Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Hey, who are you calling The Big Easy?

Along with Chicago, Austin and San Francisco, New Orleans is one of my favorite cities in the U.S. I've only been there twice but I look forward to returning very soon.  And since Mardi Gras is just around the corner (March 8, 2011), then I figured the Crescent City would be a good topic of discussion today. So, here's a few facts on New Orleans (or N'awlins, if you are my husband and trying to annoy me.)

1. Why is the city called The Big Easy? Don't know for sure, but the theories are: A: That it's notoriety of a jazz haven allowed for many out of work musicians to find a gig, thus it was called The Big Easy; or B: That it was notoriously lax in enforcing prohibition, so it was really easy to drink in The Big Easy; or C: The cost of living was relatively cheap compared to other major cities, so....well you get the idea. It was easy.
2. And how about the Crescent City nickname? Well, that one's easy (or big easy). The city is crescent shaped because it follows the curve of the Mississippi river.
3. The total number of canals in the city exceeds that of Venice, Italy.
4. The Saint Charles streetcar line in New Orleans and the San Francisco, California cable cars are the nation's only mobile national monuments.
5. What do the Mardi Gras colors stand for? Purple represents justice, green stands for faith, and gold signifies power.
6. The first opera house in North America was built in New Orleans.
7. People born there: Reese Whitherspoon, Ellen DeGeneres, Brian Williams, Richard Simmons, Lil' Wayne, Truman Capote, Fats Domino, John Kennedy Toole, to name a few.
8. People who died there: Jayne Mansfield, Johnny Thunders, Shannon Hoon, Marie Laveau, John Kennedy Toole, again to name a few.
9. Most of the buildings in the French Quarter are actually Spanish. The Spanish government rebuilt the majority of the buildings in their style following a fire in 1788 that burned down most of the existing buildings.
10. Voodoo dolls? They are often associated with New Orleans and are part of New Orleans Voodoo, but they actually originated in Europe.

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