Should you move to New Orleans? Why some Brooklynites ditched the Big Apple for the Big Easy

The Big Easy will charm the pants of off you. Isaac Anderson /Brokelyn

Photo by Isaac Anderson/Brokelyn

New Orleans: Why, as a proud Brooklynite, would you ever want to move there? It’s not even the sixth borough! But even before Solange Knowles, there’s been a slow and steady trickle of New Yorkers who’ve found themselves relocating down to NOLA. And in an effort to determine what madness may have motivated the move, this author visited the Crescent City and sat down with a few Brooklyn expats. There are the obvious benefits, like cheaper housing and all-night drinking that rivals the city that never sleeps; but there are also a lot of provincial behaviors, lack of business savvy and plenty of crime that is causing some people to second guess their move. Here’s what they had to say.

The Big Easy vs. the Big Hard

In the ’70s, when New York started to bandy about its old nickname, the Big Apple, New Orleans decided it needed an epithet to describe itself in contrast to the giant, cold metropolises of the North. It settled on “The Big Easy.”

Turns out they were onto something. Vivian, 25, a computer programmer and self-described “young snowbird,” calls Brooklyn home but decided to spend her winter months in New Orleans. Sitting down with her for brunch al fresco on a day when friends back home were text-whining about sub-zero temperatures up North, Vivian regaled me with tales of how she kept extending her stay, because “chill” suddenly became a word to describe demeanor, and not the weather.

“Everything in New Orleans is just chill. In New York you’re way more stressed out; even just walking on the sidewalk, you have to be on your A-game. I guess it’s because it’s more crowded,” she said on a post-brunch stroll through sleepy side streets.

Vivian admitted that while she likes the Big Apple, she rejects the masochism of New York, deeming it a city that takes itself far too seriously and revels in its own difficulty.

_________

Would you believe the coffee shops aren't packed with freelancers? via Flickr user La Citta Vita

Would you believe the coffee shops aren’t packed with freelancers? via Flickr user La Citta Vita

“Things don’t have to be so hard,” she said plainly.

There are also the obvious arguments around cost of living. Georgia, a 20-something transplant in the nonprofit sector, pays $625/month to live with two roommates in a cavernous two-story house right off the Mardi Gras parade route in the Lower Garden District — perhaps the New Orleans equivalent of Carroll Gardens. Rachel, 30-something transplant of a year with a burgeoning New Orleans-based interior design business, claims that for what she paid in New York, “I have, like, a house. Instead of, you know, a 350 square-foot studio.”

Even the street harassment in New York is markedly worse than in New Orleans.

“You can’t go walking around with a smile on. It’s like inviting a rapist to dinner,” said Rachel about the streets of New York. She remembers a stranger in New York yelling, “I’mma eat your [redacted],” at her before turning a corner and retreating into the crowd.

“It was really uncomfortable, to the point that I wouldn’t leave my house.”

In New Orleans on the other hand, Rachel has observed that men and women alike are referred to as “baby” by strangers as a means of establishing familiarity.

___________

The psychological terror of street life in New York may, however, be countered by the threat of random acts of physical violence in New Orleans, a town with a long tradition of street justice rooted in Napoleonic Code.

“Horrendous things happen here and it’s like, ‘We tryin’ to find ’em,'” says Rachel, citing the slow response times of the New Orleans Police Department and their perceived lackadaisical attitude in the apprehension of criminals.

Her friend Chris, a 30-something NOLA-based tech entrepreneur born and raised in Louisiana, added, “There aren’t many drawbacks [to living in New Orleans], but crime is [one of them.]”

New Orleans might actually party harder than New York

One night, on a dive bar crawl of the Bywater (which some give the cringeworthy title “the Bushwick of New Orleans”), legal to-go cup of bar-supplied whiskey in hand, I was approached by a New Orleans lifer. While borrowing my lighter to get his cigar going, he professed his love for his city:

“When Katrina came, I took my FEMA money to get back to New Orleans,” he said. “You know why? New Orleans is where the party is.”

_____________

Bourbon Street on a Sunday Night. via Flickr user praline 3001

Bourbon Street on a Sunday Night. via Flickr user praline 3001

I thought New York was a boozy town that went hard, but the Big Easy gives it a run for its money. I walked by bars still serving when it was pushing five in the morning. Also, I thought New York could be weird, but people really like to dress up in New Orleans. I saw a dude costumed as a gondolier on a bicycle he’d hacked to make it look like a pretty convincing boat. (I gave him mad props. If I had a hat, I’d have tipped it.) I also ran into several people whose idea of a birthday was to get gussied up in carnival attire and get dollar bills pinned to them (a New Orleans birthday tradition).

“They’re not dressing up as something,” Rachel explained. “They’re embellishing themselves.”

My arrival in New Orleans was admittedly coincident with Mardi Gras, and I made a point of staying longer so I could see what the city was like after the party died down. But it never really did. The following Sunday — not even a week later — an unofficial second line street parade was in full effect in Mid-City, far away from the oh-so-touristy French Quarter, replete with brass bands, costumes, and of course, the open sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages underneath God’s blue sky.

It’s more than just a song and dance, as it turns out. All the costumes and merrymaking and easygoing attitude are an integral part of what makes New Orleans New Orleans.

_____________

Unless you just want to work in service, you might need to know someone. via flickr user Bryan Nabong

Unless you just want to work in service, you might need to know someone. via flickr user Bryan Nabong

Ambition will get you… somewhere

On the other side of the expat spectrum is Mary, a 30-something freelance composer who cries foul on New Orleans’ purported perpetual bliss. A veteran of both Brooklyn and NOLA, she lived in the former for 12 years and moved to the latter five years ago on a whim. New York was getting expensive, she found the jazz scene of the Big Easy appealing, and she had a job that allowed her to work remotely. So she hinged her decision on the outcome of a football game (yes, I said she moved on a whim), and decided to move. She fell in love instantly: with the city, with her future husband (found him two weeks into living in New Orleans), with life, and with everything, really.

Half a decade later, the honeymoon’s over — literally. She’s getting a divorce, and she’s on the fence about whether to keep her adopted city. When asked what she missed about New York, Mary mentioned the Indian food, the work ethic, and the city government, of all things.

