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  #41  
Old Posted Aug 9, 2019, 4:48 PM
eschaton eschaton is offline
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Originally Posted by BG918 View Post
The difference is that New Orleans itself is heavily black while in Charleston most of the blacks live in North Charleston while the historic peninsula is majority white.
I'm not sure this really matters to be honest. While New Orleans is mostly black, there are a ton of white neighborhoods, incuding basically a continuous band running from Bywater all the way out past Tulane.

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  #42  
Old Posted Aug 9, 2019, 5:53 PM
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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.
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  #43  
Old Posted Aug 9, 2019, 5:59 PM
lio45 lio45 is offline
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Charleston's a lot closer than New Orleans to the Northeast. That's a major factor right there.

Same reason why Western Canadian snowbirds all go to Arizona while Eastern Canadian snowbirds all go to Florida. Closest place that fits your criteria has a huge edge over the others.
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  #44  
Old Posted Aug 9, 2019, 6:05 PM
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New Orleans is not the traditional 'south' but its own thing with its own unique culture and vibe. Southern Louisiana in general marches to the beat of its own rhythm. Lafayette is coon ass Cajun country and they too are different from New Orleans and the rest of the south. North and central LA are more typical southern. There are some superficial similarities to Savannah and Charleston..mostly Savannah..esp compared to New Orleans' Garden District area but that ends there.

Plus, Savannah and Charleston are quaint, New Orleans is not.
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  #45  
Old Posted Aug 9, 2019, 6:06 PM
Crawford Crawford is offline
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I spent some time in Savannah about a year and a half ago. It's beautiful, but I don't think people realize how small the "urban" part of the city really is. The downtown area proper only has about 3,400 residents. If you add in the historic, but slightly newer/less walkable areas surrounding Forsyth Park, there's another 40,000 or so. The walkable area is tightly restricted by the river to the north, and really unfortunate urban renewal decisions (along with large heavily black housing projects) to the east and west. The only place it seems to organically merge with the surrounding fabric is to the south, where it's racially mixed and seems to be gentrifying, forming a straight up "white corridor" directly to the more suburban areas like Chatham Crescent.
I've never visited Savannah, but this is my impression of Charleston, and why I'm a bit confused about the city's draw.

Charleston has a gorgeous core, but the really attractive stuff covers at most a square mile. It probably has about as much pre-auto fabric as random older Northern cities like Kingston, Portland and Lancaster, but almost no one visits or moves to these places for urban charm, and magazines don't rank these places above Paris as travel destinations. And because you can only preserve the charm by keeping as-is, all the growth is on the fringe, and doesn't look different from the stuff you see in every other booming SE Sunbelt metro.

To me, Charleston is basically another Charlotte-Raleigh type transplant city, but with a cute historic core instead of glassy skyscrapers. They have built quite the reputation, though. People are moving from places with existing neglected historic cores to sprawl, on the pretext that they value historic cores.

And that also has me wondering if you put say, Kingston, in say Alabama, would it be a hot city? If Charleston were say in NJ would it be a backwater?
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  #46  
Old Posted Aug 9, 2019, 6:11 PM
Crawford Crawford is offline
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Charleston's a lot closer than New Orleans to the Northeast. That's a major factor right there.
I think that's a big factor. It also attracts a ton of Ohioans, but Ohio is a day's drive too.

And the demographic attracted to Charleston (preppy older upper-middle class white, conservative-leaning Northerners) probably don't have a favorable impression of NOLA.
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  #47  
Old Posted Aug 9, 2019, 6:16 PM
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Again. New Orleans is a lot further away and not retirement material. Someone living in small town Ohio or Upstate New York is not going to retire in a city as big or bigger than the one they currently live in. That's like me moving to Jakarta at 80 to wind down...

Charleston is pretty small.
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  #48  
Old Posted Aug 9, 2019, 6:21 PM
Crawford Crawford is offline
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Again. New Orleans is a lot further away and not retirement material. Someone living in small town Ohio or Upstate New York is not going to retire in a city as big or bigger than the one they currently live in. That's like me moving to Jakarta at 80 to wind down...

Charleston is pretty small.
NOLA MSA has 1.27 million (and barely growing), Charleston MSA has 787k (and growing like gangbusters). So, yeah, NOLA is bigger (and feels much bigger), but they'll probably have comparable populations within 20 years or so.

