New Orleans is crazy. I can't explain it - it just is. Reflect upon your college days, and take frat row - well, all the frat guys and football fans and underage party kids and raging alcoholics from your entire university (but a proper sports school a la the Big Ten) - and put them on one street and you have a taste of New Orleans. The rowdy part, anyway.
My hotel is exactly one block away from Bourbon Street. Just a couple hours ago, a couple Googlers and I ventured out in search of dinner. As Bourbon Street has the flashy lights and heavy foot traffic, we figured we might have some luck there. It took half a block for us to realize we went looking down the wrong street. There was no food to be found, only bar after bar, daiquiri after daiquiri.
People are drunk in the French Quarter at all hours of the day. On a Sunday, no less.
Four hours later, I accompanied two guys from our volunteer group down Bourbon to check out the music scene. We found ourselves in Fat Catz, a place where the locals and tourists and homeless come together for a rollicking good time. Where the waitresses are, well, let's just say 'forward' is an understatement. And FYI, Mustang Sally is the most requested song in NOLA. Just thought you'd like to know.
Being completely sober amidst total debauchery is actually kind of entertaining.
As for why I'm finding myself in the French Quarter (aside from the quest for Southern hospitality), I want to help. I read an article recently that noted how musicians are struggling due to fewer tourists and poorer locals to rely on, and I found that to be particularly troubling, as culture is what keeps the city alive. Rebuild the birthplace of jazz? If this is really a place of such improvisation and creativity, I think this melting pot culture needs to be rebuilt.