I didn't think I could love a city as much as Austin -- but honestly -- and (shhhh, don't say a word to anyone else) I might love it a little bit more. But before all of my Texans have a heart attack, let me explain.
New Orleans has the most extraordinary resilience and the deepest soul, I think of any city in the U.S. It's magical, truly.
You really can only understand it by living there, by spending time with the locals, by hearing their stories, by seeing the remnants of Katrina, by walking the French Quarter as the sun rises with beignet powdered sugar coating your shirt, by walking Aududon Park as the sun sets behind the giant moss-covered oaks, by having coffee at Rue de la Course, by drinking (the best) mint juleps at 10 am at Atchafalaya, by hearing jazz music floating on the breeze, by being hugged and kissed by a million people on Bourbon Street after winning the 2010 Superbowl, by seeing beads hanging from power lines, by sitting on the front porch of the Columns hotel having a cocktail or the revolving Carousel bar in the Monteleone having another cocktail, by wandering Magazine street on a lazy Saturday, by sitting in a global seminar at Tulane (with heads of state in attendance) listening to the president of Tulane talk about how he escaped the Katrina floods by golf cart, then a boat, then hot-wiring a dump truck in order to flee the city.
These are the memories and the stories that I carry in my heart from my time in New Orleans and why I love it so very much. I'm grateful to have had the opportunity to have lived there and experienced what this extraordinary city had to offer.
Today is Mardis Gras. (Hence my posting about New Orleans today), and I know, the party is well underway as I write this. I'll be heading back there on Saturday to spend a week meeting with my dissertation committee and visiting with the amazing friends I've made in the city and in my Ph.D program. I will do my best to post some daily updates and photos because I will be getting my 'fix' of Nola, rest assured!