When I talk about traveling between New Hampshire and New Orleans it gets confusing. I refer to both places as “home”. NH is my home in the sense that it is where I grew up, my people are here and I identify as a New Hampshireite. NOLA is my home because I have built my own life there, I also grew up (am growing up) and I identify as a New Orleanian.
It’s always confusing to have conversations like this:
“I’m going home for a month!”
“Cool when do you come back home?”
“I’ll be back home July 22nd”
“No, back here home?”
“Oh, I fly back home August 20th”
This has happened multiple times. I am proud to consider myself a local in both places. It’s as though my logical-organized-orderly-goal driven-task accomplishing-self is from New Hampshire, and my loud-flamboyant-socially conscious-slightly insane-self is from New Orleans.
Since I got back to New Hampshire 24 hours ago I have been taking note of all of the differences between the two places.
1. The Raised Reflectors
The first difference I noticed is that NH doesn’t use raised reflectors on the highway.
This isn’t from NOLA but you can see the reflectors (the square-looking things between the white lines)
The reflectors help show you the lines on the road and let you know when you are crossing the lane, because your whole car vibrates. NOLA doesn’t just use them on the highway, pretty much wherever there are multiple lanes there are raised reflectors. On Claiborne I like to try and switch lanes without running over any of them- so when Cole was driving on the highway in NH my first thought was “Damn he is really good at not hitting the reflectors”…then I realized there aren’t any reflectors to hit. I don’t like it.
2. The Radio
The second difference that I noticed is how shitty the radio stations are in NH. Where is the WOOZ?! What do you mean I can’t listen to NOLA-centric music in NH?! What do you mean93.3 plays country and not hip hop and R&B? What do you mean 102.9 is a classic rock station out of Maine and not…hip hop and R&B? At least NPR is the same station…but of course the content is different; rather than talking about music or history they talk about slaughter houses…Ok that isn’t a fair representation of NHPR, I only listened it for an hour. Anyway…I miss my NOLA radio stations!!
3. The Roads
The roads in New Orleans suck. They are terrible, words actually cannot express how awful they are. I used to think that potholes and frost-heaves were bad in New Hampshire, but there is no comparison. I am talking about literal holes (usually filled with water) in New Orleans.
This is by a hospital.
Also, unlike most things in NOLA, terrible roads don’t discriminate, they are an equal opportunity screw-your-day-upper. I didn’t take any of these pictures, all I did was google image search “potholes in New Orleans”. The one thing I will say is that New Orleanians have a pretty good sense of humor considering how much damage these things can do to your car. (Now I understand why I have 3 popped tires in the last year…)
Yes those are oyster shells.
If you want to see more glorious potholes don’t fret, I’ll be doing a post on them when I get back.
As I was driving down the (empty) highway with my mom I told her that I was weirded out that the road is so smooth. It almost made me uneasy, for you see, we don’t only have potholes that could eat a small dog, but our highways are also made out of 9 different materials. Unlike in NH which recently re-did all of our highways so they are made out of the same material and wicked smooth. Please compare:
NH: please note that the road is smooth and freshly paved, the majority of the highway looks like this too.
NOLA: Please not that the road is two different colors (and materials) and both are old and bumpy, it feels like driving over a grate.
Now I’m not saying that NH has perfect roads because come winter and mud season all bets are off.
But the final point I would like to make about the roads is more about the way that NH is run in comparison to NOLA. In NH when there is road construction people are out there working everyday and the construction is completed within a logical time frame. In contrast, Claiborne (in 2 spots), St. Charles, Broadway, Carrollton, I-10 and many other roads, have been under construction anywhere from before the Superbowl to 4 months ago. Regardless I rarely see people working and there have been few changes…other than seriously mucking up traffic patterns.
4. Street Art
I love the street art in NOLA, it is vibrant, tells a story and creative. When I think of NH I don’t really think of street art…
However, I saw this little gem on the side of a local grocery store.
Then there is this mural from NOLA
I think that these two murals perfectly depict the stereotypical inhabitant of each location.
NOLA is filled with sounds of car horns, sirens, people and regular city sounds. NH is filled with sounds of rushing water, birds chirping and silence.
NOLA smells like shame, debauchery and standing water (especially on Bourbon). NH smells like nature. Simple as that.
These are the differences I have noticed in the first 24 hours of returning home and missing home. I’m sure more are to come.
The point? NOLA & NH have both made me who I am and I wouldn’t have it any other way.