Earlier this week, I mentioned Fodor’s list of places to avoid in 2018. Almost as soon as the ink dried on that post ( or digital imprint made), I heard on local radio that the New York Times listed 52 places to go in 2018.
What’s number one on the list? New Orleans, Louisiana. I almost laughed out loud. I will never forget the naysayers in the days, weeks, and months after Hurricane Katrina nearly destroyed the city. I won’t easily forget the stinging words of the people who sheltered me in Baton Rouge for a few days after the storm. I heard other remarks through the months afterwards, too.
“New Orleans deserves it.”
“God sent Katrina to punish the city’s inhabitants.”
“It’s never coming back.”
I love New Orleans. I lived there for many years, and now, I live just a few miles north of the city.
No one deserves a hurricane. Or a fire. Or an earthquake. Check your New Testament, please. Jesus said rain falls on the just and the unjust.
I laugh because New Orleans refuses to die. It’s come back different. It’s smaller, more versatile, and in my opinion, better than before.
2018 marks the 300th anniversary of the founding of New Orleans. She’s moving on quite nicely these days. Many old venues are stronger than ever, like the Saenger Theatre, Preservation Hall, and even the once-ravaged Super Dome. The food is still better than almost any other place in the nation. Neighborhoods in many places are quietly gentrifying and getting a new lease on life with new blood who like our unique culture.
New Orleans has always been a gumbo pot of a city. Every group that settled here left a mark on her to separate her from rivals. The natives, the slaves, the free Creoles of the Carribean, the French, the Spanish and even Yanks are part of the DNA of a city that no one can quite define.
Come on and see for yourself why it’s Number One for 2018. There’s no place quite like New Orleans.
“We dance even if there’s no radio. We drink at funerals. We talk too much and laugh too loud and live too large and, frankly, we’re suspicious of others who don’t.” – Chris Rose, 1 Dead in Attic, 2006