I WALKED THROUGH PARTS OF THE FRENCH QUARTER IN NOLA for the first time last night - a big full moon was just as high as most of the people I saw everywhere.
FYI, I used to date a girl in the food industry who knew me pretty well, and I keep hearing her voice in my head: "If you go to New Orleans, you'll never come back." Not sure about that (yet), but I am sure about a few things:
1. NOLA weather is much preferable to Chicago in the winter;
2. There are WAY more restaurants and WAY more live music condensed in a small area than probably anywhere I've ever seen, with the quality of both being very strong;
3. There are WAY more 24/7 food & drinking establishments in NOLA than anywhere I've ever seen;
4. The cockroaches are WAY bigger than anything I've seen in the midwest (or west coast, for that matter);
5. I'm hearing the best (non-tourist) area the locals frequent is called Frenchman Street;
6. Using a bicycle to see the French Quarter is recommended vs. a car or cab (or walking - it's a BIG area);
7. I'm hearing he ONLY (non-corporate chain) BBQ joint worth a damn is called "The Joint";
8. The hippies & street urchins in NOLA are WAY more hard-core/edgy than anywhere I've ever been - I would imagine the closest thing would be Haight-Ashbury in San Francisco, circa 1969;
9. It's got a dangerous/seedy/closed-in/dark/edgy vibe off the beaten track that puts you on edge; you could easily imagine yourself back in time, walking the thickly-fogged/deserted streets, wondering if that lone person coming down the street has a hidden knife, waiting to separate you from your wallet, or worse;
10. There is more temptation & decadence waiting at every corner than anywhere I've ever been.
VIVA NEW ORLEANS!!!!