NOLA transplant feeling right at home
Until three years ago, Turo host Chris O. was in Alaska, inspecting ships for the Coast Guard in the small Aleutian fishing port of Dutch Harbor. You may have heard of it — the Discovery show “Deadliest Catch” chronicles the grueling trials of Dutch Harbor’s fishing fleet in the Bering Sea. Chris had heard of Turo and was intrigued enough to thoroughly research the marketplace, but there was no need for car sharing in a tiny Alaskan fishing port with seven miles of paved roads.
Then, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill wreaked havoc on the Gulf of Mexico, and the Coast Guard reassigned Chris to New Orleans to help with the cleanup effort. He soon fell in love with the Big Easy and its lively cultural melting pot.
“There’s always something going on — lots of events in the community,” says Chris. “I’m trying to stay as long as possible.” New Orleans is a city famous for its unique blend of European, Southern, and Caribbean influences — a distinctly American complexion. But NOLA provided Chris with more than interesting culture when he relocated from Dutch Harbor. It gave him a big city where he could finally try out the car sharing service he’d read so much about.
Chris rides a Vespa scooter to get around town, so he listed his Toyota Yaris soon after moving to the Crescent City. Through sharing his Yaris, Chris quickly got to know his new city, its residents, and its visitors, which only enhanced his opinion of his new assignment in the South.
Now, Chris combines the hosting gig with his Coast Guard duties. He’s added a handful of vehicles over the last couple years, and with over 435 trips completed today, he is the most active Turo host in the entire New Orleans area.
Chris commands a fleet of five compact cars which are fuel-efficient and easy to drive. He has owned different types of vehicles, and in his experience, the small economical cars are perfect for zipping around New Orleans and visiting the sites outside the city. His lineup includes a Toyota Prius C, a Nissan Versa Note, and a Honda Insight, which are all ideal for navigating NOLA and parking on its narrow streets. And the modest gas bills are a welcome bonus.
New Orleans ambassador
Chris loves that New Orleans runs at a relaxed pace, but the fun is non-stop. In the birthplace of jazz, the music is flowing and the party doesn’t stop. There’s fantastic energy in the community. Chris most appreciates the great enthusiasm locals have for putting on shows and parades. He has many friends who march or play music or design floats as members of parade krewes. The food isn’t half bad either.
When visitors come to town and rent from him, Chris adopts the role of New Orleans ambassador — a responsibility that he absolutely savors. “New Orleans is unlike any other city in the US,” he says. “It’s a gem.” Chris knows about a little something for people of every taste, but there are a few sure-fire hits that he recommends to travelers coming through.
Chris suggests touring the old plantations outside of the city for anyone looking for a taste of old-fashioned Southern charm. The beautiful and sleepy countryside provides a wonderful backdrop during a cruise out to see the plantation houses of the old South.
A vacation in the Mississippi River Delta is incomplete without a tour out on the bayou. Swamp tours are the best way to see fully-grown gators in their natural habitat and are just about mandatory for an authentic Cajun experience.
Of course, the nightlife in New Orleans is hard to beat. But besides the jazz clubs and endless French Quarter bars, Chris reckons NOLA has a healthy and rapidly growing craft brew scene that’s worth checking out. There are at least a couple dozen breweries, taprooms, and distilleries that are either in the city or a manageable drive away to the surrounding Louisiana country.
If you ever find yourself down in the Big Easy, hit up Chris for a zippy ride and expert pointers on everything the city has to offer. Whether for Mardis Gras, another festival, or a more casual weekend trip, New Orleans has got it goin’ on.
NOLA native? Join us for our New Orleans community party tomorrow and meet other hosts and guests in the New Orleans community.