New Orleans: Don’t be shy!

New Orleans is a honey of a city, its pleasures far more complex than the oft-recounted debauchery on Bourbon Street. There’s so much to see and do in NOLA that you’ll have to make some tough choices, unless you have a couple of weeks to play with. But whatever you do, a dash of social confidence will go a long way; interacting with the people of this beautiful and often beleaguered town is more than half the fun of visiting.

Text by Kris Collingridge | Photo editing by Connie Ricca

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VIDEO ON MSN LOCAL EDITION

42Comments
Nov 15, 2012 12:38PM
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 I worked at Naval Air Station NOLA for a couple of years in the 60s it was one of the best times of my life, I enjoyed the food no 1 and the people were really nice, they come from every where to make themselves at home in the Big Easy. I have friends in Robert La so we visit pretty often as a matter of fact we'll spend Christmas this year in Robert so we'll see ya in just over a month.

New Orleans is town that's easy to enjoy but folks should be aware thar there's plenty of crime in NOLA so drink responsibly and be careful  The Blain Kerns Mardi Gris World is a magical place where you can peek behind the curtain and see Mardi Gras in the making. It's one of the most amazing places in the world that most visitors miss altogether, but it should be on everyones agenda even many locals have never been there it's just across the river in Algiers, and the ferry ride Is free so, LTGTR.

Oct 19, 2012 12:34PM
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A love letter from New Orleans.  Here's some of what I love:

The food is phenomenal - more than you can imagine - not only in our fancy restaurants (which are known for atmosphere and welcoming service, as well), but also in the neighborhood groceries that sell po-boys and have a pot of roast beef and gravy on the side. The music is legendary - it's all around you, everywhere, and like nowhere else.  There’s so much good entertainment, creativity, and outdoor festivals – it’s sometimes hard to choose!

The people are expressive, opinionated, political, and accepting of differences.  If you come in with an attitude, looking down on them or demanding, they may let you know this doesn’t work for them.  But mostly there is friendliness, kindness, and helpfulness.   Every day I am called "darling", “babe”, "honey", "cher", "sweetie" – from the janitor of an office building to the cook at a deli, from the woman in some line with me, to the man giving me directions at the local dry cleaner. (Like:  “Have a nice day” followed by: “You too, babe.”)  It doesn't matter if it's from black or white, man or woman -- it all feels good.

People often come in groups to the JazzFest, but if you’re close-by, you’re part of their group!   Often the same at bars and restaurants.  New Orleans is where strangers talk like they’re family with each other.  It's a place to relax. And people in New Orleans are always ready to celebrate - anything!

There's an old world feeling and distinctiveness about every neighborhood -- and it makes New Orleans a gumbo of its own. There is beauty not only in the grand homes down St. Charles Avenue, but also where the houses are small and narrow, some of them brightly colored in turquoise, fuchsia, purple or yellow. Everywhere it’s green and alive -- with lush gardens and front porches with potted plants, fruit trees in the backyards, everything overgrown because it's a semi-tropical weather here.

Yes, we flooded after Hurricane Katrina -  and the suffering was unimaginable.  We thought we were prepared, but weren’t, and there's some serious finger-pointing over that. But would anyone say Amsterdam or Venice should be abandoned? We love our water - the Lake, the River, the industrial waterways, the bayous. We love seafood and boating and the scenery and smell of waterside living, and we’re proud to provide high-quality seafood to the rest of the country.  The City seemed emptied from Hurricane Katrina, but most of the people who evacuated have tried to come back - or they’ve reconstructed their own “little-New Orleans” in the other places.  We can say today that everyone who lives here "wants" to be here. How many cities can say that? It's a living movie set, and many actors and national personalities have homes here. And they can be who they are, here - they can bicycle in the Quarter or go the shopping centers with their children, and no one bothers them.

The crime is mostly committed by a few young thugs taking advantage of easy opportunities or aiming for vengeance on someone else in their age group - and we are actively working on the issue. This week alone the Archdiocese is distributing 5,000 yard signs that say "Thou shalt not kill."  Most people in New Orleans are religious, and the signs may speak to the offenders. There really is a sense of community here. The people who live here love it - as home.   

A party weekend or a conference in the French Quarter can’t give you all that, Vince, but there’s lots that make lingering, and a return trip, worthwhile. Come back and see!
Oct 19, 2012 10:50AM
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I went to undergrad school in NOLA. Loved it then and return annually( during the Winter) because the People and culture are great. All major cities are dangerous. Being street wise is a plus when traveling to a major city.
Oct 19, 2012 10:26AM
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Vince....who the hell builds and lives in a state on top of an active fault line....specifically...San Adreas fault.  The answer to your question of taxpayer support in New Orleans would be similar if a quake ripped  open So. Cal.....TOUCHE'!!

 

I am from Louisiana but not New Orleans... I enjoy visiting N.O. however would never consider living there...However, I dont critique or condemn the fine citizens of N.O for living there.  Obviously, the rewards of living there outweigh the random risk of loosing it all.

 

I have been to So. Cal...and only partially agree with you.....So. Cal is the land of fruits...I am not sure if anyone there has nuts.

 

 

Oct 19, 2012 10:08AM
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Vinnie sounds like a real doushebag idiot! Sure we have our crime just like other metro areas but knowing where to avoid like most tourists manage and have a great time. Never heard complaint about people not friendly before, sounds like a crack head comment! LOL!
Oct 19, 2012 10:04AM
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new orleans is its on  planet. it has great culture, food, and  if you like to let your hair down ,you can go from a-z. but it;s the crime & other problems that  out weigh the positives there.  it ;s not for everyone to see or visit. you need to have an open mind or just be real people. if your racist, old school or live in a bubble then you need to keep your stupid butt out of  the city. the city needs to get extra  tough with the one;s that keep new orleans a hot mess.,that includes locals & the drunken northerns.
Oct 19, 2012 10:03AM
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Love da big easy. Worked their for two yrs on and off shore, and I met the most wonderful people with whom I'm still friends after 30yrs.  They speak better Brooklyn than I ever did, and if you have a problem with cultural diversity, then stay in the suburbs where you are.  And I lived on the West Bank which is a whole other culture besides the persons who reside in the city.  I can still hear "y'all don't forget to come back now"  or my other favorite was "see y'all in church on Sunday"  You will put on some weight-for true.
Oct 19, 2012 9:56AM
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Yep, ".... bring plenty of cash" is definitely the theme. Overpriced everything. And friendly people -- not what I experienced.

Seemed to be an attitude of spend your damn money and go back where you came from!

Also, seriously -- who the hell builds and lives in a city that is BELOW sea level on the coast????

Wonder how much the taxpayers of the entire USA pay every year just to maintain flood controls and keep this city from being reclaimed by mother nature.

And they say southern CA is the "land of fruits and nuts"! Ha.

Oct 19, 2012 9:33AM
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I have also had the pleasure of visiting New Orleans and being asked "Whay's the money at?". "Who Dat"

 

"We Dat"

-The Washington Redskins

Oct 19, 2012 9:19AM
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New Orleans and Las Vegas are the two biggist **** s in amerika

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