March 21, 2014

New Orleans

There are a lot of places I like, but I like New Orleans better. There's a thousand different angles at any moment. At any time you could run into a ritual honoring some vaguely known queen. Bluebloods, titled persons like crazy drunks, lean weakly against the walls and drag themselves through the gutter. Even they seem to have insights you might want to listen to. No action seems inappropriate here. The city is one very long poem. 
-Bob Dylan

It's been 17 days since I left snowy New Hampshire for the warmth of the southern states. There's something simultaneously terrifying and exhilarating in a complete uprooting, which is what this was. A new city where I knew no one, had no job and was tied only to a bed in a hostel for the low price of
two hours work per day
For anyone trying to travel on a budget I highly recommend emailing a hostel to see if they will exchange work for rent. I was surprised how quickly this one responded and how many other people I have met that have made similar arrangements in other parts of the country. 
 So I've been down here looking for work, very similar to what I was doing here three years ago applying for teachNOLA, except this time I'm on my own and looking at tutoring as well as teaching. There's a problem though, one that was hinted at by the Old Fool and I wish he were still with us so I could tell him that I finally get it. The people here are very warm and friendly, they talk to you at the bus stop and offer advice in the corner store, but they are by and large uneducation and, much to my horror, very proud of it. There is a culture of ignorance so vast that it seems to actually perpetuate itself. Businesses like the Who Dat Shack and hospital advertisements that dare the reader to translate a review written in "native slang". This pride in culture means that education as I know it is hard to find and support for it by parents even more scarce. The teachers I've spoken to are frustrated
or have checked out, urging me to lower my standards for pay and results.

Like I said, I love the city and have been having a blast walking around, taking full advantage of museums, architecture, and the streetcar system.

  1. Vegetables: I have never been in a place, much less a city, where it was so hard to find a vegetable. I know it's another cultural thing, but as a vegetarian it gets a little tricky! I've found that there are really four places to get produce, Rouse's Market with a really small selection, Whole Food with a huge but more pricey selection, the farmer's market which seems to be hit or miss, and Wal-mart which is the last place I want to but veggies on principle alone. Everyplace is very expensive with a small container of mushrooms ringing up at $2.50!
  2. IPA: Yeah, I have a beef with the beer around here. There are lots of Buds and Miller Lights but not a whole lot of good hoppy IPA or microbrews.
  3. Pay: The cost of living is cheaper than the north, but the pay is also way less in most industries. As a teacher I wasn't offered more than $9/hour which is frustrating when bartenders start at $15/hr. 
So, what to do about New Orleans? Well, I think I'll take advantage of the city for a little while longer and then split for a new state, one with work. I like my hostel with my thirteen rotating roommates, but I've also seen those who have stayed too long, years in some cases, and that's not for me. So on I go!


  1. Are you looking only for a teaching job? I have a couple of contacts in New Orleans but I know they are disconnected from the teaching world.

    1. Thanks for the offer Art, but I think I've soured on classroom teaching after speaking to some veteran teachers down here. Alternative education may be the way to go!

  2. Ash, I'm real sorry to hear NOLA is a wash out for you. Uh, that bad joke was unintentional. Not sure where you plan to go next, but have you thought about Colorado maybe? Not sure what made me suggest it but that was the first place that popped into my head.

    1. Funny you should say Colorado, I was just applying to a Colorado job in the great Colorado wilderness! I was there nearly a decade ago and really enjoyed it.


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