My Life’s Quirks – Why Bourbon Street Shocked the Sh*t Out Of Me
When I attended Authors After Dark last year, it was being held in New Orleans. And the hotel was right on Bourbon street. Those of you who were hanging out with me will remember that Bourbon street was a little overwhelming to me. Okay, so the noise and the people and the booze freaked me right out! I thought I would try to explain the why behind it.
I would be what is classified a good girl. I rarely drink (I’m talking two to three times a year) and when I do, one drink gets me tipsy. One Hurricane drink in New Orleans made me very happy. And seeing that I am French Canadian and am naturally chatty, one drink tends to make me super chatty. Seriously. That could be my super hero name. Also, I don’t do drugs (never even tried them) nor do I smoke (never tried that either) So yes, I am what you would consider the complete opposite of a party girl.
On top of being a ‘good girl’, I am also Canadian. Now I know that not all Canadians are shocked by mass amounts of booze being consumed at 10 in the morning, but it isn’t a common occurrence here. Actually, you are not allowed to drink in the street at all no matter the time of day. It’s illegal. Here is a rundown of how it works here:
“In Canada, with the exception of Quebec, possession of open containers of alcohol in public is generally a violation of provincial acts and municipal bylaws. Open liquor is not permitted except in private residences or on licensed premises. Open liquor is also illegal in parts of national and provincial parks, though this prohibition may not apply to campsites, as your temporary residence. Ontario Provincial Parks allow alcohol on campsites only.
In British Columbia, possession of ‘open liquor’ is a $230 fine. In Ontario, possession of an open container or consumption of liquor in a public place is a $125 fine (as per the Liquor Licence Act, ssec 31(2)). Those caught by law enforcement officiers are forced to pour out the alcoholic beverage, after which offenders are sometimes issued a verbal warning instead of a monetary penalty.
In Quebec, laws on the consumption of alcohol in public is more relaxed than in the rest of Canada. Most notably, alcohol may be consumed in public parks during a meal.*”
On Bourbon street, waitresses were walking around selling shots to the people taking a stroll on the street! The breakfast menu in Bourbon street and surrounding area restaurants rendered me speechless. One side showed your eating options. The other side of the menu showed your drinking option. I’m not taking tea or coffee here. I’m talking booze. On the breakfast menu. Booze on the freaking breakfast menu!
There is one more reason why I had trouble adjusting to Bourbon street and for this one, I will use visual aids.
My village here in Ontario Canada has a population of about 3500. We have one bar. It’s about the size of my living room. Here is a picture of the town’s bar around 9pm.
Here is a picture of Bourbon street in New Orleans around 9pm.
Here is a picture of rue Principale, my town’s Main street, around 9pm.
You can hear crickets. So that right there, the fact that hardly anyone ventures past 9pm in my village, is the main reason why Bourbon street was a total shock to me. I am beyond not used to that and it opened my eyes to a completely different culture. A culture who drinks booze. With breakfast.
Why Bourbon street shocked the sh*t out of me. Just another one of my life’s quirks.
*as found in "drinking in public" on wikipedia