers or Ravens. And that’s fine. We’re all for team spirit. But, if you want to get really good service while you’re here, tell your waitress that you’re glad Sean Payton is finally free. You’ll have a friend for life … and you might even get a little lagniappe with your gumbo.
Go on a swamp tour. There are few “must-do’s” in this city because, well, because there’s just too much to do. And it’s all great. However, the one thing every visitor should do — at least once — is go on a swamp tour. You just haven’t lived until you see an alligator beg for marshmallows.
Speak to us. We talk to strangers here … and that means you. It’s not because we want to steal your wallet. It’s because we’re friendly. That’s how our mommas and meemaws raised us. You should try it. Say “good morning” to someone you’ve never met.
Tip us. Many of you will spend on your hotel rooms what most musicians, waitresses, front desk staff, bellmen and bartenders spend on rent … for six months. So, get up off your platinum cards and tip early and often while you’re here. It’s good for your karma (and, face it, after a week in New Orleans, your karma will need all the “good” it can get!).
Buy wings at Manchu. Football and chicken wings go together, right? Well, if you want the best wings you will ever taste in your life, leave the ridiculously named “Clean Zone” that the City and the NFL have created for you and head over to Esplanade and Claiborne for Manchu’s wings. You can get 100 wings for $39. They’re like crack, only cheaper. Note: Someone might actually try to sell you crack outside Manchu, so be smart and leave the furs and the rings in your hotel room before venturing over.
Say anything nice about Roger Goodell. New Orleanians love everyone. Except him. Say something nice about the Commissioner and we won’t love you either.
Rush us. Frustrated that the chatty barista is taking too long to make your douple-skinny, triple-shot whatever? Please. We’ve been waiting seven years to get our streetlights repaired after Katrina. Chill out. We don’t rush around here. And, if you try to rush us, well … we’ll only move slower.
Pee or throw up on our homes. 4,000 people actually live in the French Quarter. They don’t want to open their doors in the morning and find that you’ve barfed on their steps or peed on their newspapers any more than you would want that at your home (Wait, do you still have newspapers in San Francisco and Baltimore? What’s it like?).
Plan or schedule. I know, I know. We live in a world where we plan everything, even which kindergarten a 4-month old fetus will attend. Don’t do that here. Plan or schedule yourself in New Orleans and you’ll miss her completely. Instead, leave the Frommer’s at home, turn off that Trip Advisor app and just dive into the rhythms of our hot mess of a city. You just might be surprised where she takes you.
Brett Will Taylor is a southern Shaman who writes Love: NOLA weekly for NolaVie. Visit his site at ashamansjourney.net.