Sunday, December 26, 2010

If it's called "Tourist Season" why can't you hunt them?

The book I am illustrating is written by those who work in the service industries down here in the French Quarter. I know the book will appeal to any bartender, waitress, bouncer or cab driver who works in a tourism area.  The Jersey Shore, Miami or Vegas, when folks leave their native environment and travel they forget to pack their manners.

Tourists will behave in ways on vacation they would never dream of acting in their own neighborhood bar or restaurant. When I was driving cab at night in the summer I would encounter individuals from North Jersey or New York who seemed to be void of any courtesy or respect for anyone outside of their drunken circle. Alcoholism does that to humans.

I would politely ask them to please stop screaming at the top of their lungs, not to play with the radio or point out the fact they can't throw pizza out the windows of my cab at pedestrians the general response was "You need to lighten up! We're just trying to have fun." Yea, well so is the total stranger in the white shirt walking down the street who you just hit with a slice of Sicilian.

The Quarter Rat highlights the difference between tourists and travelers. Travelers are welcomed and embraced by New Orleans. A traveler will stop in front of a 300 year old home and soak in the rich architecture and beauty. A traveler will marvel at the fact that people still live in and nurture these historic homes that have survived wars, fires, floods and countless hurricanes. A tourist will piss on the front steps of the same home at 3 am while singing "House of the rising sun" at the top of their lungs.

A traveler will seek out the hidden history and wonders of the city, a tourist will seek out blow jobs. One approaches the locals to find the heart of the land they visit, the other dehumanizes the local population for amusement.

Travelers behave like house guests respecting their hosts, tourists treat their hosts like servants. One summer I had several Guidoes in my cab and one juicehead loudly stated while staring at me in the mirror "Jersey SUCKS! You don't sell beer in 7-11's, the pizza stinks, and everything is overpriced"
"Then why do you come down?" I queried.
"Ta fuck yo bitches."

He was a tourist.

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