Why Does Bourbon Street ‘Smell’? It’s Not What You Think
Over the next 24 or so hours the streets of the New Orleans French Quarter will be filled with people. I think it's safe to safe Mardi Gras has returned in full force to the Crescent City and revelers are ready to let their hair down. But the one thing we all notice when we arrive in New Orleans and in the French Quarter and on Bourbon Street in particular. It's the smell.
It doesn't matter whether you're inhaling the aroma on a hot August afternoon just before a big thunderstorm washes the gutters clean or whether you're breathing in the aroma and the vibe of a Saturday night on Louisiana's most famous street, the "aroma" is still there.
Almost all of us can identify the smell as being that of Bourbon Street but what makes up the aroma? I am sure more than a few of you have considered "urine" as a contributing factor. We can't officially deny that because, especially during Mardi Gras, there is usually an influx of that particular liquid on the streets of the French Quarter.
Some of you are thinking the more solid bodily function or just trash or even good old-fashioned body odor might be the culprit. But the fact of the matter is this, the stuff that gives Bourbon Street its unique smell is what gives New Orleans its amazing reputation. It's the food.
Okay, not necessarily the food but the grease from the food that is prepared in some of the South's most iconic kitchens in the New Orleans French Quarter. Many of those kitchens have grease traps that are filled quite regularly and as was discovered about five or so years ago when Bourbon Street underwent a major renovation, a lot of the grease from the grease traps makes it into the sewers where collects and stinks.
During the renovation of Bourbon Street, many grease traps were renovated as well. The hope was that at least some of the grease wouldn't sneak out into the sewers and eventually into the surrounding waters. After the renovations were complete businesses were put on notice about their grease traps and hopefully, the "sensory experience" that is Bourbon Street has taken a more delightful turn for your olfactory senses.
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