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A Massachusetts Yankee in King Louis' Court

I have spent the past week in Louisville for work.  While I am generally cranky about travel that takes me away from home and family for extended periods (in fact, I am cranky right now!), I have to say that I have found Louisville to be totally captivating.  We in the Northeast tend to be a little arrogant about our cosmopolitan lifestyles.   But really, we should get over ourselves.   Louisville has everything Boston has, and then some. 

To start with, these people know how to deploy plastic wildlife.   A few years back in my inner Boston 'burb of Newton, there was a rash of lawn flamingos -- they popped up all over town, in intimate groupings, or occasionally in large flocks.  We were very proud of our sense of civic whimsy.  

Fine.  But check out these red penguins, lined up on the roof of a hotel in the Main Street historic district:

Louisville has hipper-than-hip coffee shops with impossibly cool signage:

They have a BIG damn river -- puts our own River Chuck to shame:

And it's brown, just like ours! 

I have eaten astonishingly well here, some absolutely fabulous food.   Louisville is way into the farm-to-table thing.  One place served me a salad of fresh limas, asparagus and arugula which may be the best thing I've eaten in my life. 

It is also possible to eat quite badly here.   Discount sushi doesn't seem to me to be a particularly good idea:

The local specialty is something called a "Hot Brown."  As I understand it, a Hot Brown is turkey, topped with bacon, drenched in gravy, and smothered in melted cheese.   "A heart attack on a plate," one colleague called it.   But is that really so much worse for you than my own state's cream-loaded clam chowder?   After all, turkey is a very lean meat.

Louisville has a five-story baseball bat:

There is a porn palace conveniently located around the corner from my midtown hotel:

All week they have been advertising a Buy-2, Get-1-Free DVD sale.  Sadly, I have not had a chance to stock up. 

They have this guy:

Him, they can keep.

Hands down, the best thing I stumbled on in Louisville was this man, out for a walk with his 250-pound pet tortoise:

I took this photo on a narrow grassy strip at the edge of a McDonald's parking lot.   How, exactly, do you take your pet tortoise out for a walk to McDonald's?  He's not going to hop into the back seat of your car.   And the curb where I saw them was quite a few blocks from the nearest residential area.   It must have taken hours for this tortoise, who moves at the pace of -- well, a tortoise -- to walk from his home to this tiny patch of lawn in the most urban imaginable part of town.  

No Bostonian would ever have the patience to wait for his tortoise to stroll to McDonald's.   Up north, we are pure hare.



From Ben | On August 15, 2014 @09:23 am
Hi Laurie, thanks for the great post! As a resident of Louisville, I can say you really nailed the downtown flavor in a short time period. Also, thought I'd note that the gentleman with the tortoise has a special cart (made of materials similar to the folding chairs you might take to a picnic) he can use to pull his tortoise to good spots to walk... hopefully that clears up one of those nagging life mysteries for you! Again, thanks.
From Megan | On May 23, 2014 @05:59 am
Chamber of commerce should be thanking you! I love making work travel interesting -- plse give me pointers next month when I make my 6th trip to Orlando since 2011. xxo
From Ellen Rosenthal | On May 22, 2014 @11:10 pm
Hi Laurie, I love your photos and your commentary. You made me smile ... alot! It was great hearing from you. I'm so glad that I have your email to play over and over again. Stay well and say" Hi" to your parents for me. Best, Ellen :)

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