More negativity

I’ve been thinking a lot about Jack’s last post and my personal love lost for this city lately. I have to admit a certain apathy has overtaken me and that’s the reason I don’t post too often on here anymore. I was in Costa Rica for the last two weeks, which was pretty awesome, and upon returning last night I realized I was not excited to be coming home. Craig has written many times about that “it’s great to be back” feeling when returning here from trips, and this was the first time I haven’t felt that way. Usually I would grab a daiquiri on the way home from the airport and dive headfirst into an oyster poboy or something to celebrate being back, but not last night. Maybe I was just exhausted from a hellacious nineteen hours spent in various airports and airplanes, but when I think back on the vacation I don’t think there was a second where I wished I was back here. Not only that, but the reason I went on vacation in the first place was because I needed a serious break from New Orleans.

So now I am starting to analyze exactly why I’m feeling this way, to break down the problems and maybe that will help overcome them, I don’t know. But here’s what’s been on my mind.

  1. The crime. Or rather, the justice system. When the D.A. threw that Shavers case out of the window it really, really got to me on some strange level. The crime here does not scare me. Crime is a fact of life in all cities, and frankly I feel safer here than I do in certain cities that shall not be named. I have been victimized by crime before, whatever, no sweat. What really bothers me is the realization that anyone could do anything they want to me or someone I love with basically no fear of being punished. Even in the unlikely event that they were caught, the likelihood that they’d be brought to justice is marginal at best. That is just unacceptable. I feel like I might as fucking well live in Iraq. And if this trend continues there is absolutely no way I can keep living here, period.
  2. No longer the ‘big easy.’ Let’s face it, this city is not laid back anymore, it’s not cheap anymore, nothing is particularly convenient, you can’t even find a store that’s open past midnight for chrissakes. I know it sounds petty but this was a big part of my love for this city. I keep hoping things will go back to the way they were in this regard but I lose hope every day.
  3. The nightlife. There just really isn’t that much to do. I spend more time on the couch and on the internet than I care to admit. I read an NYT article yesterday about how the business at Harrah’s is better than it ever has been, and how it’s mostly locals who hang out there now, where it used to be all tourists. The locals they interviewed said there isn’t anything else to do here. And while I don’t think I’d stoop to hanging out at Harrah’s, I can definitely attest to the fact that there isn’t as much stuff going on. Take, for example, my post about seeing Dennis Quaid’s band. Sadly, that was the most fun I’ve had here in a long time. Hopefully this is a situation that will improve over time, and maybe I just need to broaden my horizons a little.
  4. People are angry. I guess this goes back to #2 on the list. People are just not as friendly, and in many cases they’re downright pissed off. I see road rage, people screaming at each other, livid cab drivers, folks always on the edge. I’m guilty of this myself at times…what happened? What’s going to happen when I’m on the receiving end of some lunatic’s nervous breakdown? I really don’t want to find out.

Now, I am not a quitter. I’m not going to make a hasty decision about staying here, I really want to make a go of it. I have a secret disdain for people my age who move around from one hip town to the next every year.. one year it’s New Orleans, then Portland, then Austin, etc. That isn’t me, I have marketable skills and don’t have any reason to eke out an existence as some kind of rootless poseur. But give me another year or two of the above and no foreseeable improvements, I’m going to throw in the towel.

Unfortunately like Jack and most everyone I talk to, I have a hard time imagining myself living somewhere else, especially in the USA. Where that leaves me I’m not sure, but I guess I’ve got plenty of time to ponder it.

16 Comments so far

  1. Charles r.Sears II (unregistered) on July 17th, 2007 @ 2:18 pm

    I live in San Francisco and I feel for you Chris.I too used to go away from SF and be happy to be home,but is just like any other city,in any other country,in any pert of the world.It isn’t just you feeling this way,I am 55 and disabled..I see crime and justice because of illegal immigration spike here in the SF Bay Area.Just over last weekend,a 4 year old boy drowned at Great America in the wave pool and the mother is sueing Great America,et all.She wasn’t in the water next to her son!Of course she is illegal also.There were 6 lifeguards on duty and she is blaming everyone except herself,the one who should be blamed.You don’t go to the pool to socialize and let your child be unmonitored.This feeling of hopelessness is also because of President Bush and his lack of compassion for you and your City and the suffering of many who live in Fema trailers,which I am sure you have to see day in and day out,along with the wreakage of Hurricane Katrina,and I know that that has to annoy you that the war in Iraq is taking money and manpower out of your City’s pockets and we are losing that one too.I would keep blogging the president and people in power to get things done and make changes,and/or do like Bette Midler and talk with your Mayor,and organize a group of people of similar mind and disgust like you,and make changes either through physically cleaning and reclaiming your neighborhood,stores,etc,or by working with providing security at stores in your neighborhood to keep them open for you and your community,you know a neighborhood watch.I hope I have helped alleviate some of your fears,apprehension…Thanks.