And I agree that retirees probably prefer smaller, sleepier metros, but I think Charleston also attracts a lot of Northern families.
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  #49  
Old Posted Aug 9, 2019, 6:27 PM
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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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  #50  
Old Posted Aug 9, 2019, 6:37 PM
jtown,man jtown,man is offline
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Originally Posted by sopas ej View Post
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.
I agree NO had a more liberal view on black people for the South(isn't saying much) but to say "slave family members were never separated/sold away from each other" couldn't be further from the truth. NO had the largest slave market in the United States by time the Civil War started. Sure, the vast majority of these slaves were imported from the Upper-South but to act like NO was some mecca of tolerance of blacks that they didn't even sale slaves is far from the reality.

Also, again yes NO punched above their weight in terms of their free black population, to say "free blacks were almost non-existent" in other areas is incredibly far from the truth.
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  #51  
Old Posted Aug 9, 2019, 6:55 PM
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I agree NO had a more liberal view on black people for the South(isn't saying much) but to say "slave family members were never separated/sold away from each other" couldn't be further from the truth. NO had the largest slave market in the United States by time the Civil War started. Sure, the vast majority of these slaves were imported from the Upper-South but to act like NO was some mecca of tolerance of blacks that they didn't even sale slaves is far from the reality.

Also, again yes NO punched above their weight in terms of their free black population, to say "free blacks were almost non-existent" in other areas is incredibly far from the truth.
I didn't say that slaves were not sold in Louisiana. I guess I should have specified that married slave couples were not sold separately, and slave mothers and their children were not separated either, unlike in the rest of the south, where slave families were often broken up/sold separately.
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  #52  
Old Posted Aug 9, 2019, 6:58 PM
jtown,man jtown,man is offline
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I didn't say that slaves were not sold in Louisiana. I guess I should have specified that married slave couples were not sold separately, and slave mothers and their children were not separated either, unlike in the rest of the south, where slave families were often broken up/sold separately.
I have never heard that before. And I literally had a class on slavery in New Orleans. Could you please link me up to something substantiating that?
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  #53  
Old Posted Aug 9, 2019, 7:13 PM
lio45 lio45 is offline
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Charleston has a gorgeous core, but the really attractive stuff covers at most a square mile. It probably has about as much pre-auto fabric as random older Northern cities like Kingston, Portland and Lancaster, but almost no one visits or moves to these places for urban charm
But they would, if these places were on the ocean and with a Sunbelt climate. It's a pretty rare and desirable combination, so, no wonder it's expensive.
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  #54  
Old Posted Aug 9, 2019, 7:14 PM
lio45 lio45 is offline
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I have never heard that before. And I literally had a class on slavery in New Orleans. Could you please link me up to something substantiating that?
By 1860 this might have not be true anymore anyway, as the state progressively turned into a more typical state.
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  #55  
Old Posted Aug 9, 2019, 7:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Crawford View Post
Charleston has a gorgeous core, but the really attractive stuff covers at most a square mile. It probably has about as much pre-auto fabric as random older Northern cities like Kingston, Portland and Lancaster, but almost no one visits or moves to these places for urban charm, and magazines don't rank these places above Paris as travel destinations.
I don't think this is quite fair. The total land area of the majority white neighborhoods in the south of the peninsula (everything south of the Septima Clark Parkway, save Eastside, which is still black) is close to two miles. Still, it's a small core overall.

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And that also has me wondering if you put say, Kingston, in say Alabama, would it be a hot city? If Charleston were say in NJ would it be a backwater?
I would say yes in both cases. The South has such a lack of walkable urban places that people really play up what they do have. To the point where people talk about the "urban bones" of Birmingham, which has a dreadful, dead downtown. Plus places like Kingston (though they have a bit going on) tend to languish because there's so many other cute walkable towns with 19th century architecture up and down the Hudson Valley.
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  #56  
Old Posted Aug 9, 2019, 7:21 PM
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I love Savannah. I enjoy it every time I'm there. It is a fun place with its nightlife and its quirkiness. It's beautiful and I love its layout with the squares, tree-lined streets, and walkability.

It does remind me of New Orleans which I also enjoy and feel is the most unique authentic cultural city in the US. Savannah is more tamed than New Orleans but they both like to drink, eat, and party. Although both are near Ocean/Gulf they both are more river cities than ocean, gulf. They both have big annual festivals - Mardi Gras (New Orleans), St. Patty Day (Savannah).
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  #57  
Old Posted Aug 9, 2019, 7:24 PM
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I've never visited Savannah, but this is my impression of Charleston, and why I'm a bit confused about the city's draw.