“You can’t eat healthily here,” she said, claiming to have gained 30 pounds in her five years in New Orleans. In reference to the hustle, she added, “If you do have a work ethic, you’re ostracized.”

She also claimed the working world in NOLA suffers from a nepotism that runs as deeply as connections made in high school. “It’s all about who you know, not what you know,” Mary said. New Orleanians, she said, have “no business acumen.”

____________

You might be disappointed by the low-opportunity high-rises. via flickr user Wally Gobetz

You might be disappointed by the low-opportunity high-rises. via flickr user Wally Gobetz

Chris was in agreement.

“All of the good developers are spoken for, play musical chairs between the same three to four NOLA startups, and don’t change jobs very often.”

Mary told us that the city also feels frustratingly provincial, explaining that you could whistle a jazz tune from an area musician on the street and someone else would likely complete the melody, but that same someone else might never have heard of Alicia Keys.

As for getting things done at a municipal level, Chris shared a similar gripe. “It’s a shadow government.”

Mary added, in kind, that New Orleans’ skepticism of outsiders can make it difficult to work with them, and lack of access to talent and (venture) capital can make it hard to get things off the ground. She went so far as to dub New Orleans “the most modern third-world country,” adding that “no matter what, it’s always gonna be as fucked up as it always is,” and that, “it cannot be changed.”

Chris was, on the whole, more optimistic. He pointed out that the live-and-let-live attitude of the Big Easy can work to your advantage.

“Just coming in, doing your thing, being yourself, focusing on the work, being as authentic as possible in the context of everything you do, that’s New Orleans,” he said. “Above all else here, people here appreciate authenticity.”

_________________

Showtime, NOLA version. Photo by Oriana Leckert/Brokelyn.

Showtime, NOLA version. Photo by Oriana Leckert/Brokelyn

Failure isn’t punishing

The low cost of living certainly doesn’t hurt, either. The French Quarter is a mecca for gutter punks and transients of all sorts who can score enough cash to eke out an existence by busking for the constant stream of tourists. Trying hard in a city that prides itself on taking things easy makes you “stick out as someone who doesn’t do things The Way They Are Usually Done,” but then again, trying something hard in a city where failure isn’t as punishing makes it easier to pick up the pieces and try again. That, and it’s nice to know that even if you get totally absorbed in your work, there’s always the readily accessible escape to restore your sanity offered by New Orleans.

“I would work 24 hours a day, seven days a week if I had to and frequently do,” Chris told me. “Things like Mardi Gras, Jazz Fest, Fringe Fest, Halloween, 12th Night, all of these unique cultural experiences that you don’t get in any other city, they act as a beacon for me and force me to get out of my stupid entrepreneur zone and go and live life for a few days. The experience is rejuvenating. The fact that it reminds you that you are a human, and forces you to pause your relentless march of ambition, is a lifesaver.”

___________

Photo by Tim Donnelly/Brokelyn

Photo by Tim Donnelly/Brokelyn

Okay, so should you move?

If you like to take it easy, and you don’t put much stock in the New York pressure-cooker, and you maybe know a guy who knows a guy who heads up a cool company in New Orleans, then by all means do it. NOLA’s a festive town steeped in cultural heritage and, like many American cities, is going through a lot of (largely positive) changes. On the other hand, if you’re really career-driven and you don’t have a good gig lined up before you make the move, you may be disappointed.

As for me, I’m currently unemployed in the most expensive major city in America and I don’t subscribe to New York exceptionalism; I know there are plenty of other great places to live. And I wholeheartedly believe in the work-life balance that seems to be oh-so-elusive in New York. I found New Orleans’ emphasis on enjoying life to be a breath of fresh air. By any measure, I should be an ideal candidate for transplantation.

The Saint, a NOLA dive bar after our own hearts. Photo by Tim Donnelly/Brokelyn.

The Saint, a NOLA dive bar after our own hearts. Photo by Tim Donnelly/Brokelyn

But I’m stubbornly staying here. As a transplant to Brooklyn of just two and half years, it seems too soon to give up on a place I was just getting to know. I might, however, have lived here just long enough to have been Stockholmed into loving it despite its shortcomings. If New York can be trying, I’ll just have to try harder.

Of course, get back to me in a year and see if I’ve decided to take it easy. You’ll know where to find me.

110 Comment

  • Please stop moving down here, bitching about our neighborhood traditions and jacking up our rents.
    You people have done more damage here than the levees system failures and BP oil spill combined.

  • Don’t. Just don’t. So much death. So much violence. Not enough jobs. War on music. War on low rent. War on the poor. Horrible place to ride a bike. Constant battles. Plague of cheap h killing eveyone and making squats shooting galleries. Rampant theft. Don’t. Just don’t. Been here close to 15 years now. This is THE worst it’s been since the dark ages of the 90’s. Me and the wife want to leave. With a dying father and a Non profit to run, we are stuck. Don’t move here. Not yet anyway. If it was 2007 I’d say come on down! Now….we have people cutting the power to house and breaking in and stealing and raping. Kids attacking cyclists and stealing their bikes. Cops? What cops? Don’t do it. DON’T!

    • Pretty much this. “The Big Hard”? Quit sucking your own dick, Brooklyn. New York is the softest place I’ve ever been, everyone acts fucking tough because they have a stressful commute. Come down here and count the days before someone you’ve met has already died. Been here 1 year and I’ve got two dead roommates and a burned down house. Routinely hear stories of gutter punks killing each other for bad heroin, overdosing on it, then their friends going out and torturing whoever they think is responsible. Met a dude last week covered in scars, 3 dudes broke into his house, stabbed him with syringes and broke the needles off under his skin. This ain’t the next season of Girls. I recommend you take your parents rent check and keep spending it in Brooklyn.

      • The majority of the people you are speaking about are not from New Orleans. So many people have moved here and think it’s all party. But it’s not . I think all the northerners who have called us refugees should leave. You people mess up our culture. We don’t need pedicabs we don’t have last call and not every weekend is a second line . And get rid of that got damn HAPPY THURSDAY BULLSHIT.

