My wife and I spent a week down in New Orleans awhile back. I had heard that crime was a bit more prevalent down there than it is in the Northwest so I was on edge a bit. We had a rule that we didn’t stay out after dark because we were doing all of our walking in the French quarter, or close to it.
When we got there we did see some signs warning tourists that the French quarter was considered a high crime area. Now, I don’t want to paint too ugly of a picture because there are tons of great people there, but there did end up being a fair amount of what I’d call “opportunists”. Due to my rain soaked skin color (aka PALE), I stood out like a sore thumb. (my wife did too).
Anyway, on a few occasions, we were approached about giving people money, which by the way, happens in the northwest too. On one particular evening, my wife and I were walking along bourbon street, peering in store windows of places that we wouldn’t have dared gone in. (Okay, I may have dared to go in if I was with all of my college buddies and had been taking advantage of the many types of cool refreshing beverages that are served on Bourbon street).
As we walked along, it started to get dark so we decided it was time to head back to the apartment that we were staying in for the week. About halfway down bourbon street, a man approached us and said, “Bet you five dollars I can tell you where you got your shoes”. Now, I’m not stupid. In the history of mankind, I don’t think a hustler has ever made a bet he didn’t know he was going to win. I said, “No thanks” and tried to walk around him. He had managed to very skillfully move us a little closer to the wall through his feet movements and I found myself with nowhere to go. It quickly became obvious to me that the easiest way out of the situation was to just take the bet and lose. For a split second I thought to myself, “There is no way he would possibly be able to tell me where I got these shoes. Hell, I can’t even remember”. So I said, “Okay, tell me where you think I got my shoes”. He looked at me like I was the dumbest person on the planet and said, “You got em on your feet, now give me my $5.”