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Old Posted Aug 9, 2019, 6:27 PM
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Originally Posted by edale View Post
Anyone who's spent any time in both New Orleans and Charleston knows that there are huge differences in the vibes of each city, and a lot of that is tied to race. Despite having a large black population, Charleston feels very white-centric in its downtown/peninsula. It's preppy and really leans in to the whole Southern Gentry type of feeling. You don't see many black people walking around Downtown Charleston, and I'll never forget one of the first times I visited the city being shocked to see black people sitting in front of the former slave market making straw baskets and such. It feels really....backward. The city and region feels extremely conservative to me, and does not seem like a tolerant or accepting place.

New Orleans has a totally different feel. The black influence is undeniable and inescapable. From the Jazz to the food, to just the visibility of the black population (and black tourists) on the streets around Downtown/French Quarter/greater core area. There's a very large and visible gay presence, too, and I was surprised and delighted to see rainbow flags all over the place when I was there last year. It feels tolerant, weird, a little grimey and gritty. There's a pretty strong hipster influence in NOLA, too. Especially in Marigny and Bywater, and I haven't seen anything like that in Charleston. It just feels totally different.

I think Savannah feels more like Charleston than New Orleans, but I definitely noticed it had a more cosmopolitan and tolerant vibe than Charleston. I think this is probably due to the influence of SCAD and perhaps also their open container laws that are similar to NOLA's. It's decidedly less buttoned up than Charleston, but much more so than NOLA.

The only similarities I can see between the three cities is the architecture (and even then, there are distinct variations in each city), and some of the flora and fauna. Gators and Spanish Moss hanging from large Oak trees are the primary common features, imo.
I've never been to the deep South, but it's very obvious to me why Charleston and New Orleans would have different vibes: Their histories and their cultures.

French Catholic culture is what shaped New Orleans, vs. Anglo Protestant Charleston. Mardi Gras is totally a Christian/Catholic festival after all, but people don't seem to make that connection. When Louisiana was a French colony, though they had slavery, because of the attitudes of the French Catholics, slave family members were never separated/sold away from each other, and there were many free slaves who walked about. Even though interracial marriage was forbidden, it still didn't stop people from having interracial relationships, and a creole/mulatto class developed.

Unlike in the rest of the Anglo Protestant south, where mixed black/white people were on the same class level as full blacks, and free blacks were almost non-existent.
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