  2. Craig (unregistered) on July 17th, 2007 @ 2:32 pm

    I gotta admit that part of my stability and joy in remaining here is the fact that we’re building something. We’re invested — not just monetarily but also in a long-term dream that we’re finally seeing realized (albeit not as quickly as we’d like). We’ve found that when it’s time to take a break, we’re good for about three days away before we itch to get back. We still sigh when the cross the parish line.

    But I find myself in the same position as you and Jack in that I have no idea where I’d actually WANT to go (in the US) if I felt I had to. Other places are too sterile, too cold, too Baptist, too bogus or too touristy. This leaves only the overseas option.

  3. Jack Ware (unregistered) on July 17th, 2007 @ 4:31 pm

    Several interesting points Charles, but I don’t think the war in Iraq and the money it is eating is so much a thorn in my side. What does kinda get me on that front though is that the precious Mayor of New Orleans has a half million dollars in his war chest for an undisclosed position he’ll run for at some point some time. I’m not hating on the man for having a war chest to make sure he can hold on to the meager amount of power he now abuses, but I don’t like that he’s still running around to engagements/benefits raising money for himself while the city languishes in funding chaos in trying to get shit done. Maybe there’s a more community oriented way to spend his time. It is, at best, selfish on his part.

    But in the end when he runs for 2nd district when they oust Jefferson’s ass he’ll assure us its all for the good of the city. Or whatever that ass does next. He’s so out of his mind he probably has aspirations of Vice Presidency – a Black Cheney – sweet!! Four more years of megalomaniacal bullshit!! Man, that’s going to look good on a bumper sticker. Chocolate Country….lol

    I guess that’s enough fun for one comment.

  4. harry (unregistered) on July 17th, 2007 @ 8:30 pm

    i can feel the pain. I was there only for 14mos to helpin the rebuild. though i am now back in the landlocked midwest, i feel i truly know what it mean to miss NO!!!!!!!!!! i dreaded leaving and having to leave. i completely overstand leaving the states and being disgusted by whats really going on in this country.
    after a bit of time i think the heart will ache again for an oyster po boy or jazz fest or simply the lakefront. the people….god bless and keep the people in NO.
    my journey to NO was on a whim and a very decisive decision…and i fell head over heels for the city that- so called care- forgot. dont know if or when ill be back and really dont know how i got out alive…just gotta keep breathing til i get back

  5. Heather (unregistered) on July 18th, 2007 @ 12:54 pm

    I spent two weeks in an underdeveloped country and was happy to return mostly just because I missed my boyfriend. I was coming from one stinking cesspool of corruption, crime, and disease to another. I have a great life here and I don’t want to give it up, but my love of the city is dwindling as well. I like how you say it is no longer the ‘Big Easy’ – I couldn’t agree more. It has become the ‘Big Kick You When You’re Down’.

  6. raspootin (unregistered) on July 18th, 2007 @ 9:36 pm

    I really should not write this, but I will as it will be buried in the next thing that you all post about.

    I am so tired of your self centered martyred shit that I could puke.

    Why as blogger reps for New Orleans can you not find something good to say? Do you all live in such lavender colored lenses that you’re blind to the fact that New Orleans has always had problems?

    Before Katrina there was a school board that stole 20 million. There was Marc Morial there was Edwards facing off with David Duke for Governor, I could go on and on, but I know you know so why pontificate?

    Perhaps it is the situations that you and I, as a small business owners and home owners or even more difficult – renters place ourselves in that makes us angry. Perhaps as new home owners some of us our understanding that Nancy Marshall sucks and the other guy was better. Perhaps we forget that before Pennington we were still the murder city of the Nation.

    Don’t blame it all on Katrina, look into your self and understand that it is not the city as much as what you are not looking hard enough to get out of it. We have problems they just “used to be amusing” and now they are not.

