Updated: Apr 3
I don't know what's wrong with us, but local born New Orleanians have a strange relationship with being number one.
It means a lot to us, but we don't necessarily care if it's a good or bad thing.
Years ago, when things were a lot rougher here on the streets for a while, The City of New Orleans sat at number 1 per capita in the U.S. for murder- I think we held that 'title' for 2 or 3 years running.
I can't properly explain it, but in a dark humor kind of way, we were proud to be number one at something- even if it was senseless loss of life..
Then one year, it was either Washington D.C. or Detroit that surpassed us by a death or two and everybody I knew got upset.
People said things to me like:
"Can you believe we lost our spot man??"
"I can't understand how they beat us out!"
"Did you hear those damn people took number One from us??
-I know we gotta be way worse!"
Being native born, I am therefore happy to engage in completely senseless conversations that could also be thought of as pointless, and loosely based on flawed logic. This type of conversational interaction is known as "rolling with it in the moment" or "situation appropriate responding'.
With multiple people I know posing this question to me the obvious response on my part had to be to pose a question back that involved a solution and course of action-
"Well, that's easy! Why don't one of ya'll go shoot a couple people so we can catch up?!"
Now, someone not from here might misunderstand.
A person from out of town overhearing my statement in passing might think I was a heartless criminal talking to a group of cold blooded killers.
Overhearing this remark, they might think we were maniacs about to launch on a killing spree..
Additionally, If we happened to notice this exchange was overheard and had inadvertently frightened some of our tourists, our next action would be to shout "What??" at them, followed by "What's wrong with you?? -We were just talking!" -which would (of course) further alarm said Tourists.
The problem here is a cultural misunderstanding
We are always deeply offended when we say extreme or violent things, generally thought of (by us) as a descriptive, illustrative accent, like an exclamation point at the end of a sentence, and we are misunderstood by outsiders and thought to be bad people.
We are not bad people. When you think we are, it makes us angry.
This whole exchange should be classified as conversational satire, New Orleans style. Also known as pointing out the obvious when our friends say some stupid shit, which is also one of our favorite pastimes. .
Problem posed? We lost our number 1 spot as worst in the country in violent crime...
Solution supplied. - well catch up then! Go kill some people and we'll be back on top!
As soon as all concerned identify how the problem could be (hypothetically) solved and we could once again be number 1 at something, even if it happened to be murders per capita, we could move on to something else.
"Anybody wanna get some food?"
"yeah, I could eat- where ya'll wanna go?
Knowing we can fix it if we want to is enough.