Regina LoBiondo | Senior Staff Photographer
Freshman year is exciting—a time of transitioning, learning and discovery. Know that if you are reading this as an incoming freshman from out of town, you have a whole lot to discover. Living in any new city comes with its own unique set of trials and understanding when it comes to the shift in customary norms, but living in New Orleans, you are in for a bit of a culture shock.
Whether you are coming in with a blank slate or a full catalog of preconceived notions, there is no place that comes without its own set of myths. Everyone knows “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” and “everything is bigger in Texas,” but what about New Orleans, and more specifically, Tulane?
Well, first, and most importantly, Bourbon Street is a myth. Not literally, of course, but you’ll probably be able to count on one hand—two hands max—the number of times you venture there as a freshman. This isn’t necessarily because Bourbon Street is an inherently bad place—it’s just that New Orleans has so much more to offer that doesn’t smell strongly of urine, alcohol and poor decision-making.
Art museums such as the New Orleans Museum of Art and the Ogden Museum of Southern Art showcase gorgeous exhibits. Jazz musicians and exquisite cafes line Frenchmen Street. Jackson Square is home to interesting art vendors and street performers, and outside the stunning Saint Louis Cathedral, you can even get a tarot card reading (the authenticity of said tarot card reading, however, is debatable).
In the spirit (pun intended) of tarot card, palm and psychic readings, keep in mind that no matter what Disney’s animated “The Princess and the Frog” shows you, a Voodoo man will not stop you in the French Quarter to hex you. Not once during your entire academic career at Tulane will you get cursed—in fact, the most you will probably come in contact with Voodoo will be the appropriated, bastardized versions of the actual practice poached and sold to tourists. While Voodoo itself is definitely not a myth, most of what you will encounter in the city labeled as ‘Voodoo’ is not the real deal.
The culture of New Orleans, however, is the best part of the city. There is no other city in the United States that boasts over 130 festivals per year. In fact, Travel and Leisure Magazine named New Orleans the Number One Best City for Festivals in America. There is French Quarter Festival, Southern Decadence, New Orleans Film Festival and many others, not to mention countless Mardi Gras celebrations.
As a Tulane student, you will be tossed into a whirlwind of activity, which brings us to the final myth: Tulane is a party school. While, yes, Tulane students like to have fun, they also enjoy learning. Tulane is more than just a party school—it is a research institution, a higher learning think tank and a second home to many.