Destination: Louisiana

Do Not Demolish

Do Not Demolish Photo by Allison Chipak

Kevin Fay recently joined voluntourists still helping to rebuild New Orleans-area homes destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. Judy's house was waiting for him.

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Site to Watch: Open Sound New Orleans

It’s a soundmap of New Orleans. The directors of the project, Heather Booth and Jacob Brancasi, aim “to make more accessible the authentic, unedited sounds and voices of New Orleans. Sharing the sounds of our city as we hear them, move through them, and create them, is an act of celebration.”

Booth and Brancasi spoke about their project and shared a few sounds yesterday on NPR’s Weekend Edition.

‘How Much are Venice, the Everglades, and New Orleans Worth?’

‘How Much are Venice, the Everglades, and New Orleans Worth?’ Photo by delgaudm via Flickr (Creative Commons)
Photo by delgaudm via Flickr (Creative Commons)

Andrew Sullivan points the way to a Matt Steinglass post about the limits of measuring climate change damage in economic terms:

There will be no Everglades in 100 years. The economic cost of that change to US GDP is marginal. There will be no Venice in 100 years. The economic cost of that change to US GDP is tiny. There will be no New Orleans in 100 years. The economic cost of that change to US GDP is extremely small. ... But the worth of many precious things cannot be measured in money.


Five Hostels I Have Loved

Five Hostels I Have Loved Photo of Lizard Point by Eva Holland
Photo of Lizard Point by Eva Holland

These days, there are more accommodation options than ever for the budget traveler: everything from house swaps to pod hotels to rock-bottom recession-era deals at more traditional travel digs.

But even with that abundance of choices—most of which I’ve sampled, and enjoyed—I think my shoestringer’s heart will always belong to the youth hostel. I love the hosteling community, I (sometimes) love the fiesta atmosphere, and—of course—I love the price. From grungy party pads to serene dorm-room retreats, here are five hostels I have loved:

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New Orleans Rocks

New Orleans Rocks Photo by Barry Yeoman

With the famed Jazz & Heritage Festival approaching, Barry Yeoman explores the city's wide-ranging music scene

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Is ‘One Week’ Canada’s ‘Into the Wild’?

Is ‘One Week’ Canada’s ‘Into the Wild’? Photo by machernucha via Flickr (Creative Commons)

For such a vast (and, like its neighbor, public-transportation-challenged) country, Canada hasn’t produced as many great road trip movies as you might expect. Sure, there’s the quirky Thunder Bay-to-New Orleans indie, Highway 61, but most of the action takes place south of the border. And Dan Aykroyd’s brief cameo in “Canadian Bacon” never gets old, but if you want to be a purist about it, that’s an American-made movie. So there’s a void waiting to be filled here—and this week, we may finally have a candidate to fill it.

One Week stars Joshua Jackson as the terminally ill Ben, who decides to give up the daily grind and ride a vintage motorcycle from Toronto to Tofino, British Columbia, visiting corny landmarks and touching random strangers’ lives in unexpected ways as he goes. (Sound familiar?) Throw in a few cameos from Canadian rockers, an inevitable hockey reference or two, and some stunning wide-angle shots of mountains and prairie, and you get—as the Globe and Mail’s Liam Lacey puts it—an “alarmingly life-affirming road movie.” The film opens across Canada this Friday. There’s no word yet on a U.S. release, but we’ll keep you posted; I’m betting the scenery alone will make this one worth seeking out. Check out the trailer and see for yourself:

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Morning Links: Mexico Travel Alert, Mardi Gras Tips and More

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Missing Mardi Gras

Missing Mardi Gras Photo by Tri-X Pan via Flickr (Creative Commons)
Photo by Tri-X Pan via Flickr (Creative Commons)

There’s a gaping evil awful hole in my collection of travel experiences: not only have I never been to Mardi Gras, I’ve never even been to New Orleans. (OK, while I’m admitting to things, I’ve never seen “The Godfather” either but I guess that’s an issue for another website.)

While I won’t be able to correct the situation by this year’s Mardi Gras, I plan to right the wrong come 2010. In the meantime, I’ll continue to obsess from afar. With a piece of King Cake and a ridiculously tall plastic cup filled with some sort of soul-drenching beverage by my side, I’m going to read and watch as much as I can about both Mardi Gras and New Orleans. After the jump, some of the goodies in my from-afar primer.

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Morning Links: The Belgian Flair for Comics, New Orleans Street Theater and More

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One Traveling Man’s Weak-Dollar Dating Survival Kit

With superior dentistry and monolingual charm, you too can pick up women overseas. Rolf Potts gets all Maxim magazine.

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Morning Links: Flushing the French Quarter, Car-Rental Madness and More

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When is Gas Station Food Better Than Restaurant Food?

Next time I go to Louisiana, I’m bringing along this article, by writer Nathan Stubbs, about great Cajun cooking in Acadiana gas stations and convenience stores. Sounds like I’ll eat a thousand times better than I did on my last trip to Louisiana, when my assignment was to sample as many Shreveport casino buffets as my digestive tract could tolerate. Any time anyone waxes envious about my glamorous travel writing life, I tell them about that trip.

The best advice I have, should you happen to find yourself dining in a Shreveport casino: Stick to the home cooking station. The next best advice: Avoid the pizza. The next next best advice: Ditto the Chinese food. The best best advice: Eat elsewhere. But you probably knew that.

Morning Links: Stilwell Road, the Delta Queen and More

Tajikistan Photo by David Raterman

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Café du Monde in New Orleans: ‘Nostalgia Can Make Even a Local Into a Tourist’

This 146-year-old establishment, home to iconic beignets and coffee, is far more than a tourist-driven coffee shop. As Francis Lam writes in Gourmet, Café du Monde is the place where many New Orleanians sought respite during the Hurricane Katrina recovery.

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‘When the Levee Breaks,’ Then and Now

New Orleanians are letting out a collective sigh of relief following Hurricane Gustav’s less-destructive-than-expected pass through the area. This time around, thankfully, the levees held—but as Wired reminds us in this look back at the much-covered blues classic When The Levee Breaks, flood anxiety along the Mississippi had been around for decades before Hurricane Katrina, and isn’t going away anytime soon.

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