Pitt and Jolie in NOLA: The power of pop culture
Five friends announced to me in the last week that they would be leaving town soon. Five friends. Two couples and a spare. That's a lot of friends to have, and don't think I don't feel lucky for knowing each of them, but it's a lot of friends to lose in one week. Add that to the nearly dozen more people I love who've moved away over the last year and a half, and maybe you can understand why I was nearly ecstatic when I first heard
the news about Brad and Angelina moving to New Orleans. I thought, "Well, thank God, that's at least two cool people still in town." And then I thought, "Wait a second ... "
One of the best things about New Orleans has always been that there are so many genuinely interesting people here who seem so painfully unhip -- it's almost as though they have to make an effort to be so fashion backward. And then you get to know them a little and realize they either a)don't care or b) really can't help it, both of which make them seem all that much cooler. You might be standing next to a jowly old man at a club, say, and he might be wearing a faux silk shirt with brightly colored patterns of state drivers licenses on it, and you might be disinclined to engage this fellow -- but chances are that later you'd discover that you'd just been standing next to one of the greatest living record producers ever to work in New Orleans. Or you might seem some skinny old guy with embarassingly big hair (especially for a man his age) limping around at your gym, and he's walking with a cane because some street thug put a bullet through his leg, and you probably wouldn't immediately assume it was Ray Davies until the the story in the paper confirmed it the next day. But that kind of stuff used to happen here all the time.
Now, I'm guessing, there'll be lots of stories about how "sweet" Angelina was while waiting in line for her coffee at CCs, and about how Brad was just "a regular guy" working out at the New Orleans Athletic Club. I thought New Orleans needed weirdly interesting people to keep moving here, in part because it's one of the few places where they'll feel normal. I'm not sure it needs normal celebrities moving here because it reminds them of Namibia.
Just in the time since I started this post and went back to check the name of the film Pitt is currently shooting (it's "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"), the story has already been picked up in a dozen more places. So I suppose if New Orleans is kept on the media radar because of this, certainly there are worse things that could happen.
That said, Cate Blanchett is also here, working on the same film. I'd be really psyched if she stayed.
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