    • I guess you were just plain stupid! Oh, I never knew it has been one of the poorest and poorly educated states in the union, What! you mean that a section of Black New Orleans has been in such a state of nowhere that most of the crime and murder you talk of is a hell for Black people of the city, and Jindal, did he piss away so much of the states revenue, much of it by way of New Orleans tourist, and which is not there to pay for any N.O. special needs. Actually, all of the self serving bullshit you put out makes me think you both were born there… Hint, white flight to Jefferson Parish!

  • Dude, please stay in New York. The fact that you wrote this article period is making everyone down here gag and our rents rise.

  • please die

  • This is an abortion and you are the worst. I want to vomit down your throat. I long for both cities that I hold dear to purge you in exaggerated and torturous fits. How fucking dare you breath the same air as my neighbors, my community. Lemme find out…I wouldn’t step foot in New Orleans again. Shitty spoiled beast.

    • Whew, that sure was a lot to get out in one breath! Excuse me while I breathe in some of our community’s oh-so-fresh New York air as I bicycle my compost on down to the local farmer’s market, where I’ll likely buy some kale before progressing on to a march for a socialist candidate for President who believes abortions are a woman’s prerogative.

  • Here’s why you shouldn’t move from Brooklyn to NOLA It’s already over and you’re not wanted
    http://chickenflockers.blogspot.com/2014/03/the-times-chickayune-predicted-kalegate.html

  • you know what about this article…FUCK YOU BITCH!!! THESE ENTITLED FUCKING CULTURELESS MOTHERFUCKERS LIKE THIS CUNT INTERVIEWED BY ANOTHER CUNT FROM NO WHERE USA HAS THE AUDACITY TO COME TO MY CITY AND FUCK IT LIKE EVERY OTHER CULTURE VULTURE IN NY!! FUCK YOU!!! GET OUT BEFORE A BAT GETS TO YOUR HEAD!!@ LOUD AND CLEAR FROM A NATIVE NEW ORLEANIAN BLACK AND FEMALE. FMAILY HERITAGE SINCE THE 1800’S. YOU MOTHERFUCKERS HAVE KILLED NEW YORK AND NOW YOU ARE…NO HAVE KILLED NEW ORLEANS

    • They’re trying. We can’t let these assclowns win!

    • Deedee, you need to wash out that potty mouth of yours with some soap.

    • I from New Orleans, as form the very earth there, you are a total asshole and my guess is nuts or drunk… try keeping you bullshit to yourself and not fucking New Orleans over with your mouth!

    • Apparently, they’ve killed off all your education and self-respect past the fourth grade too. I’d be upset as well.

  • AND AS FAR AS THESE DIRTY WHITE MOTHERFUCKERS IN THE PICTURE WHO ARE FROM IM SURE OKLAHOMA FUCK THEM TOO!!! THE QUARTER IS A DISGRACE!! THE SO CALLED MUSIC IS A DISGRACE!!! BULLSHIT WANNABE ARTIST WHO HAVE NOTHING TO SAY.. F U C K Y O U!!!

  • “But in stubbornly staying here…”

    Good, we don’t want you here. Was there an actual reason to write this story or did you just want to subtly shit talk New Orleans.

    We don’t talk about New York here, seriously we know it exists and we choose to stay away.

  • Brooklynites, before you’re lured here by low housing prices, investigate how little you can earn in New Orleans compared to New York (for instance, a library associate 1 at the New Orleans Public Library starts at $26.8k/yr.)

    Great if you have a way to work remotely and earn N.Y. wages, but not if you plan to work here. Granted, units here are bigger than in New York, but a recent study of housing affordability, that is, price factored with average wages, New Orleans’ housing is the second least affordable in the country, after Miami.

  • Isaac, your assessment of living in Bklyn vs. NO is right. I grew up in East Flatbush, but I feel very comfortable in NO. I came back after a nine year hiatus post-Katrina.
    Living in NO is easy. Less pressure, less expensive. The spectre of crime and violence is real. Thankfully, I can usually sidestep that because I grew up hypervigilant, keep a low profile, plus I drink very little.
    You’re right about the business climate in NO, it’s incestuous. I believe NY continuing dynamism is fueled by immigration. The most ambitious people worldwide are coming there to build a dream.
    I wonder though about the long term viability of high density living. Yes, it is stimulating, but breakdowns in infrastructure ( 9/11, Katrina, Sandy ) make city-dwellers very vulnerable.
    Recently, I met screenwriter who lives in Iowa. He flies to LA and NY when necessary. People kid him about living in the middle of nowhere, but he’s less stressed. Then again he’s established and teaches there.
    Cities will always appeal to the young. That where the action is!

  • please don’t come. please.

  • Please, please leave New Orleans alone. Leave it alone. It’s a wonderful place to visit, but leave the residency to natives.

  • This article and the people involved are the worst. This is why New Orleanians generally hate transplants, because of people who think like you. Get out of here.

  • As a native New Yorker and a person who has been lucky enough to visit New Orleans over a dozen times I shudder for this. These culture less people have been moving to Brooklyn for a long time, raising rents and having the nerve to complain about the cultural aspects of New York that make it unique. Sorry but New York shouldn’t be sanitized big city version of Disney world that makes Midwestern suburban transplants feel safe. Neither should NOLA. New Orleans is one of the few cities left in the USA with a distinct and vibrant culture. Hopefully these people won’t ruin it

  • Stay in New York. Stop romanticizing New Orleans while trying to change everything about it and make it “better” and be white saviors while raising the rents to Brooklyn prices. Don’t get me started on how ya’ll appropriate the culture like its yours and spew out cliche “nawlins” sayings like you’re so local and move into the hood cause its cool then cry when ish gets real. Opportunities down here are few and the crime is real. The natives are restless, stay your fake ass in Brooklyn.

    • Preach!

