The Canadian and I have now lived in New Orleans for almost 8 months.  We've loved every minute of it.  Frankly, it was kind of a genius move on my part to get a Ph.D. in a city with extraordinary food and booze 24 hours a day -- at least the Canadian thinks so.  We really do love it here, but living in New Orleans is kind of like a dysfunctional relationship.   If you've ever watched Monk, you know what I mean.  Monk is loveable but traumatized (and broken) and often incredibly frustrating -- nonetheless, you can't help adore him and want to help.  Getting a Ph.D. in International Development has sort of underscored what exactly constitutes developing country status -- and I frequently see threads of this here...hence my comparison.

The latest New Orleans 'developing country' incident is the water boil.  As of sometime yesterday, we have been under a water boil advisory because the loss of water pressure the night before could have allowed dangerous bacteria or viruses (Hepatitis C) to move into the water system.  The Canadian and I did not find this out until we went out for lunch (at noon) and were standing in line waiting to order listening to the radio. Noon.  NOON!??!!  After our morning coffee, after the toothbrushing, shower, face-washing regime...basically after we'd slathered ourselves in toxic sludge. 

Was this the headline on in big, bold, red letters? was the fourth story down.  Was there a system that we could have signed up for to receive text messages and alerts about crises (you would think Post Katrina this would be mandatory...)?  Yes, it turns out we could have received text messages or email alerts.  Did we know about this?  No.  Did the utility company tell us about this option when we signed up for our utilities?  No.  Did it work even for those who WERE signed up? No.  Those people were texted and emailed at 4 pm....4 hours after we found out via radio standing in a line in a restaurant. 

I really love New Orleans -- I do.  I will desperately *miss* this chaotic, beautiful, city -- the people, the soul, the culture, the food (oh God the food), the cocktails  (oh GOD the cocktails!!), the giant oaks in Audubon Park, my morning walks in the French Quarter after the tourists are gone and it's just us locals, the columned homes and beautiful southern detailing, the intricate, lacy, wrought iron, the swampy, bayou feel, the Mississippi which makes me think of Mark Twain, the SAINTS (watching them win the Superbowl was incredible!!), and of course my amazing colleagues at Tulane. New Orleans will always be my second home and will hold a very special and dear place in my heart.

I will not miss the absolutely craptastic roads (I've driven on better roads in Nicaragua...), the complete inability to make a left turn anywhere, the utter disregard for any sign (Oh, it says don't park here because I will cause accidents and traffic jams?  I think I will park here then...!!!),  the pervasive corruption, the paralyzed city council members who are unable to effect any kind of change (more on that later...), and the developing country mentality that continues to pervade the city.  The Canadian jokes that New Orleans is like a website.  In most cities, when you need something, you go to their website and it says 'Here are all the ways in which we can help you find what you need'  in New Orleans you go to the website and it says '404 not found'. 

And as I sit here and drink my boiled water in my coffee, I am thinking about what my next Texpatriating adventure will be like --- what I will love, what will drive me crazy. 

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