MARIE LAVEAU'S, NEW ORLEANS

One of the really special things about the French Quarter is that these incredibly old buildings are not roped off and hermetically sealed and patrolled by potbellied security guards. Marie Laveau's is a tacky voodoo souvenir store; Lafitte's blacksmith shop down the street, which is--hold on a minute, let me wikipedia its ass--yes, which is the third oldest building in the world, is now a bar with a big old blacksmith's fireplace-thing in the middle of it. No frou-frou Colonial Williamsburg here. Okay, sure, both places are infested with humorously-attired people from Kansas, but at least here they're all staggering drunk. Colonial Williamsburg could stand to loosen its merkins a bit and offer Huge Ass Beers along with the Brunswick Stew and Hoppin' John. Having to sidestep a pool of vomit would lend a real air of authenticity to experiencing the birth of our country.