      • They won’t. Eventhough they may be from Brooklyn, they are clueless as how to keep themselves safe from crime. What is up with that? I am born and raised in New Orleans (50 years) and I’ve only been the victim of crime twice. Both were very minor thefts and my fault. Do some research before coming here for Christ’s sake so you won’t become a target. Also, be respectful of locals and they will do the same for you. Stop the cultural appropriation and please stop calling New Orleans “NOLA” unless you want us to know that you’re not from here. Also, don’t act like you’re superior to people from the suburban areas of New Orleans because they are more New Orleanian than you’ll ever be since their family were once from New Orleans . Finally stop complaining about the work ethic. That’s what makes New Orleans a great place to live for us locals. Life is not all about killing yourself working 16 hours a day seven days a week, it is meant to be livedand enjoyed, that is why people move here. If you want to come here and work 80 hour a week that’s fine but keep your opinions to yourself about our “laziness”

        • Veronica: Thanks for the clarification on the term “NOLA.” Though I’ve never used it while speaking, I am guilty of writing it, even though it doesn’t feel comfortable for some reason. And now I have a good reason never to do it again; “… Veronica asked me to stop. And that’s good enough for me.”

  • Hi Mr. Anderson. Thank you– and thank you to all New Yorkers, for existing, especially your visionary mayor– for writing this. I am commenting to humbly offer a few corrections to an otherwise stellar piece that I earnestly hope will encourage you and more like you to come improve our funky little Sandals-resort of a city.

    First of all, this is a GREAT place to be an entrepreneur or techie. We roll out the red carpet for you! In fact, if you’d prefer a living carpet of poor people blowing horns and twerking, we could do that to. Mardi Gras Indians to meet you at the airport and give you a necklace of magnolia blossoms? You name it! Anything! I will personally paint a bike path from the door of wherever you live to anywhere you want to go.

    Would you be interested in perhaps running a school or any other piece of longtime community infrastructure? Holler at me! I’ll hand that shit right over. This one cute li’l entrepreneurial Napoleon wanted a grocery store– we gave it to him! The outcome wasn’t what I was expecting– personally, I was hoping he might turn it into a humongous Chuck-E-Cheese-style ball pit, how fun would that be??– but as long as I’m giving the city away to developers and tech-worshiping scam artists, I’m happy!

    Come take it easy in a place where (people like) you can get away with anything! Lassez les gumbo cajun ya-ya rollay, bruh!

    • Prior to the movie, “The Big Easy” New Orleans had been known as “the city without care”, as in “La Belle Dame Sans Souci. ” It didn’t begin calling itself Big Easy because of jealousy of the Big Apple, rather visitors and media adopted that name from the movie. Never have I heard anyone from Louisiana wish New Orleans was more like New York. Quite the opposite is true as we cherish our unique history and culture. Is there room for improvement? You bet, but I’m sure the same could be said of Brooklyn/NYC. Wish you could have experienced NOLA during the 60’s and 70’s, she was glorious and a wonderful place to live and visit.

    • That one was funny as hell! Sadly enough, its also true!

  • Hi Mr. Anderson. Thank you for writing this– and thank you to all New Yorkers, for existing, especially your visionary mayor. I am commenting to humbly offer a few corrections to an otherwise fiy-yi-yah essay that I earnestly hope will encourage you and more like you to come improve our funky little Sandals-resort of a city.

    First of all, this is a GREAT place to be an entrepreneur or techie. We roll out the red carpet for you! In fact, if you’d prefer a living carpet of poor people blowing horns and twerking, we could do that too. Mardi Gras Indians to meet you at the airport and give you a necklace of magnolia blossoms? You name it! Anything! I will personally paint a bike path from the door of wherever you live to anywhere you want to go.

    Would you be interested in perhaps running a school or any other piece of longtime community infrastructure? Holler at me! I’ll hand that shit right over. This one cute li’l entrepreneurial Napoleon wanted a grocery store– we gave it to him! The outcome wasn’t what I was expecting– personally, I was hoping he might turn it into a humongous Chuck-E-Cheese-style ball pit, how fun would that be??– but as long as I’m giving the city away to developers and tech-worshiping scam artists, I’m happy!

    Come take it easy in a place where (people like) you can get away with anything! Lassez les gumbo cajun ya-ya rollay, bruh!

    • Dear Mitch L,

      I love you, you sexy little pinhead. Thank you for making all of my dreams come true.

  • This idiot didn’t approve my previous comment. You can talk your shit but I can’t? Stay away.

  • Check us out the next time you come to New Orleans – been “doin’ out thang” at the “St. Chuck” for 35 years.

  • please don’t come to new orleans. even if you are a 25 year-old with a job that allows you to live in two different cities. even if you have the ability to start your own interior design business. nobody wants you here and there is nothing for you to do here except for pretend you are something you aren’t doing something you aren’t. no one is interested. stay home. can you re-open the shipyard and bring back 10,000 jobs? no? then fuck off.

  • You’ve missed the entire point of New Orleans. We’re not meant to be compared to New York. We don’t want you.

  • Please stay where you are. All of the things you hate about Brooklyn, you’ll be bringing with you. YOU are the reason it’s become such a shitty place to live. You’re like cockroaches….you have to spread out and infest any decent place worth living after you ruin where you are currently. Look in the mirror and realize it’s you who aren’t chill, you who punish failure, etc., etc.

  • We have reached our Hipster capacity here.. Please move to Omaha or fucking Cleveland. They need you more then us.. :)

  • 1) You obviously don’t have the first clue what the Napoleonic Code is (in which you are in company with many locals), so please don’t start talking about it. You’re only embarrassing yourself.
    2) Where do you find these morons to talk to who think they can’t find a salad or Indian food here?
    3) The idea of New York – where they roll up the sidewalks at 2 a.m. and practically all the nightlife is boring lowest-common-denominator mass market recycled vomit – as a party town must have been intended as hipster irony.

    • Speaking as someone with roots in the subcontinent, the Indian food in NOLA proper is largely garbage (excluding a few immigrant restaurants in Kenner, Metairie and Gretna). If I ever meet the owner of Nirvana in a back alley I hope I have a cricket bat with me.

    • lol this was my first thought…. street justice rooted in Napoleonic Code??…. you do realize that “Napoleonic Code” is just a type of legal structure that ohhhh, perhaps about 80% of the world uses. It is completely unrelated to whatever “street justice” thugs decide to act on. Educate yourself please.

