New Orleans, Decadence, Free Will, Determinism, Agency, and Vomit in the Streets – Before

Opinion, True Stories, Uncategorized

I’m going to New Orleans tomorrow for a philosophy conference, the New Orleans Workshop on Agency and Responsibility (NOWAR).

It will be my first time there. It’s a notable experience because it is second on the list of “Places I Don’t Give a Shit about Visiting” right after Vegas. It’s second on the list because of some preconceptions I have about this downtrodden yet popular tourist destination.

I acknowledge these preconceptions could currently be misconceptions because everything I know about New Orleans I have learned from hearsay and movies. I presume New Orleans to be a place of decadence, filth, disgust, sin, violence, and bitchin’ Cajun shrimp gumbo. Aside from violence (NOLA is the nation’s murder capital) and bitchin’ Cajun shrimp gumbo, those are the only two reasons why it is second to Vegas on my list.

Reasons why I don’t care about Vegas:
•One Elvis was enough.
•Gambling is boring. Too many people think they are experts at gambling but their bank accounts disagree.
•Guys walking around in expensive clothing thinking they are hot shots living the “Vegas Life” do nothing for me. It’s like watching a child walk around in a Batman costume. You admire them for their vivid imagination of being able to convince themselves they are something more than human because of their clothing.
•“What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” roughly translates from Neanderthal to Homo Sapiens as “I’m a fucking douche.”
•I don’t want to get married tonight, I don’t care about gambling, I’m not interested in prostitutes, and I’m not interested in giving away my rent money to some guy with slicked back hair who brags about his sexual conquests.
•This guy sums it up when he says, “Las Vegas: Like God Took a Shit in the Desert!”

Now that I’m done spewing hate on my (perhaps false) preconceived notions of Vegas, I will list my current (perhaps false) preconceived notions of New Orleans. When I return, I will detail what I actually experienced. That way, I can put my foot in my mouth online requiring me to do a lot of backtracking to avoid looking like more of an asshole than I did by posting this. So, things I am potentially falsely expecting from New Orleans:

•Enough frat boy and homeless person vomit on the streets to be able to “Hansel-and-Gretel” my way back to my hotel room.
•White tourists pronouncing New Orleans “N’awlins” with stupid grins on their faces and expecting me to play along.
•Vegetarian options at restaurants to include bread and water.
•That bread and water to cost as much as an actual meal because it was given a name to impress tourists like “Our Famous N’awlins Cajun Yeast Bread!”
•Random insane debauchery.

Aside from the decadence, sin, and violence of New Orleans (again, very potential misconceptions), I am excited to attend this philosophy conference. Subjects such as agency, responsibility, free will, determinism, etc. are incredibly interesting and I am excited to expand my knowledge on them.

As I mentioned above, I will detail my experiences when I return from New Orleans. I don’t particularly care if I am right or wrong about the above presumptions, because it will be an enjoyable, educational experience regardless.

Oh, it should also take mention that I received this email earlier:

I’m sure many of you have heard about the nasty goings-on in New Orleans on Halloween night: two people were murdered, and 14 were injured in gunfights around the city, and two such fights occurred in the French Quarter.

I want to reassure you that, while gunfights indeed happen on a regular basis in New Orleans (it isn’t just skating by as the murder capital of the U.S. on reputation alone), for them to occur like this in the area of the French Quarter is actually quite rare indeed (there have been only five shootings in the Quarter and entire surrounding area up to this point in 2011). I of course urge you to exercise caution while in town.

Side note: If you are thinking about robbing my apartment while I’m gone, know that the only thing more expensive than my laptop is my hundred-dollar Target couch that is more uncomfortable than a stadium seat, is stained with beer, and is covered in dog hair.

2 thoughts on “New Orleans, Decadence, Free Will, Determinism, Agency, and Vomit in the Streets – Before

  1. I have missed your writing for so long, to wake up to this — I was a little shocked. I would never take you for the, “Make Decisions first, ask questions later” type. I was actually a little shocked, only because I have been to visit both places on your list. I look forward to your return writing. You may want to purchase some Hot Sauce while you are visiting, I understand it goes well with eating your words and a large slice of humble pie. Be safe on your journey.

  2. I believe you spoke to Mike briefly about your experience, but I didn’t get the update from him yet. I would also like to know if you have changed your opinion. I have never been to New Orleans or Las Vegas, but tend to agree with you on the exaggerated hype and decadence that these two cities are known for. I don’t enjoy losing money or spicy food, so I do not think I will be traveling to either any time soon.
    Anyway, your story was quick and fun to read. I really enjoyed how you use the Hansel & Gretel analogy!

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