Please indulge me for just a bit today. I want to stretch beyond my usual editorial boundaries for this effort. Then afterwards I will bring thoughts to bear that are about adult beverages.
To note that New Orleans is not like anyplace else is stating the obvious, to the point of being unnecessary to even mention. While this town can confuse and exasperate, those of us here are devoted to keeping her as we have embraced her. As crazy as New Orleans is, we like it like that and are loath to change customs, habits, features and generally accepted ways of accomplishing “things.”
Would we ever be so foolish to abandon or alter the policy on go-cups?
It came to light last week that World of Beer, an emporium of multiple taps and bar-style food, would close. This is the second location for this national chain of pubs to close in New Orleans. The first spot that could not make the grade was on Vets in Metairie. This location was located on Julia Street near Convention Center Blvd.
While we hate to see any business fail in our community, I can imagine the corporate gurus for WOB sitting down and planning a location in The City of Yes as a can’t-miss proposition. “Are you kidding me? The way that place parties and drinks, we can’t fail. No brainer.”
Today World of Beer, almost 50 locations mostly in the Southern United States and with a few international outlets, is no longer a player in New Orleans. But why? One of the reasons has to be a lack of marketing. Who knew about this alcohol outlet?
Another possible reason for the closure is that New Orleans has plenty of local craft beer and reveling in beers from other places is not really important. Or it could be that it takes time and investment, special events, to change local habits, even when those habits are in complete alignment with corporate directions.
This unfortunate failed project again points out that while New Orleans on the surface seems like the Big Easy, we are not. We are complicated and gaining an understanding of what makes us tick can be a journey through a field littered with cultural land mines.
The Krewe du Vieux parade last Saturday was a crazy and highly entertaining example of “you just have to be here to understand.” The complete absence of political correctness was overwhelming. The Catholic Church, the National Football League, the federal government, city government, state government and more all came in for their share of skewering in a way not understood by visitors.
I’ve no doubt that locals were constantly explaining the meaning of the expressions on the floats to visitors who thought they were attending a Carnival parade like they’ve seen on YouTube.
And does anyone want to explain to the Governor of Virginia why he is in such hot water over something that takes place on our streets every Mardi Gras morning?
Visitors probably don’t feel as cheated as I do of a good show when a bartender does not throw and twirl a glass of absinthe into the air to coat the inside for a properly made Sazerac? Not taking six minutes to correctly create a Ramos Gin Fizz still feels to me a bit like the day the Natchez was broadsided in her dock by an out-of-control freighter, or the day the Cabildo caught fire.
New Orleans may seem obvious. We are anything but. We are provincial in many ways and progressive in others. We can be predictable then we are complicated and strange.
Happy Carnival, and have an over-the-top, crazy Mardi Gras. Then do the ashes and respect Lent. It all makes sense to us.
Read Happy Hour here on myneworleans.com on Wednesdays, and listen to The Dine, Wine and Spirits Show, hosted by Tim, every weekday, 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. on WGSO 990AM and streamed, as well as stored (podcast), at www.wgso.com. Also, check out Last Call, Tim’s photo-feature about cocktails in New Orleans, every month in New Orleans Magazine.