February 16, 2010

Crescent City Cyberscapes

In honor of today's raucous Mardi Gras celebration in New Orleans, we present to you all a series of cyberscapes showing the concentration of numerous New Orleans eccentricities (some good, some bad). We'll mostly let the pretty pictures speak for themselves on this day of celebration, but notice the concentration of activity in these maps in both the French Quarter and the Lower Ninth Ward (see map of New Orleans neighborhoods below for reference).

All User-Generated Placemarks

Things get more interesting when you compare the distribution of placemarks for specific keywords. Unfortunately due to a technical glitch we do not have a map for the term Mardi Gras. But since a main element of the celebration in New Orleans is about processions, using the keyword "parade" provides a good sense of the distribution of activity on Mardi Gras with a large cluster in the French Quarter where the largest (and best known) parades occur.

But Mardi Gras is more than the French Quarter with neighborhood parades and celebrations being a key part of local identity. These events, known as "second lines", have a much different geography within New Orleans. Neighborhoods outside of the tourist district (such as Treme and Broadmoor) emerge as important (and non-tourist oriented) sites for Mardi Gras.

__Second Line_______Parade______

Other New Orleans cultural icons include mapping Beignets (clustered around the Cafe du Monde site) and Jazz. The map of jazz highlights both the French Quarter and the site of the annual jazz festival.


Some of most intriguing results are for the keywords "Hurricane" and "Katrina", each of which highlight parts of the city that were particularly hard hit in 2005. The Lower Ninth Ward neighborhood and the site of the levee break are particularly well documented.


Anyone interested in Hurricane Katrina and Google Maps should see:
Crutcher, M. and M. Zook (2009). Placemarks and Waterlines: Racialized Cyberscapes in Post Katrina Google Earth. GeoForum 40(4): 523-534.

Map of New Orleans Neighborhoods (to orientate yourself)


  1. Your blog was listed as one of note on mine - so, obviously, I was interested. Following you guys would kind of be like living in the show "The Big Bang Theory", and I mean that as a compliment. And, yes, I realize that I would be the ditzy blond (and I like the "mildly or harmlessly eccentric" definition of ditzy) - so I realize that might be detrimental to my image - like one would care. However, I love the show and it was the first thing that came to mind as I rambled through your various blogs. Again, I mean this as a complimentary comment, not a derogatory snark. Have fun, guys!


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.