Snowball cones on St. John’s Bayou

nectar cream snowball Today’s New Orleans deal from LivingSocial:

“Whether you’re dancing to a brass band in Carrollton or strolling along St. John’s Bayou, chances are you’re sweating. Cool off with today’s deal from [I won’t name the merchant—they’re new, and in my neighborhood!]: Pay $55 to remove the icky effects of the humidity with 50 minutes of microdermabrasion to slough off dead layers of skin … With perks like pre-session relaxation in the spa’s Quiet Room and a variety of hot teas at your disposal, this Mid-City getaway will keep you as cool as a snowball cone.”

Say what?

One of the best things about living in New Orleans is that we get it. It’s a quirky city, for sure, as much a state of mind as a place, and pretty much inscrutable to the rest of the country.

And no question, we have a lexicon all our own. Common words are pronounced different here. Bur-GUN-dy. Mel-po-MENE. Axed. We make groceries, walk on the neutral ground, live by our mama ‘n’ ‘em…And yes, some of us say “erster” for oyster, “erl” for oil, and the correct pronunciation of New Orleans is always up for debate–though we can agree “Noo Or-LEENZ” is acceptable only in song or poetry.

For crying out loud, we bury our dead above ground.

So yeah, we get it, we’re idiosyncratic and a bit peculiar, and we’re good with that. And we can spot a phony in our inbox as soon as we open the email.

This is the message I slapped on the LivingSocial Facebook page:

“@LivingSocial: Clearly your New Orleans copywriter doesn’t live in the city. It’s Bayou St. John, not St. John’s Bayou. I know. I live there. And dude, it’s snowball. Period. No cone. Very lame.”

Oh, and another thing: Humidity? It may seem icky to outsiders, but in New Orleans we know it’s the fountain of youth, the great equalizer, keeping wrinkles at bay far longer than in cities where they tell you 100 degrees only feels like 85 because “it’s dry heat.” Keep your dry heat and your wrinkles, Las Vegas–I’ll take my 108-degree heat index and my smooth brow, and if I get a microdermabrasion it won’t be to remove the effects of the humidity but to enhance them..

I’ll give props to the “brass band in Carrollton” reference. Clearly someone’s been to—or heard of–Rebirth’s legendary Tuesday night gig at the Maple Leaf. But that bit of (totally googlable) legitimacy aside, LivingSocial’s attempt at New Orleans cred is just…awkward. It’s like the writer called up his New Orleans friend, asked for a quick list of insider references, then wrote them down wrong.

Thing is, I applied for that copywriting job. The posting specifically called for applicants who lived in New Orleans and could write authentically about the culture and pulse of the city. Ironically, the writing sample I had to submit was a fake “deal” for a Seattle restaurant. I spent two days on my application—cuz that’s what I do—and I’m sure my “locally-sourced” food reference was as pitiful as a snowball cone. When it comes to local–especially in New Orleans–you just can’t fake it.

Oh, and PS? No one here drinks “hot teas” on a summer afternoon. Maybe in Seattle.

Photo credit Filckr user aimeeorleans

One thought on “Snowball cones on St. John’s Bayou

  1. There are some of us in “the rest of the country” who “get it,” to whom New Orleans (Nu Orluhns) is not “inscrutable.” I am otherwise in complete sympathy with your opinions. HB

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