Thursday, November 09, 2006

Brand New Orleans

Frankly, I am tired of some battles and rarin' to go with others here- in lagalounola.
Some, I wouldn't even call battles, more like "pet peeves of the day" (credit to BK for the term).
One of the "ppotd" is the problem of the adjectives or nicknames for our city. We have always loved the added names like NOLA, Crescent City, The Big Easy (always hated that myself), City That Care Forgot.
As my dear readers know, I have chosen lagalounola for this blog, for reasons outlined in the archives. But outside of the blog world, I still use "post-Katrina", and "after the levee breaks" like many others to provide context, especially when talking to media or doing a presentation. I don't like using those terms, but find myself drawn to them, because they explain the drama.
How else do we explain the new normal? How about ReNola? Or New (really new) Orleans? Brown Zero? Crusty City?
And, when we use them, are we participating in the victimization of our culture? Does it tell people we are not ready to move on?
More importantly, is our sense of humor getting missed by America?

I know Spike Lee got it:
"Even though all the stuff they'd gone through, there were still many times where the stuff they were saying had the crew dying laughing. I know it might seem like its gallows humor, but just the spirit of the people— I think that's what makes New Orleans the most unique city in America. And that's tough for me to say, being from New York. But I got to give it up. New
Orleans does hold that distinction. And you see it in the people."
Spike is a rare case though.

Brands are important. I know that very well, being from the Mistake On The Lake (for those of you under 40, that is Cleveland Ohio). That moniker was given to us after the Cuyahoga River caught on fire, race riots devastated the city, and our mayor skipped a invitation to the White House because it was his wife's bowling night. (The last one wasn't that bad, since it was Nixon's White House.)

But, it took (and is still taking) Cleveland generations to fix its image. I don't want to be defending New Orleans in 10 years, to people who think we are not getting the joke. Hey, I'm not saying Cleveland and New Orleans are alike (god no), but even New York suffered in the 70s from bad p.r.
So, let's try to find new terms, ACCentuate the postive, tell the stories and remember what (I think) Tennessee Williams said,
"There are only three cities in the U.S.: San Francisco, New York and New Orleans. The rest is just Cleveland."

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