YES, WE’RE OPEN
He mercilessly disses everyone from Galatoire's to Jaque-Imo's, and casts doubt on the whole idea of rebuilding the city at all, even while surveying the devastation of Gentilly as he eats a po-boy from Zimmer's Seafood. Unbelievable! He also characterizes pre-Katrina New Orleans as a joyless theme park, while making the usual inaccurate outsider's errors, such as assuming the people stumbling still-drunk and blinking from the Bourbon Street bars in the morning are locals, not touristas (or contractors as the case may be now.)
It is just a horrible, horrible culinary poison-pen hatchet job. A sample:
I think people either take to the city or they do not. They buy into the romance, or they abhor the decadence. I know where I stand.
New Orleans was always a three-day stubble of a city, and now, courtesy of Katrina, it’s more like ﬁve. The situation is worse, of course, in the devastated areas, where the floodwaters and the winds did their work. I know we are supposed to salvage what’s left of the city, but what exactly is it that we’re trying to cherish and preserve? I hope it’s not the French Quarter, which has evolved into a illogical mix of characterless housing, elegant antiques stores, and scuzzy bars, a destination for tourists seeking the worst possible experience. The entertainment values are only marginally superior to those of Tijuana, Mexico.
What's so infuriating about it is that this Richman is obviously the kind of smug East Coast hipster who ought to get New Orleans, but he doesn't. Doesn't have a freakin' clue. Thinks he does, but man, does he not.
New Orleans, unique among Soujthern cities, was never much for mealy-mouthed nicey-niceness, but for once I have to follow the moonlight-and-magnolias line: If you can't say something nice, then don't say anything at all.
Thanks to the AV Club's Hater for the heads-up.