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Read more about New Orleans on GoNOMAD

It was once said of James Dean that he had an "insufficient hopefulness" -- a phrase that often comes to mind when people ask what it’s like in New Orleans now, more than a year after the levees broke flooding 80 percent of the city.

"The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere the ceremony of innocence is drowned," writes W.B. Yeats, and even as the rebuilding process begins in New Orleans, a brown water stain, like a nasty "ring around the collar," seems to remain not only on the houses but on the hopes of the people.

As a travel writer with an apartment in the French Quarter for the past 12 years, wherever I go, people ask me about New Orleans. By now you’d think I’d have a ready answer, but somehow it always seems to catch me off guard, fumbling for a response. It’s as though my child has died and a well-meaning stranger at the grocery asks how I’m holding up.

The Best of Times, The Worst of Times

My answers, like the city, are mercurial. And even if I were somehow to find a way to take the exact pulse of New Orleans at a particular moment and accurately articulate it, my response is not likely be one that nice people in nice places want to hear.

Usually I give an ambiguous, Dickens-esque "best of times/worst of times" answer so as to encourage tourism in the French Quarter yet remind that everything is still not OK. All the while I’m really muttering under my breath that New Orleans is like Humpty Dumpty, and all the king’s horses and all the king’s men can’t seem to put Humpty back together again. READ MORE




Louisiana

Bless You." Chicken in the Pot: Mardi Gras Southwest Louisiana Style Story
Crawfish Boil at Susie's Seafood, Morgan City, Louisiana. Click to return to the story.
A street lined with shotgun houses in Donalson, Louisiana - photos by Kelly Westhoff
The grand front entrance of the Rosedown Plantation, which is part of the Louisiana State Park
the Louisiana State Penitentiary Inmate Welfare Fund for educational and recreational supplies. Tickets
from Louisville Kentucky to New Orleans , Louisiana and a number of other iconic locales to tell
Rocking out at the zydeco breakfast at the Cafe Des Amis in Beaux Bridge, Louisiana
Friendship and Hospitality Around the World A Read more GoNOMAD stories about Louisiana A
on the Congo Square AMy Louisiana StageA goes Clarence Carter. He sings to the crowd about
and Louisiana. Visit her website at ja nisturk.com . A Read more GoNOMAD stories by Janis
Dreamscape Morocco's Bougmez Valley: An Unspoiled Shangri-La A Read more GoNOMAD stories about Louisiana A A
. Louisiana produces 40% of the country's oysters. Char-grilled oysters at Drago's My
of sacrifice and prayer of the Lenten season. So it was reassuring to discover Lake Charles, Louisiana

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