Star New Orleans Advocate food writer Ian McNulty said, "'People don't live in New Orleans because it is easy. They live here because they are incapable of living anywhere else in the just same way." - and ain't it the truth. Living in New Orleans is like giving your soul a little ice cream treat every day, but putting up with the struggles of living in a 300 year old city on top of a swamp does require certain accouterments. I've been asking around, and here's a few New Orleans essentials straight from the mouths of locals:
FRIENDS IN THE RIGHT PLACES
"Friends in the right places in nola is the rule number one - Maybe the only rule." was the direct quote on this recommendation and I believe it. To live a full life in New Orleans you have to know the right people. Need a place to park for Jazzfest, an in to a great house on the Endymion Route or a new job? Call on one of your friends in the city. For centuries, New Orleans has been a who you know kind of place and it's still true as ever in 2018. Get out there and meet some people.
AN ADMIRABLE TO GO CUP COLLECTION
If you don't have at least 30 Mardi Gras cups in your pantry, do you even live here? Tokens of parades and parties gone by, these things are the utimate in reusable drink traveling devices. If you lose it along the way, there's at least 80 more waiting at home.
ICE CHEST BACKPACK // FANNY PACK
I will be shouting from the mountain tops about this ice chest backpack for the rest of my years. Stick a few ice packs in here and you instantly become a traveling bar. Perfect for poboy fest, jazzfest, anyfest and your weekend get away to Gulf Shores. Don't try and live without this here, it just isn't worth it. A side mention for this one is the true festival underdog: the fanny pack. I don't believe people in other cities has as much use for a fanny pack - I just don't.
NEW ORLEANS T-SHIRTS
When I first moved here, I had no idea that a T-shirt Culture could be a thing. It's like everyone here knows that living here is one big inside joke that only the locals are in on. To celebrate it, they put the best punch lines on t-shirts and wear them like amour in fields of tourists. Growing up, my family always flew on airplanes in LSU gear just in case we ran into other tigers along the way. Now, I do the same with these, just to find my extended Nola family. Dirty Coast always has a way of getting it just right with these shirts.
Photo Credit: Dirty Coast
The best part about New Orleans is that we will use anything as an excuse to celebrate. Two years ago, a giant sink hole opened up on Canal Street and in a total reasonable response, we turned Cinco de Mayo into Sink Hole de Mayo. All of this celebration calls for glitter, glitter and more glitter. It's Sunday afternoon and you want to ride the streetcar to Pat O's - great, put on some glitter. The saints are playing - here comes glitter. Red Dress Run, St. Patricks Day, Mardi Gras? GLITTER. GLITTER. GLITTER. We're so into this that there's local companies built totally on glitter empires - like Electra Cosmetics. These sirens of glitter once hosted an entire glitter tent at a zoo charity event where they styled your glitter to your outfit. I was instantly in love.
Photo Credit: Elektra Cosmetics
A TRAFFIC CONE
In a city where off-street parking is a priceless commodity, few things are as useful as a traffic cone. Need to make sure you have a place to park when you get home on parade day? Call in the traffic cone defense. Giant pot hole open up in front of your house that could eat your entire car? No need to fear, traffic cone is here!
The entire city of New Orleans is honestly around 5 miles in size. It's an especially beautiful fact because it makes the entire thing bike-able. With a bike, gone is the need to stress about parking. It's also an incredible way to see the city. My favorite hobby is pointing out houses I love wherever we are and it's much less dangerous on bike than in my car.
RAIN BOOTS // SHRIMP BOOTS
It rains here all the time. Did it rain for the entire month of August? Maybe. It's unconfirmed and I won't believe if it's wrong when I look it up. Just know that there is a certain point in the year here where it rains every single day. Rain boots help make do in the mess - but more importantly, they make Jazz Fest possible. Even if it rained one single day during fest, the ground will be a mud pit forever. Save yourself and save your feet, wear the boots.
ACCESS TO A CRAWFISH POT AND BURNER
Look, having a place to store this in tiny shotgun house is a struggle that I get more than most. However, life in New Orleans in the spring is not complete without a crawfish boil. At least having someone to call to borrow this from is a huge boost to your Nola points. If you're ready to take the leap to have your own set, this the brand we bought and love.
Whats your essential item for life in New Orleans? Share in the comments!