From Rich Campanella’s upcoming book, “Bourbon Street, A History” published this month by Louisiana State University Press. Campanella has long been one of my favorite (quirky) New Orleans historian/writers, as he brings his own flair and point of view to everything he does. He tirelessly walks and bikes and searches for tidbits of history in our city and does much to point out the delicate line between history and lore, while reminding us that sometimes it doesn’t matter which is which.
For all its flamboyance and swagger, Bourbon Street is one of the least pretentious places in town. It’s as utterly uncool as it is wildly successful, and in an era when “cool capital” is increasingly craved and fiscal capital increasingly scarce, there’s something refreshing about a place that flips off coolness and measures success the old-fashioned way: by the millions. And authenticity? Not only does Bourbon Street not try to be authentic, it doesn’t even think about it.