  • You are so right, Isaac, I wish I met you while you were here, we are of similar mind and I’ve felt like a gentleman among the beasts here. Ttrying to get these nine fingered cousin lickers to listen to adult thoughts about themselves is like trying to reading Freud to a goat, even if they seem to be paying attention, they’ll just eat the book anyway.

    Nihisists run the bars and the morgue and when we developers, software for you and condos for my dad, try to explain that when we are helping ourselves we are helping them, we get the bleats “Outsider! Burn them!” No wonder why under the Napoleonic code there is a sub clause that after 250 years, the US can give New Orleans back to the French. Hope we do.

    Don’t waste time on it, Ive been burning through my inheritance here for 4 years trying to make them see the light of the joy of commerce and the beauty of profit, but they don’t want to hear of all I learned in my 2 years in Williamsburg and what I learned there to help them.

    Do what I did, got to Haiti to teach orphans how to surf. Clear your head. And wait till your friend of a friend down there doesn’t just own a software company but actually buys the city and renames it Brooklyn South.

    There are non so blind as those who will not see, and I don’t think they can afford glasses there. When I try to give glasses to them, they won’t take them because I went to the wrong High School. Weird people.

    Peace, brah.

    • It’s funny. Though you have the ability to write an intelligent thought your personality and blatant lack of character sounds like the people you hang around mainly get places because of their money not necessarily their minds. If you can’t find someone to have a decent conversation in New Orleans you’re looking in the wrong 4.5 star restaurants, bruh. Y’all BOTH have meat stuck in your damn teeth. Get over yourselves and devote your time in maybe helping someone today instead…. call your momma n nem to say you love em, make gumbo and invite over your neighbors, share your spare beer with a stranger at the dog park, go watch the Mississippi roll…. Just PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, stop bitching about our city. A city that is and never was yours to bitch about.

    • WOW! A whole TWO YEARS in Williamsburg! Is that what you call real world education? Is that where you learned to insult people who aren’t like you? That was gross and uncalled for. Please don’t come back from your sabbatical.

  • As a native New Orleanian, you would think after 5 years this person would “get” New Orleans. Time to move back. For one, they all sound poor and hardly what we would consider professionals in this City, which does have 3 million people within 50 miles of the Downtown core. It is full of inaccuracies, in fact, she’s flat out lying in the article. I won’t even address the attitude towards business and nepotism. These people sound like they simply do not have the skills or knowledge to be successful in this world. My bets are the same problems they encountered in New York have followed them here. They need to get a life or at least learn how to live one. After all, we all only get one shot at this journey.

    • These northerners feel when they came here they’re money would be enough to buy up all hour property and gentrification was gonna be quick . Thought they were gonna come and push all the blacks and Hispanics and the whites out of our city so it can be the little north, but surprise we don’t segregate here we integrate and yes it’s not what you know it’s who you know. And we know you motherfuckers gotta go

  • Yuppies fuck off! We have enough standoffish yankee douchebags down here as it is! We’re sick of carpetbaggers (and that’s what EVERYONE, white and black, calls you behind your backs) moving down here. You don’t talk to your neighbors, you try to change the city to be what you think it needs to be (and no, New Orleans is NOT a “blank slate”!), and you pretend to be better when you’re really just self-obsessed. So no, we neither need nor want your exorbitant rents, “artisanal mayonaisse” hipster bullshit, or any of the other crap you bring with you.

    GO BACK TO BROOKLYN!

  • CARPETBAGGERS, STAY AWAY! THOSE BAD LITTLE KIDS WHO DIDN’T HAVE ANYBODY TO RAISE THEM RIGHT ARE OUT LOOKING FOR YOU. AND TRUST ME, A SNARKY ATTITUDE WON’T HELP MUCH AGAINST AN ANGRY 13 YEAR OLD WITH AN IRON BAR HE TOOK FROM A CONSTRUCTION SITE!!!
    WE DON’T WANT YOU HERE!

  • We have reached our fucking hipster ratio here..Try Omaha or Cleveland.. They really really need you… :)

  • Fuck you. No. Fuck you. NO. FUCK YOU. No.

  • Typical whining-assed Yankees

  • Good stay or move your ass back to New York, what get my blood is crime where ever u go but from our city so small you hear about our crime thee most any who I love my city I swear I do in less our races sometimes get alone with each other

  • I’m with DeeDee. Fuck everyone involved in this article.

  • What a smug article! Not all transplants are like this privileged lot..,,

  • Don’t think of New Orleans as a poorly-run American city. Think of us as a well-run Caribbean city and everything will make sense.

    • ah-ha….what a nice, interjectional comment to break up the redundancy while adding to relative perceptions and “making lemonade out of lemons”. Kudos

    • Yesss! NOW someone GETS it!

    • Coming from Baltimore, I don’t know why everyone complains that the government is poorly run and nothing ever gets done. It’s a step up for me. All of these negative comments are really shocking because people have been nothing but kind and welcoming to me. Of course I have never considered complaining about anything.

      • The vast majority of people responding represent a vocal minority, and, while a few of their points may have some credibility, I consider a lot of people who aren’t from here my friends and I don’t know anyone who has a problem with transplants. I don’t think I’m unusual.

  • Not sure why the writer’s getting a lot of hate here. He’s not commenting on the city, he’s interviewing people who moved here from Brooklyn. And OK, some have had good experiences, some haven’t. Par for the course. I’m sure if you go to Los Angeles, you’d find the same thing. I don’t think the rents are that bad here, but if they are, don’t blame the transplants, blame the land owners. They are the ones setting the prices. Most of this article I 100% agree with…the crime is horrific here and people are lazy. I’ve heard this for years (and I’m a NOLA native) from out-of-state employers who move here and are appalled at the work ethic of the locals. I work in the film industry and I can tell you most of the best employees I’ve hired are from somewhere else. As far as the incestuous business climate, I would counter…What about Wall Street? Or for that matter, Hollywood? Happens in a lot of other businesses, not just here. Overall though, good article.

  • PLEASE stop. Just stop…… You’re giving transplants a terrible name. Take your bougie self-entitled (probably trustfund fueled) bullshit and stay the hell up in Brooklyn. This city is our home, not a fucking trend.

