After watching Owen Wilson’s portrayal of a time traveling writer in the film Midnight in Paris I
was compelled to wonder about a time I would like to travel to. When I first started thinking about this
assignment I had no idea where I would want to go. Did I want to visit the Roman age? The Renaissance?
Paris in the 1920’s? I decided to procrastinate this paper until the night before it was due because it
suddenly hit me: I wanted to be in New Orleans, LA in the 1920’s.
Everything about the city of New Orleans fascinates me. The first and only time I have ever been
to New Orleans was this past May. Visiting the French Quarter and walking down Bourbon Street was so
surreal, but I would have really loved to experience the city in the roaring 20’s. Specifically during the
celebration of Mardi Gras. I would love to celebrate one of the most lively cities biggest events. The style
and way of life of New Orleans is so unique. If I somehow managed time-travel to the New Orleans of
the past, I would make sure to listen and appreciate to all of the original jazz music that the city is
famous for. Some bands that I would love to see are the New Orleans Wanderers and Sam Morgan’s Jazz
My day would begin just outside of the famous Café du Monde. After treating myself to a couple
of delicious sugar-coated beignets, I would start to walk along the Mississippi river as a jazz tune plays
softly in the background. I would be a fun flapper in a short black fringe dress accompanied by a
perfectly placed flower in my hair. Walking down the colorful streets of New Orleans I would be
surrounded by a mixture of people from all different places. New Orleans is a diverse city with a mixture
of Spanish, French, and English culture which creates a totally unique vibe that I would fully embrace
and appreciate. With every artisans venue that I pass I would admire all of the creativity that the city has
to offer. I would enjoy making my way towards Bourbon Street with a couple of my closest friends and
appreciate the unique city life of New Orleans. As we start to near Bourbon Street the exciting noises
and fun music would make me thrilled and eager to join in on all the festivities! I would watch all of the
exhilarating parades and feel at home within the massive crowds of loving and happy people. Listening
to everyone yell out, “Laissez les bons temps rouler!” which translates in French to, “Let the good times
roll” (something that is still very popular to yell out in New Orleans today). I would celebrate Mardi Gras
by catching as many beads as I could from the balconies of the French and Spanish style houses.
Covering myself in the boldest beads of purple, green, and gold while, as Britney Spears would say,
“Dancing until the world ends.”
After the joyful celebration among thousands of strangers, my friends and I would head back to
our home and treat ourselves to a traditional King Cake . The King Cake is my favorite part of the Mardi
Gras holiday! The tradition goes that as you are eating the King Cake whoever has the slice with the
plastic baby inside of it must either buy another King Cake or have the next King Cake party! And of
course if I were to go back in time I would carefully choose my slice of cake and surprisingly find the
plastic baby inside! Immediately I would start to plan my own King Cake party for the next year.
New Orleans in the roaring 20s was an interesting time because this was the time of prohibition.
It was said to be, “The unlikeliest crusade that might be attempted in the Crescent city.” Considering
that New Orleans in the 1920’s already had nearly 5,000 established bars, it seemed the most unusual
thing to institute, especially with the city’s history of knowing how to party. The parish in which New
Orleans is located was the last to accept the prohibition. In fact the city of New Orleans actually started
a “rum running” business in order to supply the other parishes with liquor and beer . The prohibition
was something that wasn’t really followed in New Orleans. There were many underground organizations
that would supply alcohol to different places and New Orleans was just one of those cities that never
really cared about following the rules. Arrests for public drunkenness happened on the regular within
the city but with the prohibition in place arrests started to dwindle down as people attempted to party
responsibly . Thinking of the present day New Orleans I have no idea how it ever got through the
prohibition. Now when you walk down Bourbon Street there will be a waitress outside of a bar offering
anyone that passes a shot and will try to encourage them to come inside. People walk around with a
drink in their hand and police round the perimeter on giant horses while security men in bright yellow
shirts that read “party patrol” attempt at keeping things calm.
I love the city of New Orleans and having the opportunity to experience it in the 1920’s would
have been remarkable. Experiencing the city in the present day is just as amazing and I recommend
anyone who hasn’t gone to go as soon as you can. If you like purple, green, and gold and an enormous
amount of good food, grab your keys, an open mind, and go to New Orleans. You won’t regret it.