Sunday, January 22, 2006

I saw it on a tee shirt

Some people love to laugh at us here in New Orleans. They think we're quintessentially dumb, drunk, lazy and corrupt.

Well, I'm here to tell you, it's nothing we haven't already said about ourselves.

Seriously. A big part of the fun of living here is being able to make fun of ourselves.

An example: a few years ago, the Young Leadership Council launched a campaign to improve our self-image. They took out advertising to remind everyone that New Orleans is a great place to live and work. The cornerstone of the campaign was the slogan printed on countless bumper stickers, "New Orleans: Proud to Call it Home."

Quickly the slogan was translated and adapted to different languages and cultural idioms, such as "La Nouvelle Orléans: C'est Chez Moi" and "New Orleans: Oy! Such a Home."

But then there was the witty variant, "New Orleans: Proud to Crawl Home." Yes, that sticker proved that many of our citizens cherished the party-all-night side of life here just as much as all the reasons to love New Orleans touted by the YLC. (Now that I think about it, I don't actually recall any of the reasons they gave!) I'm not sure what the final score was, but the "crawl" sticker certainly gave the original a run for the money.

The latest entry in tribute to the civic-minded campaign is this: "New Orleans: Proud to Swim Home." I have one on my car.

The t-shirt business also reflects our willingness, our need perhaps, to mock ourselves. Sure, there are plenty of "Make Levees, Not War" shirts out there, but there's also "I looted New Orleans and all I got was this t-shirt, a plasma TV and a Cadillac."

And a friend sent me some photos of some of the latest shirts being sold down in the Quarter.

Business is good, I hear, but who is buying these things? Tourists?

Nope, it's the locals. You might think we're dumb, drunk, lazy and corrupt, but at least we know how to maintain our sense of humor in a crisis.


Laurie said...

People have been e-mailing those to me all week. I like Make Levees, Not War the best.

bayoustjohndavid said...

It really wouldn't be making fun of ourselves,but why don't any of them make fun of Bush? In Sept., when I was stuck first in Al. and especially when I was in Mandeville, I really regretted having not grabbed one of my Don't Change Horsemen in the middle of an apocalypse T shirts, from the last election.

Mr. Clio said...

Dubya's the fourth stooge--and not even one of the talented ones. He's like late-addition Curly Joe.

Anonymous said...

Can't be better than making fun of your name as well as where you are from. I got the name Katrina and now have a tshirt that says I did'nt just survive Katrina I am Katrina.
New Orleans La

Ray said...

Where did you find that N.O.P.D. t-shirt??? that is SO COOL! I had a run-in with 2nd Dist police 2 days after Katrina (I stayed here), and that is EXACTLY the attitude I got from them.

I found your blog from a link from Jennifer's blog up in seattle. She mentions today about our project here:
Bundle Up New Orleans, knitting hats and scarves to help Katrina survivors stay warm during reconstruction.

Hang in there, it's gotta get better, no?