  • Please, don’t move to New Orleans. It is the influx of people like you turning New Orleans into Disney and raising our rents, leaving people house poor or turning them into rent refugees. Just stay away.

  • I’m a retired guy who accidentally ran across this article. Advice from my generation is sometimes if not always rejected by the obvious readership herein. However I can’t resist commenting. I am originally from NOLA and lived in the East many years. I really liked it. I have been back in NO for years. The love-hate conversation about NO has always existed. Little here has ever changed. This includes crime, laziness, incest, partying, slowness, resistance to outsiders, subpar education, a permanent caste system, third worldliness, killer summer heat, isolation from the USA, it’s own music, incredibly tasty but very unhealthy food, and other aspects too many to list. The essence of my comment is this. There is good stuff here and good stuff there. So stay there for now, work hard as there is ample economic opportunity, make tons of money and then live here in the winter and there in the summer. BTY, Jazz Fest is coming up soon. Also, when visiting, try a place called Rock & Bowl.

  • ” As a transplant to Brooklyn of just two and half years, it seems too soon to give up on a place I was just getting to know…of course, get back to me in a year and see if I’ve decided to take it easy”

    Newsflash: if you’re unemployed in Brooklyn and not homeless or literally dead, you already ARE taking it “easy”.

  • Let’s talk about accents. Whose is better? I say New Orleans.

  • Linguistic corrections are necessary. The handle “Big Easy” is from a Dennis Quaid movie. We never said it until the press (?) started using it. We also never said “coffee and bignettes”. We always said “coffee and donuts”. Also “Where Yat” means “hello” (NYC lingo). Maybe this is why NY transplants are ofter rejected here. Oh, I forgot, New Yorkers don’t even say hello. That might be why.

  • BTW, I love NY and most New Yorkers.

  • With the nepotism and low work standard one needs to assume an act to get a job and hope for any kind of advancement. In NYC, over the 9 years I lived there, I tripled my salary and was highly sought after to employ. In Nola, I make half the salary and work 3 times harder because the slack needs to be tightened to survive in any industry that isn’t family owned or service related. You must learn to “dumb it down” to not step on anyone’s toes who feel you are a possible threat. Even the appeal of lower rent is waning as based on income ratio, NOLA ranks 6th nationwide in expense.

  • You have no idea what you are talking about. Stop giving real New Yorkers a bad rap. This article shoul be set on fire and buried never to be seen again.

  • Your lack of true research into the history of New Orleans, cultural appropriation, and the effects of gentrification and displacement on established neighborhoods by people JUST LIKE YOU is astounding.

    Opinions are not insights unless they’re backed up by facts.

  • I don’t live in New Orleans, but my daughter and son-in-law do, and my son lived there and went to Tulane. We own a place there that we rent out, and may move to at some point. From what I’ve seen, both there and in other cities, is that cities like New Orleans are much more about the people than the geography. It’s about what the people accept and what they encourage, and that’s why some cities like New Orleans are magical, and others are pure hell.

    I don’t see this article as being too harsh, but rather a realistic look at why New Orleans is not for everyone, and that’s definitely a good thing, since what I and others see as great about New Orleans scares the “wrong people” away.

    Two quotes from the article sum it all up nicely, in my opinion:

    “Above all else here, people here appreciate authenticity.”

    “The experience is rejuvenating. The fact that it reminds you that you are a human, and forces you to pause your relentless march of ambition, is a lifesaver.”

    And a big “amen!” to that, Brothers and Sisters.

  • Hello, to my NYC friends, please come on down to NOLA. I know this great restaurant with great food, a suit and tie kind of place, you’ll love it. its on the corner of Florida Ave and Mazant St. With a great scenic walk along the canal from the Bywater area.

  • I’m sick of them coming here. They are obnoxious, rude, they don’t have respect for our culture, they bitch about our neighborhoods and culture and try to change them to be like their Yankee ways. They come here, buy up property, raise rent and then via price, they racially separate outer communities. They are believe anything can be bought with money. News flash, it’s insulting when you come to my mom’s house in treme and ask her for the landlord’s info, and then asked if he is interested in selling, and then when the Yankee was told that she was the land lord he then asked her if he buy her half of the double. She said no then he got nervy and said well who owns the other half, mom answered she did, and the empty lot next door. He then asked her how could she afford to own all that land, as if a black person is not supposed to own property. And she simply replied that her property was not for sale. Mom kept it classy in front of that jerk., however she is not the only one I know who has experienced this. Her neighbors have gone through the same scenario. They just need to leave or neighborhoods alone. They are bad for the health of our culture, language and ways.

    • WOW. Now THAT is awful. I have heard that’s exactly what happened after Katrina and I’m so sorry it’s happening to your mom and her neighborhood. How rude! Treme is a special, beautiful, and historic place and I hope your mom can keep her part of it alive for as long as possible. Blessings.

  • This statement, blaming street justice in New Orleans on the Napoleonic Code (which, incidentally, was never actually in force in Louisiana, Einstein) has got to be placed among the most ignorant statements ever made about this city

    “…New Orleans, a town with a long tradition of street justice rooted in Napoleonic Code.”

    • Pbello: You are both half right about Louisiana law and Napoleonic Code. The Code strongly influenced Louisiana law, as did some Spanish law codes. All other states rely heavily on legal precedent, while Louisiana relies more on interpretation of the law. This isn’t to say that Louisiana judges cannot rule based on case law, but they have more leeway than other states do when it comes to interpretation on a case-by-case basis.

  • I believe all the so-called NO ‘natives’ in these comments are from somewheres else. No one I know in NO sounds like that and most would never even be online to tell the truth. Must be from someplace else trying to keep everyone else out. Pay no attention to the so-called ‘whiner natives’ and make up your mind for yourselves. Sad but whoever is there wants to slam the door on all the rest. Reminds me of Trump whos mother is an immigrant. Bunch of hypocrities is all. Pay no mind.

    • Wrong. Born and raised. The “article” is insulting, but I’m sure the website is thrilled with all the traffic.

