Right after the Flood, I began calling New Orleans Debrisville. In fact, my inaugural First Draft post was entitled Greetings From Debrisville. It wasn’t much of an inauguration, there was no 21 gun salute and we drank beer instead of champagne.
Anyway, the New York Times seems to be jealous of how many hits Buzzfeed generates with clickbait so they published a ludicrous article about hipster musicians, actors, and artists who have moved to New Orleans. It’s written by some silly billy named Lizzy Goodman who treats the aforementioned hipsters as if they were cultural anthropologists. The story starts off dippily and gets stupider the more you read. I have bold faced the money quote, the one that set NOLA twitter ablaze yesterday with mockery:
“New Orleans is not cosmopolitan,” said the actress Tara Elders. “There’s no kale here.”
We were sitting outside at Sylvain, a restaurant in the French Quarter that Mr. Huisman said “takes Southern cuisine and pushes it a bit more modern.” With its elegant but rustic décor, cocktails featuring noirish names (Blood in the Gulfstream, Dead Man’s Wallet), and inventive food, Sylvain wouldn’t be out of place in Brooklyn — but Ms. Elders said spots like this are still the exception. “So many of the cool places here are really rundown,” she said. “And not because a stylist designed them that way.”
On the unintentional comedy meter, this story was off the charts. NOLA Twitter went nuts over the kale crack. Here’s a sampler:
“I’m not sure, but I’m almost positive that all leafy greens came from New Orleans.” – Ernie Kale-Doe #nytkale
— Alison Fensterstock (@AlisonF_NOLA)March 6, 2014
— Paul McMahon (@PaulMcRambles)March 6, 2014
— Campbell Robertson (@campbellnyt)March 7, 2014
The good news is the colonizers have downgraded from Christianity to introducing the natives to kale.
— skooks (@skooks)March 6, 2014
My favorite rapper: Mystikale
— James Cullen (@AccidentalCajun)March 7, 2014
@jlhm3 I answered the, uh, kale of duty. Thank you, sir.
— Shecky in Kaleville (@Adrastosno)March 6, 2014
That’s right, ladies and gentleman, you should judge a community by its vegetables. Of course, kale is readily available at grocery stores and eateries throughout my city. One would have thought that these daring “cultural anthropologists” would have explored that avenue of inquiry but they did not.
In faux defense of the honor of my adopted hometown (I’m a transplant but I didn’t expect anyone to applaud me for moving here) I will start calling it KALEVILLE. No, not K-Ville like the crappy short lived Fox cop show but KALEVILLE. Hmm, maybe that show would have made it if they’d had kale parties instead of gumbo parties because it’s more on trend according to Gwyneth and GOOP.
Another thing I learned from New Orleans rising from the ashes and becoming Kaleville is that the received wisdom handed down by generations of comedians that K is a funny letter is true. Henny Youngman, Groucho Marx, and my personal role model, Shecky Greene are happy campers right now. Of course, Shecky is by far the happiest because he’s still alive…
This preposterous article and the punny reaction to it have a semi-serious subtext. Some of the folks who are moving to our city view the locals as either zoo animals or characters in the teevee show Treme. The term hipster does not do justice to the vacuous malakatude of this sub-set of newbies. When I asked for alternatives on the Tweeter Tube, one from a fellow Spankster stood head and shoulders above the rest:
— Sue Strachan (@SueStrachan504)March 6, 2014
There you have it kale fans: Welcome to Fauxhemia. That trail blazing band the New Fauxhemians will open their set with the New Orleans classic Ikale Ikale and may even play kale to the chief while heeding the kale of the wild. Okay, I’ll stop now and give the last word to Frank Zappa and the Mothers with their classic song Kale Any Vegetable: