Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Things I learned in Nola

Last week I went to New Orleans for a medical conference. I learned some things so I thought I would share! Hold on to your hats.

1. New Orleans is kindly called "Nola" by the locals. 
I found this confusing at first, thinking it was a direction-related abbreviation, like Nolita in New York, or Soho. "How can New Orleans be north of Louisiana?" I asked my hubby. After his blank stare, I was like, "OHHHH."

2. There are slow cookers in plain sight within the cemeteries.
It's true. The above-ground tombs of the famous Nola cemeteries exist because corpses can't be buried due to the high water table. Instead, they're kept above ground in stone tombs/mausoleums after death. Inside, a body in a wooden casket will disintegrate in only a few months to a year. In the summer, the tombs get so hot inside that they basically bake the corpses and vastly speed up decomposition. Our tour guide told us (in a rather perky fashion) that "The New Orleans dead don't go to Hell. They get slow cookered!"

3. Fecal transplants can be funny.
Seriously. This one gastroenterologist gave a talk and an auditorium full of hundreds of internists were nearly peeing in their seats.
 (Do you really want to know what a fecal transplant is? No, you don't. You really, REALLY don't.
Trust me on this. However. If I get an overwhelming response in the comments about it, then I'll do a Medical Mondays on it and gross you all out to the fullest extent of my abilities.)


On that pleasant, scatological note, I'll leave you with a few choice photos from my trip. 

Lafayette Cemetery, New Orleans
House in Garden District with jasmine vines. I'm so proud of this one. That jasmine is Pinterest-worthy!

Sandra Bullock's house in the Garden District (and my big fat thumb in the lower right. No, not a New Orleans ghost!)
Cafe du Monde perfection: cafe au laits with beignets
Happy Wednesday, everyone!

46 comments:

Shelley Munro said...

What gorgeous photos. I've never visited New Orleans and have always wanted to. Maybe one day.

Shelly said...

What a coincidence. I just read an article on fecal transplants (I'm not a medical professional, I just like to read intriguing articles). If you have any jokes on that, I would love to hear them! Glad you got to experience post Katrina NOLA.

Old Kitty said...

Yes. I would dearly love to know the intricacies of a fecal transplant. Thank you.

:-)

Take care
x

Jenny Woolf said...

Love these three things, I didn't know any of them. The beignets look yummy but last time I was in NOLA (as we people "in the know" say) I had to go onto a diet of plain bagel and fruit because the food was so rich. So I guess I would only have ONE of those beignets.. or maybe just TWO....

mooderino said...

I sort of want to know what fecal transplants are, and at the same time I don't. I have a feeling it won't be pretty.

mood

Mark K said...

So has 'Nola' fully recovered now? Those yummy bites look delicious in that cafe photo! Interesting note about the corpses 'cooking' in high summer. Doesn't it smell though?

Great posting, and welcome back :)

Natalie Aguirre said...

Sounds like a fun trip. I can see the doctor in you in what you told us about the trip. Didn't know New Orleans is called Nola.

LD Masterson said...

Okay, now I'm going to have the thought of fecal transplants stuck in my head all day.

But the pictures were great.

Jamie Grey said...

It looks like such a beautiful place and OMG the beignets look amazing. :)

And for some reason I love the idea of the slow cooker coffins. It sounds like something in a story! I think I may have to take a trip there one of these days!

Connie Keller said...

Wow! I've always wanted to visit New Orleans.

Yeah, I think that I'd like to hear about the fecal transplants if only so I can gross out my sons.

BTW, I tagged you on my blog with the Lucky Seven meme. (I hope you haven't already been tagged.)

Jay Noel said...

One of the most haunted cities in the country! See any haunts?

Lydia Kang said...

Mark,
The cemeteries never smell. Even when there's a fresh corpse put in a mausoleum, they "seal" the door with a marble front door and no one smells it. One year later, when they open it up (usually to put another body in; they have a rule that tombs can only be opened up after a minimum of a year and a day) there's just bone fragments and coffin dust. Sometimes just dust. They sweep it to the bottom, slide another coffin in (like a pizza oven) and seal it up again. A single tomb usually houses an entire family's worth of dead.

Cynthia Chapman Willis said...

I love New Orleans! Great photos and information about the cemeteries.

As for the talk: I understand fecal and I know what a transplant is, but I can't imagine how the two would go together. And I probably would rather not know. : )

Slamdunk said...

Thanks for sharing the lovely photos Lydia, and umm, the fecal thing...

David P. King said...

I seriously need to make my way there someday. And not just because the food is excellent. Thanks for sharing part of your trip with us! :)

Barbara Watson said...

Beautiful photos. This is a place I will visit in my lifetime. Thank you for sharing your experience.

Carol Riggs said...

Oh WOW, the slow-cooker tombs. That's gotta be a great story starter idea. LOL And fascinating about the dust and sliding another coffin in like a pizza oven! Umm, yeah, spare us on the fecal transplant. LOL

Suzanne Payne said...

Whoa...Slow-cookered. Something I hadn't thought about. I wonder if they keep the smell of the slow-cooker-ee in check? Love Sandra Bullock's house. Beautiful. And yes, Jasmine was definitely Pinterest worthy!

Roland D. Yeomans said...

Yes, because of the low, low sea level, you can't a good man down in NOLA's cities of the dead ... or a bad one for that matter.

