GIGO stands for Garbage In, Garbage Out. I learned this in college, probably in the same prehistoric computer class that taught me the word processing program, “Word Star.” A computer is not a thinking organism and it will process all data the same, and I guess that is why I was driving down Bourbon Street with my kids this weekend.
I entered 800 Iberville as the address of our hotel, and followed the GPS down past the Superdome and right onto Bourbon Street. This street should be closed to all non-pedestrian or mini-Cooper traffic. There should be a sign re-routing all SUV traffic around the street, just like hazardous cargo. Under NO circumstances should any GPS programming EVER take you down Bourbon street, even if it IS the shortest distance to your destination. Truly, I cannot begin to fathom the “logic” that was going to have me take the Airline Highway back to Baton Rouge from the French Quarter. I am guessing those programmers are somewhere safe in their bunker, snickering.
Louisiana presents a niche opportunity for the right programmer to sell to GPS companies. In the two largest cities, New Orleans and Baton Rouge, the streets change names after crossing another street, with no warning. One minute you are on Carondelet Street, then you cross Canal and BAM! you are on Bourbon. Better hope nobody ran off with the street sign as a souvenier, cause then you are lost, buddy. Take any exit off I-10 in Baton Rouge and cross Perkins Road and you will find yourself somewhere else; like on Staring Lane, looking for Essen.
Maybe we could get the Swamp People to do the voice directions, too. They could say stuff like, “Turn dat car ’round now ‘fore ‘dem kids sees dem swangin’ laigs.” Or, “Mais, non. You don’t want to go down that Airline Highway, no. Dey don’t have no good boudin dere.” Seems like the companies might want to add driving tour stuff to their package to have a competitive advantage. Regional voices would be nice and commentary about unique sights and driving hints.
In smaller, north Louisiana towns they could have the voice of Dale from King of the Hill alert people approaching towns known for speed traps: “Bettrslowatdangcardownoryou’llgitaticketItellyouwhat.” I know people from Texas who call Robeline a “toll town” because they have to pay just about every time when passing through. They’d be willing to cough up an extra fifty bucks for advice that will keep their insurance costs down. There are all sorts of things that I think could improve my GPS experience. Wonder if I could get paid for driving around testing out directions and reporting back? I may have to explore my options.