One of the hazards of living in a mid-sized city with a thriving tourism industry is the occasional negative impact that tourists can have on the lives of the locals. Obviously, those who are part of the tourism service industry need them for their jobs. (I had been a swamp boat operator playing "wild swamp girl" for those wanting to see a swamp up close and personal for a while.) But there's the crowding (New Orleans at Mardi Gras is packed!), the debris. and the misbehavior (Being pawed by drunks has no appeal.)
However, the Mardi Gras festivities are limited to later winter, and typically localized in the French Quarter, the Central Business District, and a few of the major thoroughfares.
But what would happen if one of the major parties decided to hold its convention? Well, for starters, the delegates would all bitch about the heat and humidity like it was some conspiracy-kept secret regarding summers in New Orleans.
The hotel rooms would be fully occupied; and the hoteliers would jack up their rates accordingly. The lounges and bars would do a landmark business. They would sell a lot of martinis if the Republicans come; Scotch if the Democrats are convening; and Bourbon for the Blue Dog Democrats. Tea Party Republicans would tend to domestic beers without playing the hipster card. Hipsters don't find it hip to wear hats with tea bags dangling from them.
And there would be an influx of working girls to meet the delegates' needs. Tall ones, short ones, zaftig ones, skinny ones; the sexual service providers are open to a variety of possibilities. And the N.O.P.D. would be on its best "see no evil, hear no evil, say no evil" stance. Some major Krewe would name the nominee a King for its parade, whether he or she wins, loses, or draws. Carnival masks would improve the looks on all of them!
And having a political convention in town is a windfall for cabbies! Those oodles of delegates will need transportation from the Convention site to Bourbon street, to the fine four-star restaurants, to Jackson Square (great for a photo op or some nicely crafted sound bites by reporters) or to some of the gambling hells in the adjourning parishes! And, who knows, the cabbies might take some fares on a scenery-filled side trip!
The delegates, used to less imaginatively prepared fare, would eye the menus of restaurants and cafés suspiciously What, did I see alligator tail po-boys? What is andouille, for God's sake? Is a crawfish like a crayfish? Can I get some old fashioned American food, for God's sake? New Orleans has been American for over 200 years.Perhaps a responsible political party would give the delegates orientation handbooks written in simple language and directions to the nearest Burger King or Subway.
Whether the Republicans or the Democrats come to town, they're less likely to bring Palm Buzzers along with them than are Shriners! And they must pick up their mandatory New Orleans souvenirs: hurricane glasses, boxes of pralines, and tacky t-shirts, just like everyone else. One place they're not likely to be found is St. Louis Basilica. It's said that the bells will toll if any of them enter.
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