Charleston has a gorgeous core, but the really attractive stuff covers at most a square mile. It probably has about as much pre-auto fabric as random older Northern cities like Kingston, Portland and Lancaster, but almost no one visits or moves to these places for urban charm, and magazines don't rank these places above Paris as travel destinations. And because you can only preserve the charm by keeping as-is, all the growth is on the fringe, and doesn't look different from the stuff you see in every other booming SE Sunbelt metro.

To me, Charleston is basically another Charlotte-Raleigh type transplant city, but with a cute historic core instead of glassy skyscrapers. They have built quite the reputation, though. People are moving from places with existing neglected historic cores to sprawl, on the pretext that they value historic cores.

And that also has me wondering if you put say, Kingston, in say Alabama, would it be a hot city? If Charleston were say in NJ would it be a backwater?
I think you're discrediting Charleston a bit too much. It has a very distinct vernacular architecture, and it's historic area has some really lively commercial streets that you don't see in a lot of places. King Street is pretty vibrant and active for many, many blocks and I would say the core of Charleston has a more cohesive stretch of commercial urbanism than just about any city in the south outside of New Orleans. There aren't too many streets that look and function like this in the south: https://www.google.com/maps/@32.7843...7i13312!8i6656

It's pretty easy to see the appeal of a place like this: https://www.google.com/maps/@32.7834...7i13312!8i6656

The College of Charleston also injects a bit of life to the core that a lot of cities would definitely love to have. It's a great little city, at least in terms of built form. Its age is also quite unique, as it's older than just about everywhere else in the country, save for a few cities. The gaslights and architecture, and being surrounded by the ocean on three sides makes for a pretty unique environment: https://www.google.com/maps/@32.7745...7i13312!8i6656
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  #58  
Old Posted Aug 9, 2019, 7:38 PM
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It's pretty easy to see the appeal of a place like this: https://www.google.com/maps/@32.7834...7i13312!8i6656
To be fair, most of Charleston doesn't look like that. Rowhouses and things like them are basically limited to the French Quarter and nearby areas (unlike Savannah, where they are more common). The built vernacular across most of the peninsula neighborhoods is detached wood frame houses. Honestly, it reminds me a lot of some of the older residential neighborhoods in New England.
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  #59  
Old Posted Aug 9, 2019, 7:46 PM
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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.
Don't feel sorry for the Black basket-weavers; they are entrepreneurs and those baskets aren't at all cheap. The rolling joke among Black folks in SC is that they dress homely selling their wares but when it's time to go home, they drive off in their BMWs. But I always find it a bit amusing that folks are gallivanting about in a city literally built with wealth generated from the slave trade and generally don't have an issue seeing Blacks in low-wage service occupations, but it's the basket-weavers that are off-putting. Kinda reminds me of folks who get upset when they are told about slavery during plantation tours.

The city of Charleston itself (as well as North Charleston) isn't extremely conservative; Charleston County is reliably blue and relatively gay-friendly. The suburban counties are more conservative of course, as it is the South. For what it's worth, a Congressional seat in the region did unexpectedly flip from R to D in the midterm elections. And while he's nobody's liberal, one of the few Black U.S. Senators we have is from Charleston (Tim Scott).

It's true that Charleston's tourist economy is a bit more upscale than Savannah's and NOLA's and doesn't have a big nightlife element to it. It also lacks an HBCU and all of that results in a smaller Black presence in the historic downtown, but that will change somewhat with the opening of the International African American Museum which will essentially be Charleston's version of the NMAAHC in DC. Otherwise there are plenty of Black folks in the Charleston region living ordinary middle class lives, working at the Medical University of SC, Boeing, the port, or other large employers in the region. What you see in the historic downtown doesn't at all reflect what life is like on a daily basis for the average Charlestonian.
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  #60  
Old Posted Aug 9, 2019, 7:49 PM
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There aren't too many streets that look and function like this in the south: https://www.google.com/maps/@32.7843...7i13312!8i6656
Certainly Miami, New Orleans and Savannah, and college/tourist towns like Charlottesville or Asheville. But yeah, that scene isn't common in the South. But again, it's one street, for a few blocks, with mostly mall chain stores.

And I get the appeal. There are a few residential blocks, near the Battery, that are outstanding and unique, by any standard. And there's a larger prewar area that's pretty solid. I just wonder why Charleston is such an outlier, and so endlessly praised/beloved for being different, when 98% of it looks like any other newer Sunbelt metro, and the people moving there are in typical sprawl.

Like why not Mobile, or Richmond, or Knoxville? No one from Syracuse or Dayton goes crazy for those places, and they too have a few special blocks, milder weather, and water? Mobile has a really interesting core, and zero hype, plus ocean and it's just as hot.
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