New Orleans is a city with many names and many faces. In the 19th century, it has been referred to as “The Crescent City”. In the early 1910s, it was known as “The Paris of America”, “The Metropolis of the South” but the most common and widely known among all these is the title, “The City that Care Forgot”. So how did this title came about?
The first occurrence in print of the phrase “The City that care forgot” dates back to 1938 and is often credited to the New Orleans City Guide. However, it still isn’t very clear why New Orleans was originally given this infamous title.
One Possible Explanation – A Lack of AC?
The city is known for its heat and humidity. Before air conditioning was introduced, summer months in New Orleans were oppressively hot and humid (Well, it still is. We’re just so lucky we now have ACs). The temperature was so extreme that it influenced New Orleans architecture to create “shotgun” style houses to encourage ventilation.
During those summer months, people are often found sitting out on their porches hoping to catch whatever kind of breeze there is. It was just too hot and humid that people literally don’t care about anything and all they wanted to do was cool off.
They didn’t care about going to the store, preparing dinner, cleaning the house, and almost anything. All they really want to do is to cool off, literally. It was seriously too hot to care about anything. This attitude prevailed even in businesses which made visitors and tourists wonder why people whom they deal with, especially in restaurants, are moving unusually slow as if they don’t care about their clients or customers.
And that’s how the title “The City that Care Forgot” was given to the city. Quite literally right? Today, the term romanticizes New Orleans which often still seems to move at its own pace, not caring of the pace to which visitors are accustomed to. But thankfully, it’s no longer because of the scourging heat. Thanks to the invention of air conditioning unit, summers in the city are so much more comfortable than before.