Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Why I don't like new Orleans, a short novel.

I've only been once, here is my experience. Unfortunately it's all true, no tall tales.

Way back in the day I didn't do much, if any company travel. I was just a guy who fixed the network, restarted computers, changed mouse batteries, etc. Since I was responsible for the system, I was sent to a convention to find out changes, price shop, and see what's new.
It was a last minute decision so most of the regular name hotels were sold out, but that was ok with me, I like different. I found an old hotel, one with history, it was an orphanage for children in the late 1800's (I think that was around the year). The technical term was asylum and how true that would be.

I arrived at the hotel and checked in, so far so good, the place had charm and character. I was directed to the elevator and headed in that direction. The first room I pass by is a kitchen... that's sort of odd but maybe they were making a run at the longer stay suites. There was a note on the kitchen door that said, 'Do your own damn dishes.'
The elevator appears and I get inside. Before I can push the button for my room (that's not marked) I see someone  has written in black marker, 'don't push more than one floor at a time or the elevator will get stuck.'

2 flights of stairs later I'm at my floor and I navigate around a woman who looks like she just busted out of her straight jacket.

I open my room door, hustle in and lock it.
No phone, no tv, no clock. The room is a little odd shaped and above the door is a ledge... with trash on it.
The carpet is yellow but I don't know if it was white originally or not. I have to get to the convention and meet the rest of the staff who flew out ahead of me. I always like to shower and change after I fly, so I get in the shower. No door on the bathroom, no door on the shower but there was a curtain to keep the room dry.
Hot water.. as in that's all there was. Really hot burn my ass water. Shit, this wont work. I'll just take a sink bath but that water is scalding hot as well. Damn, I've got to get going. I finish cleaning up as best as I could, minus a few layers of flesh and change.

The front desk tells me the convention center is 2 miles away, go down 4 blocks and turn right and stay on whatever street. Perfect, I can always use the walking so off I go. I'm wearing slacks and a dress shirt, my wedding ring and my Rolex. The watch was a gift to me from the family that owns the company I work for. It's from 1976 and had a good story and history, but they wanted me to have it since they consider me family. I'm proud to wear it, not to flaunt that I have an expensive watch, but I'm honored to have been given it.
I turn right after 4 blocks and realize I made a mistake. Ahead of me is a bad looking neighborhood, but I can see the convention center in the distance and why would anyone bother me, I'm just walking, I'm not causing trouble. A few minutes pass and I see some kids on bicycles come out of an alley and eyeball me. They start my direction and I put my hands in my pocket.

Do you know how hard it is to take off a ring and watch with one hand.... in a pocket. I have the watch insured but that doesn't mean I won't get killed before I can take it off and hand it over. Good lord, last time I was that nervous at least the Army gave everyone a body bag and you expected to die.

The bikes circle me and I'm actually afraid I'm going to get killed. I keep walking and try to look normal... not weak, not strong, just normal. The bikes peel off a few minutes later and follow me at a distance. I'm amazed when suddenly I'm at the convention center... well the back of it, another mile or so and I'm around the other side and safe.

Lets in the evening I was down at some bar for a hosted party by a vendor. I went down in a cab with coworkers. I left a little early and hailed a cab. I told the cabbie the address and he said it was a 5 minute walk. I told him that's nice, I don't want to die and I'm happy to pay him.

No sleep at the asylum, I'm too worried someone is going to bust the door down and I'm not sure the sheets are clean. The next morning I check out and take a cab around town until I find a hotel room at a real hotel and take a nap.

and that is why I hate New Orleans. When Katrina hit, I actually wished the entire place had went down the drain and vowed never to go back. This time I am staying at the Hyatt and I'm checking my knife so I'm not completely defenseless. Rolex and wedding ring are staying in the safe at home.


  1. this is an absolutely hysterical story...or it would be...if it didn't actually happen and you weren't really scared walking down that street and being in that hotel which really sounds like it was an asylum. i have never been to new orleans and it was never a place i ever wanted to visit - just hearing stories from various friends who visited was enough to turn me off. you have just completely confirmed that i would rather go to hell than there.

    i am sorry that someone as healthy, competent, friendly and outgoing was in such a situation where you feel the need to hide your watch and ring - that says a lot about what a bad area you were in. other than that, i am glad that you are safe and sound and glad to hear (read) that you are running again!

    your friend,

    1. I'm glad I'm running again as well, it's keeping me sane and back on target for all kinds of things.

  2. Unfortunately (for you), I believe every word. I wouldn't go there now for love or money. Not even lots of money.

    1. I'm just hoping I get a lot of new ideas for work. Or at least get to see that what we are doing is beyond the industry. That's the usual case anyhow.

  3. I don't like NO either. The city stinks, the residents are con artists, and it's dirty.

    1. They think they are 'artists'... I'm just going to stick to the convention and hotel and only run either indoors or good areas (if I can find them).

  4. Don't I remember that you actually lived in that place. Seems like you posted some good narratives about being in the city when the storm came. If I have you mixed up with someone else, you'll have to cut me some slack, my memory isn't what it was.

    Maybe you should always get a really good hotel next to where you have to meet. Usually they have cancellations. Sounds like where you are staying is right out of Diyarbakir, Turkey. I know the drill.

    1. That was from the one time I went, probably 10 years ago. This time I have a really nice hotel right next to the convention center.
      I never lived there, but it's ok, we are all getting older.

    2. Well, hell. At least I remembered your stories about being there, which tells you how good they were. If you still have them somewhere you ought to repost them, because they were damned interesting and there are a lot of people who would find them useful and enjoy them.