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Driftwood

Living as a local in a tourist city can be challenging

Staff

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Living in New Orleans is a unique experience. Multiple celebrities, including Amy Schumer and Brad Pitt, claim New Orleans as their favorite city.

At any given time, however, these tourists make up a huge portion of the city. New Orleans, perhaps, more than any other city in America, has a higher ratio of tourists than locals. This means that most of these tourists will interact with other tourists; upon returning home, they’ll only have met with a handful of true locals.

Tourists often classify the Big Easy as “lost in time,” “charming” and “authentic.” If these tourists only interact with each other, can they classify the city as authentic?

If the majority of visitors meet only a handful of natives, and instead spend their time in French Quarter tourist traps, how can they know the city well enough to say that they love it? It’s naive to think that, after a few days, one can judge a city well enough to declare his or her love for it. Only once you have stayed in the city long enough to acknowledge its flaws are you qualified enough to declare your feelings.

Any other tourism-focused city faces the same problem, but New Orleans has such a relatively small local population that it’s frustrating to hear so many people across the nation list it as the best city in America, when they rarely have a true understanding of the city.

Eating beignets, drinking hurricanes, and spending a night on Bourbon Street are experiences we’ve all had, but until you’ve dodged potholes, dealt with the short-term rental crisis, or experienced the bipolar, local politics, you haven’t even begun to have a true New Orleans experience.
Perhaps tourists should just stick with, “I enjoyed visiting the city.”

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The student news site of the University of New Orleans
Living as a local in a tourist city can be challenging