Your photographs are beautiful. In my post of today, I wrote of a tragic circumstance involving a true-life physician who made a harrowing decision concerning the fatally ill patients under her care and the dwindling medical supplies.

I know all physicians must make hard decisions that are easy to Monday Morning disagree with.

As always, your posts are delightful. Roland

Carrie Butler said...

Thanks for sharing your trip with us, Lydia! Great photos! :)

Ghenet Myrthil said...

Thanks for sharing this! My husband and I are actually going to NOLA in a few weeks. It'll be my first time there. I'm looking forward to it! :)

Deb Salisbury said...

I've always wanted to visit Nola! One of these days... I'm really not that far away.

I've been hearing about fecal transplants on the news lately. I make assumptions, but you know the joke about "assume." I vote for a Medical Monday!

bethchristopher.com said...

What a fascinating place. Creeptastic cemeteries and ugh, I can't get the visual out of my mind with the dead "slow cookering" at warp speed.

Another thing I can't get out of my mind. Fecal transplants. I MUST KNOW what they are. If forced, I'll have to look them up on my own, and that's bound to be worse than your kind but thorough explanation. I'm bracing myself...

Nicole McInnes said...

Oh, I want to go to there.

:-0_ _ (those lines are drool from looking at the beignets)

Nancy Thompson said...

One of my favorite cities in the whole wide world!!

Theresa Milstein said...

You won't get any requests for that info from me!

I love New Orleans. I was there in October. Such fun!

Sherrie Petersen said...

Oh man, I LOVE beignets. I've only been to New Orleans once, but what a memorable place. There's nowhere else quite like it.

Kelly Polark said...

Great photos! Looks like a lovely trip.
And yes, I hate to say I am a bit curious about fecal transplants now!

Krispy said...

I've always found the above-ground tombs kind of freaky, but I did not know about the slow cook. That's... I don't even know how to feel about that. I also enjoyed your answer to Mark because I was kind of wondering that myself - like how that kind of oven-ing wouldn't smell.

Creepy/gross stuff aside, those beignets! They look so good!

Angela V. Cook said...

Sounds like you had a lovely trip! Thanks for sharing! Oh, and I love the visual of a roomful of giggly internists (I guess because I always think of doctors as being super serious and professional when it comes to that kind of stuff) ;o)

Karen Lange said...

Love the photos, thanks for sharing them! Didn't know about "Nola"; thanks for bringing me up to speed. :)

Coleen Patrick said...

I lived in New Orleans for two years--it really is a cool place. I was in middle school at the time and the above ground tombs were definitely one of the unforgettable things!

Carol Kilgore said...

I do love NOLA, and visit every chance I get. We were there last October, and already I want to go back.

Critique Sisters said...

We're thinking of holding our annual writer's retreat there next year. Thanks for all the info on it. It certainly sounds as colorful as everyone says it is. Slow cooked... *shudders*

Maurice Mitchell said...

LYdia, the jasmine vines picture is astonishingly beautiful. Great job. We slow-cook the dead. That should be the tourist board's next slogan.
The Geek Twins

Leslie Rose said...

I've wanted to go to New Orleans FOREVER. Now I'm even more motivated. Okay, HAVE to know about fecal transplants - no fair teasing when it comes to excrement.

Caryn Caldwell said...

Wow! Ive always heard that New Orleans is a one-of-a-kind place. Now I know it is!

Loved your photos, too!

Crystal Pistol said...

Beignets are a gift from the gods. Delicious.

The idea of slow cookered corpses really grosses me out.

Rachna Chhabria said...

Great pictures, Lydia. I was wondering what is Nola. I do want to visit it.

Chris Phillips said...

I've actually been thinking of getting a fecal transplant. My friends have been telling me my shit's been getting old now for quite some time. Thoughts?

Also, do they put the donor poop in a cooler to transport it?

DL Hammons said...

I spent eight years of my life dividing time between Baton Rouge (where I went to LSU) and New Orleans (where my parents lived). I attended Mardi Gras twice. It is one of those cities I consider myself lucky that I got to experience. :)

Catherine Stine said...

Yes, I knew about those above ground mausoleums. NO is quite the place, and full of ghosts!

Hema P. said...

I have visited Baton Rouge quite a few times and have fallen in love with the character and laidback ambience of the city all over again every time. Your lovely pictures tell me that I must make a serious detour through Nola next time I'm in that state.

alexia said...

I'm from the south, but never been to New Orleans. Great pics! Man, do I love beignets and coffee!

Stephanie Thornton said...

Cafe du Monde is amazing, isn't it? I'm convinced they're the only place on earth with real beignets.

And the cemetery info is totally intriguing! I played with dead people for a while in grad school, but hadn't learned that about New Orleans. Convenient and interesting!

Chris Coyle said...

Ironically, I just came across this post by doing a Google search for "New Orleans" and "Fecal Transplant." My Mom got pneumonia in Jan while visiting with friends in FL and ended up in the hospital there, only to contract a nasty bacteria - C Difficile.

None of the meds have been working, so having heard of the fecal transplant as a better option, I was looking it up to see if anyone local to her performs them. I don't suppose you caught any local names at that conference??

Yes, it sounds gross, but if it works, it's better than living like you've got a bad stomach virus for an undetermined amount of time. It goes on for years with some people. Not pretty!

As for NOLA, I lived there for 13 years myself. Sadly, because of the LA in my address, one friend told half the world I had moved to CALIFORNIA!!! [insert eye roll]

 
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