Illustration by Ryan Alexander-Tanner

I JUST SPENT four full days in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Um, actually it's pronounced Nyawlins. Um, actually it's pronounced Nlwlalwnsyns. Um, actually it's pronounced Nnwnanwnsnylns. Um, actually it's pronounced Norbit.) I'll tell you this: I fucking loved New Orleans. You'd have to be made out of frozen church water to hate New Orleans. Everything has butter in it. I had a lobster bisque that was just a bowl full of melted butter that had been near a lobster for like, ten minutes. There are no forces in New Orleans that will align to keep you from fucking yourself up to heights you haven't been fucked up to since you walked around that party in college with no shirt on drinking 7&7 out of a Brita pitcher (we all did that, don't front).

Bourbon Street is just a barf causeway that runs between shithead bars that sell asshole drinks to dumbfucks, and it's great. Don't like rambly bleating trumpet music? Well if you're in New Orleans, you're wrong. You don't get to have that opinion in New Orleans. The police exist in New Orleans only to make sure you're enjoying the rambly, bleating trumpet music. They certainly aren't doing anything else.

New Orleans doesn't really remind me of Portland at all; they're way hella different cities. Portland is like an Ewok village. New Orleans is Mos Eisley cantina. New Orleans doesn't remind me of Portland at all, except in this one way (I've been blackout drunk there? DON'T DERAIL THIS, IAN. What a dumb name. "Ian."): New Orleans and Portland are both cities obsessed with themselves, and some people in Portland grouse about the city's self-obsession, but REAL TALK: It's fucking wonderful.

I understand that sometimes Portland's celebration of itself can be obnoxious. Sometimes you see that obsession manufactured, and it makes you want to roll your eyes harder than Alicia Silverstone rolled with the homies in Clueless. (CASE IN POINT: That credit union on Hawthorne with all the Portlandy buzz-words on its window: Yoga, Chai Tea, Urban Gardening, Kevin Duckworth's Untimely Death. CUT THAT SHIT OUT, CREDIT UNION ON HAWTHORNE.)

Is that the price we (I guess you, now that I have to live in Glendale, CA) pay, though? If so, fine. Let some people sell schmatta versions of the shit that makes Portland so much fun. For a peculiarity to become an idiosyncratic identity, it needs to be nurtured, obsessed over, celebrated. As frustrating as it is to see "Urban Gardening" used to rope you into a Roth IRA or whatever, it's still pretty fucking cool when your neighbor brings you eggs or zucchini or beer they made. It doesn't suck to walk by a field full of goats after you got day-drunk at the White Owl Social Club. Trust me, I live in Los Angeles now. Every square foot is utilized by Quiznos and Home Depots. Most cities are mostly Hillsboro. Most cities are mostly the Pearl District. Maybe Bourbon Street IS a river of barf, but it's better than a river of bullshit.