#howtotuesday: Be a Bachelor (or Bacheloress) in New Orleans
With the arrival of summer holidays, pleasure-seekers descend upon New Orleans in full force. Whether you are an “unattached gentlemen or lady of spirit visiting” or perhaps a long-time “resident in the Paris of America,” The Bachelor in New Orleans provides a candid guide to the Crescent City. The charming handbook, printed in 1942 and illustrated with vibrant block prints throughout, launches directly into heart of the matter with “Chapter 1: Of Drink and the Devil,” a guide to New Orleans’ most potent beverages and notable bars (many of which are still in operation today).
Additional chapters provide the Bachelor with instruction on fine dining (“be kind to your food, and it will love you…so will the chef”), curing loneliness, surviving Mardi Gras, and my personal favorite, how not to be a tourist.
According to The Bachelor in New Orleans, in order to avoid the horror of being mistaken as a tourist, one should keep the following don’ts in mind:
- Never, never kick garbage cans! This is a cardinal sin for Bachelors in New Orleans.
- Never stand and stare at any happening, no matter how rare, outrageous, unseemly, or unconventional it may strike you. If an unusual happening is pleasant or gay, a New Orleans Bachelor unobtrusively takes part in it; if it is unpleasant, the Bachelor in New Orleans unobtrusively takes part in something else.
- Never raise your voice above Martha Raye’s level. People across the river and in adjoining parishes have to sleep. In the French Quarter, of course, no one could sleep if a sudden quiet fell in the streets. Bed-occupiers would sit bolt upright, in a cold sweat!
- Never ask an interesting looking individual if he is an artist. He might be one, in which case he will resent you. And if he is not, he may cause you some embarrassment.
- Do not attempt to direct traffic or dance bands while over-intoxicated. You will not do your best job if you have had one too many, and a most remarkable and unpleasant snarl may result.
- If you are a male Bachelor, never make what could be considered the first pass at any woman you have not known all your life. If she is interested, or can be satisfactorily interested, she will make the first pass—and if you are a Bachelor in New Orleans, you will know when it happens. This rule does not apply to female Bachelors in New Orleans: being females, they have their own rules about these matters and do what they’re going to do anyway.
At any rate, don’t be a tourist.
For further tips on thriving in 1940’s New Orleans, visit the Special Collections & Archives to peruse The Bachelor in New Orleans in full.