    “Rome was not built in a day” Duh neither is New Orleans. But face facts. Leaving leaves our city open to “the, carpet baggers” who will, make us less than whole.

    We all get disgusted with politicians and contactors. But personally before “The Strom” I was disgusted with them already.

    Give it a chance, take a breath and try to make Metro Blog a positive thing. This is still New Orleans – this is the place we all call home.

    I have lived all over Europe – Born in Denver 2 years and NY with by passes thru life to London, Paris and Cairo and still this is the best place which is why I picked it because of the people, culture and ingĂ©nue.

    You are the representatives of Metro New Orleans on this site, and I hope that you will not lose sight of your responsibilities.

    Easy for me to say; and yes, I just did.

    It felt like velvet and smelt like leather.

  7. Kelly (unregistered) on July 18th, 2007 @ 9:37 pm

    Whenever people ask me what my evacuation plan is, I say it’s my passport and about 700.00 for a plane ticket to Europe. If this city can’t make it, there’s nowhere else in the country I want to live.

  8. termite. (unregistered) on July 18th, 2007 @ 10:08 pm

    i too have live abroad for 2 years. funny, all the pictures you see are so beautiful…that is if you can afford to live that life style.

    Raspootin, i don’t know you..but i do hope one day i get the chance to buy you a drink.

    or two.

  9. Chris (unregistered) on July 18th, 2007 @ 10:30 pm

    Raspootin– “martyred?” really? because being a martyr for this city is exactly what I don’t want to be. this city, or any city, is not worth sacrificing myself for, sacrificing my health or my sanity for. It’s a fucking city, who cares? I am so sick of this die-hard ‘nola for life’ bullshit. I hear people say “my family has lived here for 200 years, I can’t leave” from people– oh yeah? Why did your ancestors come here in the first place? because they were living in a shitty place and wanted a better life for themselves and their families!! It was either come here or die sinking in poverty, disease, or oppression. They weren’t willing to be martyrs for their country or let their civic pride stand in the way of making a rational decision, and neither am I.

  10. Larry (unregistered) on July 19th, 2007 @ 1:50 pm

    “It’s a fucking city, who cares”…
    Well I do, that’s who. I’m one of the few who moved back after the storm (Mid City) and I can tell you I’ll never leave NOLA again.
    And if you move to London or Paris..make damn sure you make alot of money. It was a pain in the ass to stay afloat.

  11. raspootin (unregistered) on July 19th, 2007 @ 6:25 pm

    Termite I would love to have a drink, jack knows how to get in touch with me.

    Chris, I am not asking people to be martyers just not act like them.

  12. DanF (unregistered) on July 20th, 2007 @ 1:01 pm

    raspootin- Join the team. Write all you want about the Positive Stories happening in New Orleans. Jack is captain, he’ll sign you up in a second. Put your fucking money where your mouth is.

  13. Laureen (unregistered) on July 20th, 2007 @ 3:06 pm

    I have the same list. I am really surprised the anger issue is on your list. I am glad to see you have this on there. I can’t live in this climate of constant hysteria, hostility and unhappiness. On top of all the other shit, that is the thing that has done it for me. Thanks for the post. Don’t get me started on tourism . . .

  14. Kevin (unregistered) on July 20th, 2007 @ 3:18 pm

    Hey, all – just a slightly different perspective.

    I’m living in exile, back visiting for three weeks, and all I can see is how wonderful people are here and how special the city is. I’m sure if I was back 24/7, I’d feel the same way that so many of you do, but there’s nothing like living elsewhere to renew one’s appreciation for the things New Orleans does so well.

    Where I’m at now, there’s efficiency and public transport and recycling and reasonable electric bills – all of which are nice things. And then there’s this:

    I wish we could trade for a while…I’d send you my “hydro” bills and some unblemished streets, and you could send me some real food, decent bars, and people who aren’t straining to be anything they’re not.

  15. Dan Burton (unregistered) on July 22nd, 2007 @ 4:17 pm

    Wow, Kevin you nailed it. To complain about nightlife in Nola…I’m pretty sure you’ve lost all objectivity. Paris and Rome shut down at 1am. NY and Chicago are awesome at $15 a drink.

  16. raspootin (unregistered) on July 23rd, 2007 @ 9:53 pm

    Dan F : Jack is not a fan of my writing, so unfortunately writing for this site is not an option.

    I will continue to comment though.

    And fuck yes I try every day to “Put your fucking money where your mouth is.

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