New Orleans Decoded


Tempted to move to New Orleans? It seems as though more and more writers are heading there these days. At the New York Review of Books, Nathaniel Rich—who moved to the city in 2010—explores the history and culture of New Orleans through books by Richard Campanella and Sheri Fink. About Campanella’s book, Rich writes:

He had learned, as all newcomers do, “that declaring disdain for Bourbon Street is the first step toward showcasing [one’s] taste and gaining insider status.”

But he was moved to see that Bourbon Street was the first part of the city to return to operation, “put on a party face,” and go on with its business—which is the business of making money. “I couldn’t think of a better model for the city to emulate,” he writes. His book argues that Bourbon Street, long considered an R-rated theme park—a convenient gutter into which all of the drunk tourists can be swept—remains, in many ways, the “heartbeat” of the city. This is a truth that will sit uneasily with natives and transplants alike.

Diksha Basu is the author of The Windfall. You can find her on Twitter @dikshabasu. More from this author →