Keep This in Your Trunk if You Plan on Traveling from Lafayette to NOLA Anytime Soon
As much as I hate to admit it, I've reached a point where I can't ignore what's happening in New Orleans.
We've all got different algorithms on social media, but either I've got the one that ONLY highlights New Orleans vandalism or things are really wild in the 504 right now. Sadly, it's not just my timeline; and the facts back up the latter as carjackings, smashed windows, and general lawlessness has been a black cloud over a beautiful city known for its joy, culture, and overall laissez-faire way of life.
I've had friends who were carjacked at extremely busy intersections, robbed of all of their DJ equipment. I've personally had someone tell me about vandals strolling through uptown neighborhood streets, smashing in windows as they walk by each car along the sidewalk in broad daylight.
Friends working on movie crews have told me how discouraging it was to walk out into a parking lot after working all day to see every single car had been broken into. These are just a few of the personal grievances that I've heard directly from individuals on top of the stories that have made headlines out of NOLA—including the horrible story about the woman who was dragged by her own SUV being stolen while pumping gas at a Costco after work.
Luckily, she survived.
But not everyone has been so lucky.
Like I said earlier, I absolutely hate writing this. I hate that I actually have to admit this, but I've also realized that I can no longer be one of the people who love New Orleans SO much that I just chalk up what's been happening to carnival season, coincidence, or the classic victim-blame of "you gotta pay attention/probably took a wrong turn/that's just how it is in some parts of the city."
While I do believe in accountability, I don't think laying all the blame on elected officials and police is the answer either. It definitely won't make things magically go away, and having your head on a swivel and being prepared is probably your best bet at the moment.
The following pro-tip stems from one of the recent unfortunate NOLA experiences that I saw on my timeline. A family member was traveling to NOLA to catch a show with his kids. They enjoyed ice cream at one of their favorite New Orleans creameries before taking in a great comedy show.
It was the perfect family day trip to NOLA until they all walked out to their SUV and noticed the rear driver's side window was completely smashed in.
Upon further review, they realized that the thieves made off with a school-issued Chromebook, a pink water bottle, and a backpack belonging to his 5th-grade daughter.
The family's father has frequented New Orleans regularly for nearly the past 25 years, but at that moment he realized things were different.
I've always known when I've been in a bad spot down there, and you just pay attention accordingly. Now that's all out of the window.
What's worse is that to avoid having to drive home to Lafayette for 2 hours in freezing temperatures at 70mph, they would have to come up with a quick solution.
Luckily, the Target in Metairie is open until 10 p.m.
You know, it's truly sad to say this but it's probably a good idea to make sure you have some type of foam board, cardboard, or coverup readily available if your plan to visit New Orleans involves parking or leaving your vehicle unattended anytime soon. Duct tape and some type of cutting tool are also not bad to have just in case.
By the way, if you don't have those supplies and find yourself in NOLA with a smashed out window, the family tells me that the science fair foam boards are located in the front left of that Metairie Target store (which are actually great for sound and temperature insulation for the long drive) and the box cutters and tape are in the back left.
Or there is always this route.
With all that said, I'm not giving up on New Orleans, and neither should you. But it never hurts to be prepared.