  • I was reading this article and burst out laughing when I saw my self mentioned:
    “I saw a dude costumed as a gondolier on a bicycle he’d hacked to make it look like a pretty convincing boat. (I gave him mad props. If I had a hat, I’d have tipped it.)”
    I’m glad you liked the Gondola bike which I created to be in the parades of Chewbacchus and Box of Wine.
    See pics here – grittyandglamorous.com under the pedi-art page. BTW – I’m currently restructuring the gondola bike into a traditional Chris Craft power boat look for the St Patrick’s day parade in the Irish Channel.

    The point I’d like to make is that a lot of the comments seem to be filled with crude hate and venom to new people moving in. Though I have visited New Orleans many times in my life, I’ve lived here less than four years. Just like an ex-pat in another country you will get the most out of the place if you go local. Embrace the culture, the music, the second lines, and the friendly people. Be in the parades. Make and wear costumes, anyday. If you are ever bored in NOLA it is your fault.

    There is a tension in the city – outside money is raising the cost of housing.
    So many people would love to live in an inexpensive, historic home in New Orleans, which is why you can’t have all three. As housing costs have risen home owners have benefited and renters have been hurt. Another way to look at it is outside money is saving the historic housing of New Orleans – it is only possible to renovate and repair the older houses with significant investments. As a person who loves New Orleans and adores classic older homes I have to look at the overall trend of housing being “invested” in as a positive. I’ve lived in Detroit. I’ve seen Gary Indiana. To see a place in which the residents do not have the money to invest in repairs and maintenance is an awful thing. In Detroit, beautiful grand old homes have fallen into disrepair and have then been demolished. To me that is a tragedy of higher proportions than a rent increase.

    BTW – If some of your readers want to move here -I’m also a Realtor.
    Patrick Foran
    pgforan@gmail.com

    • That was you? Oh, man, that’s great! I remember coming THIS CLOSE to asking you if I could take a picture but decided that some things are better experienced in the moment and left to memory, so I just swung around to compliment y’all and then pedaled off into the night. Looks like you took plenty of (daytime and therefore better-lit, anyway) pictures and posted them on your website, though, so I get the best of both worlds! Glad you found the article, and you make a valid point on disinvested housing stock: I’ve seen 19th-century brownstones in Brooklyn, too, fall into such a state of disrepair that they’ve been condemned (though not to the extent that I’ve seen in Detroit, in major part because they’re in such high demand).

  • What you are trying to sell to these ‘Brooklynites’, presumably from the Midwest, can be found in Austin. They can get the satisfaction of living in an edgy place that is as safe and white bread as the suburbs.

    Your portrayal of New Orleans is more geared for a couple’s vacation on Labor Day weekend.

    • Who cares! Live and let live.

      • “Who cares! Live and let live.” – LS That’s the best, and most “New Orleanian” comment yet. Nice and short, too.

    • “Just move to Austin” – Good point. I wouldn’t have agreed with you a few years ago, but for a few months after Katrina, my daughter and son-in-law lived in Austin while their home was repaired in New Orleans, and they loved it. According to them, Austin had a great and welcoming vibe and they didn’t feel “lost” at all.

      • I didn’t mean to come off as a standoffish New Orleans local. I have met many people that never find what they are looking for in New Orleans. We all know New Orleans can be a difficult place to live and truly enjoy.

        For people that are wary, Austin really would be a great choice.

  • This article is a very accurate comparison of NYC and NOLA. They are the only tow cities I have ever called home and I prefer NOLA. I moved back here four years ago and despite having many friends and contacts it has been tough to get a foothold professionally, but not because I have been excluded. The people here just are not driven by the same things New Yorkers are. I wouldn’t say they lack ambition, they just define it differently.

    It is a maddeningly frustrating place to do business, but there are also TREMENDOUS opportunities if you have capital and patience.

  • Of course the new transplants can go back to Brooklyn if they don’t liked it here. I moved here from Brooklyn before the storm. Would I move back. Heck no. What some folk don’t like about it here we love. To quote Chis Rose….anyone can live in any place but new Orleans is the only place that lives in you.

  • Mary sounds like someone anyone would want to divorce. Get the fuck out our city already.

  • First, “Big Easy” goes back to Jazz players who used the term about getting a “Gig” to play somewhere… say a gig playing in a Storyville house. I went to Brooklyn from N.O. for grad school, we said N.O. served as the training wheels for you to move on to New York, both are places unto themselves, and are what 2 of oldest cities and ports should be. Move to New Orleans and right off you should drop any idea you know anything about the place… start only with before and after slavery. Race and poverty have long been a more of a hell to this city that any Hurricane to ever strike it, and it is the only true city and income for Louisiana. The one book to read and lead the interested to points everywhere in the history of New Orleans and the Mississippi Delta is “Rising Tide” by John M Barry p1997… the subject is the 1927 Flood, but a read of it leads you to have an interest in all the histories of this place!

  • I am and always have been from New Orleans, everyone except the British, have forced their way into this city, and it never changes… they will totally fuck-up the place. Bullshit! New Orleans is more likely to change those who arrive than anything else, that and we are not talking the Cuban exit after Castro, who also fled to New Orleans too… as with most influxes into N.O. it’s not big enough… that’s why there is Houston, to keep all the plastic functionaries elsewhere!

  • I don’t hate this article, and I find the criticism it levels at New Orleans to be things I’ve actually said myself, as a native raised in New Orleans who has moved away several times now. I love my city but it is not perfect, and having lived in New York, our “work ethic” is laughable by comparison. But that’s the point! We help others and ourselves enjoy life, and that is just as important as work, and that means some parts of life work differently than they do in other places like NY.

    But! The first time I knew our city had changed was when I passed two hipster-looking guys on the street and they ignored me. I knew something was different. They seemed cold! We ALWAYS say hi, to everyone we pass or see. Now even I’ve lost some of that, because it seems like no one is doing that anymore. That’s sad to me.

    Otherwise, the crime sucks, but I’ve literally never in my life been a victim of a random act of violence or theft on the streets of New Orleans having lived there a combined total of 25 years.

    And finally, you can’t fake soul. New Orleans and her people have that, and it can’t be codified or contained. You just know it when you see it. That’s something that the article and the many others like it try to hit on but always miss.

  • I am 61, in 1976, 1977, 1978, 1978, 1980, I lived in Washington DC and had a relationship with a person living in Brooklyn. Being from New Orleans, as it is, some how, I felt prepared for Brooklyn, not intimidated by all the sadness that was around all that was exciting about the place.

    I love New Orleans with all it’s blemishes. Brooklyn was fun.

    But like most places there is the good and there is the bad. New Orleans: Do you know what it means http://bundlr.com/u/jbkeenanjr , or if you want to be like Bill O’Reilly and Geraldo Rivera, New Orleans: A Vast Urban Wasteland.

    Cannot dispute it. Both versions of New Orleans are there. NOLA is not for everyone. I love it. Come see us sometime when it is not Mardi Gras.

    John Keenan

  • I moved to New Orleans from Brooklyn 14 years ago (before anyone outside of Brooklyn even heard of Williamsburg which had all of 2 bars). Before, during and after Katrina loyal to my funky new city and becoming a PART of it. And now recently I have left because all of these YOUNG HIPSTER BROOKLYN types have ruined it! Pushing up rent, then PAYING it (absurd amounts), taking up all of the (low paying start up bs type jobs) and generally changing the vernacular and culture. How many artisan coffee shops from 20-30 somethings from Oklahoma in $3000 a month (now) space do we need? When is the last time you heard someone say “Banquette” for sidewalk? I know what it means to miss New Orleans because it is gone. And now so am I.

    • Catch you later bruh. Oh – be sure to let us know which outpost you plan to colonize next. Maybe we’ll join you while the gettin’s good before all the other colonizers arrive and ruin everything. Seriously – you must be joking.

  • It’s disgusting how territorial and possessive people are of New Orleans, even of their own neighborhoods to other New Orleanians. The people complaining that transplants are ruining their city are probably the same people that call Trump a racist for wanting to build a wall and discriminate against Muslims. Anyone who wants to move down here can chose to do so without feeling intimidated. I can tell by the grammar of these posts that these people are not products of Orleans Parish public schools and most likely moved here themselves within the past few years. There’s a lot of narcissistic behavior here and it makes me sick. Your art isn’t special, your friend’s band isn’t special, YOU’RE not special, and most importantly, youre not ENTITLED to shit. Don’t blame anyone else besides yourself that your rent is unaffordable. There is a myth that there are no well paying jobs here and that is not true, they just aren’t handed out. They require skills and talents that aren’t found behind a bar or in a kitchen. I’m sorry a lot of you folded the middle class hand life dealt you and decide to work hard hours for low pay, however it’s no one’s fault that your rent is too high. This is not any one person’s city or culture. Get over yourselves. Anyone from San Francisco to New York and anywhere in between, don’t let these people make you think you’re not welcome. Please just be nicer and more considerate than them.

    • mitchandmarlin: I want to make sure I read your comment correctly. You wrote; “The people complaining that transplants are ruining their city are probably the same people that call Trump a racist for wanting to build a wall and discriminate against Muslims.”

      Are you actually claiming that Trump is NOT a racist for wanting to build a wall and discriminate against Muslims? Are you also claiming that those who support Trump are the good guys?

    • Well, high rents anywhere usually lead to very specific people or groups being responsible for that. Rents are not just a piece of a natural landscape, out of control or comprehension. They happen because specific people pass laws to control what can be done with land. It can be a complex, convoluted layered effort to stop people from building more houses and apartments in specific locales, but there’s nothing normal or natural about it. The lovely, adult reactions we see above, specifically about fear of high rents, goes to show exactly how it happens – those who wanted this outcome divide and conquer any effective opposition by letting you think it’s the fault of people fleeing one place to move to the area. That’s bullshit of the highest order. Worse, it’s lazy bullshit.

      The rent is too damn high in lots of places. It’s not because they’re not growing fast enough out of the ground, or we poisoned the soil. Or that we forgot how to build them. There will be a law, or a zoning code, that describes what can be built in a particular spot of ground. It will either apply to everyone, or just to people who happen not to be extremely well connected and well capitalized developers who hate competition. It will say you need two parking spaces per bedroom, which doesn’t seem like it’s talking about housing restrictions, but it definitely puts the land into a price point/cost of construction ratio that most certainly does restrict housing. They will count windows, and charge a higher tax. They will require the building be 50′ feet from the curb, and no 15′. They will tell you that you cannot build an agnostic storefront on the first floor, so developers with lower capital access can’t count on the commercial rent in their financial planning. All this contributes to controlling what can and cannot be built. Some people may forget why a certain rule is in place, but it is never an accident that they are. The local government will withhold a cert of occupancy, or city services; they will fine you; they will demolish the property.

      No, high rents are never a standalone consequence having to do with new people wanting to move to a neighborhood.

      • “They happen because specific people pass laws to control what can be done with land.”

        Not so much in New Orleans. Unfortunately, alliances are sold to the highest bidder and cronyism and graft rule the day here, especially when it comes to horrible developers and our civic administration. It’d be much more appropriate to speak of lack of enforcement and a laissez faire attitude towards housing as a human right.

        Also, you can’t absolve the different classes that come in and take available housing stock from poor people (See: the 5,000 unit whole home short-term rental units in New Orleans, nearly 3% of the available housing stock) and claim that it has no effect on rental and cost of living increases. The housing market does not exist in a vacuum. Causality is a real thing.

        Stop talking out of your ass, lazy. Calling others lazy while you conjecture and project assumptions about a highly localized and place-specific issue you seem to know very little about seems lazy on your part, to be quite honest. And it’s not cool to call an entire group of impassioned people facing a very real housing crisis names because you disagree. People are hurting, and if the(admittedly contrived) market for this place (New Orleans) did not exist, their displacement would not be as intense. Your objective of “not blaming” those who move in would be like saying, “Oh hey native americans, don’t blame the people who came in and homesteaded your land because they had more power and privilege, it’s not their fault!”

        While it may not be specifically their fault, technically, they’re definitely complicit in the process and the end result.

        A bientot!