This past week I was in New Orleans...
... that fabled city along a bend of the Mississippi, home to classic jazz, crawfish etouffee, po boy sandwiches, and a confluence of many cultures from around the world.
It's a colorful place with a long and complicated history, and for this traveler, a nearly endless source of great SRS questions. Here are two that popped up for me this past week. Can you help me figure them out?
1. One of the great symbols of New Orleans are the steamboats that used to ply the river. They're wedding cakes on the water, full of color, decoration, and outsized components. They don't use propellers, they use giant paddlewheels driven by large steam engines. One of the most noticeable parts of a traditional steamboat are the smokestacks. In this image of the
Natchez riverboat "City of New Orleans," you can see that the top of the smokestack ends in an incredibly elaborate patterning at the very top. Since you see this kind of thing on nearly all steamboat smokestacks, that made me wonder--is that patterning at the top purely decorative, or does it have some kind of function? What can you find out?
2. While New Orleans is a generally colorful place, three colors seem to dominate: purple, gold, and green. Is this color scheme really a thing? Or am I making a vast overgeneralization?
3. There also seems to be an awful lot of fleur de lis in the decoration of New Orleans, you see them absolutely everywhere (including between the smokestacks above!): Why?
As always, be sure to tell us what you found out.. and HOW you found out! (Tell us your process and citations. We want to learn from you.)