Sunday, March 8, 2009

The Long Return of New Orleans

I spent the weekend in New Orleans for a bachelor party. I am a huge fan of New Orleans.

Also known as the Big Easy, the Crescent City, NoLa, among other monikers to be sure, New Orleans brings me to reflect on what a special place it is. It is as culturally rich as any other city our country has to offer. With its deep roots and history and fabulous food, drink and music, New Orleans is an important stitch of our nation's fabric.

New Orleans is a place where imperfection is reached, and then remains. More than three years after Katrina, it is still on its knees, but it seems to be rebuilding slowly. New Orleans can be ugly. There is much crime, but I have found that most of it is drug-related and avoidable.

Despite its troubles, New Orleans helps to keep our country real. It is a familiar place to go where time slows down on you and your conversation is always welcomed. Its people are most hospitable. In its historic neighboorhoods are marvelous houses, often in disrepair.

After coming home from this weekend's trip, I realize just how key tourism is to New Orleans' return as a notable city. In reading the Time magazine article, Has New Orleans Bounced Back?, I learned that, in fact tourism is the lifeblood of New Orleans' economy.

With that, I plea to all of you: take a trip to the Big Easy. You, too, can be part of its recovery, which has as much to do with all of us as it does for the people of New Orleans.

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