Culture Shocked by Tallahassee

The CON: Tallahassee is not New Orleans.

The PRO: I am so excited to start this program, I wouldn’t care if it were in Antarctica!

I can imagine foreign tourists coming here. Their vision of America would fall into line like a strip mall. Football, car dealerships, fast food, chain stores, and strip malls. Everywhere. Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore… or New Orleans as it may be. I’ve been here 24 hours, and have seen more chain restaurants & stores than I ever have in my life. For every Walgreens, there’s a CVS on the next block. For every McDonalds, there’s a Wendy’s. For every Walmart, there’s a K-Mart. For every IHOP, there’s a Waffle House (okay, so I’m happy about the Waffle House). It’s like an amusement park of consumerism for the “average American”. I suppose Orlando got the cool ones. The only positive: because there are so many students in the city, everything is dirt cheap. I even saw one guy buy 4 family packs of Ramen noodles tonight.

So far, this is a college town without the college-town “feel”. I’m wondering where all the charming shops, coffee houses, and music clubs are. At least one of each would be nice and reassuring. Maybe they don’t exist? It’s very obvious that the universities themselves (FSU & FAMU) are the highlight of the city & surrounding area.

Today my wife was talking about this with her new coworker and it seems that the city is aware of this “deficiency”. Currently, urban planners are trying to fabricate a college-town feel by redeveloping a small section of the city. It sounds like something similar to what Austin has done, but so far it’s way behind.

Even the fast food restaurants are football-themed (Go Noles!)…. and to top it all off, I haven’t seen a single street musician (and I drove around forEVER tonight trying to get a feel for things).

I might have to break out some drumsticks and an overturned bucket.

On the other hand, this is just my first impression. I’ll give it another couple years. I have a feeling that once the semester begins, I’ll find a coffee shop with my name on it.

(…and New Orleans is only a 6 hour drive away).


  1. 1. Get a sign saying “Geaux Saints” and put it in your window.

    2. Buy an accordion, a tin cup, and a monkey, and go out and set a precedent!


    PS. Nowhere else on the planet is like NO. It is a city which has inspired several poems and two short stories by me, and I haven’t even been there.

    1. …Window sign will happen. My first craft project (yes, craft project…me) will be a mardi gras inspired wreath. I went shopping for our new foyer – which is, of course, New Orleans flavored..

      Who needs a monkey? I have a husky!

    1. Hi Brooke! I saw your name on the list.. we can definitely go for a drink on the 11th, though it looks like your day will be super-full of all sorts of fun meetings, etc.

      Will email you soon –


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