Saturday, April 07, 2007

Come visit NOLA. You'll survive. I promise.

NEW ORLEANS, April 7 — PBS's American Experience episode on New Orleans, airing as I write this post, says NOLA was once in the top five list of must-visit cities for the American wealthy. Where is it now? Probably not high.

It's probably not high on your list either, I imagine, but it should be. I could laundry list the reasons why, the sights to see, the music to hear, the food to eat, but other bloggers will give you that in more luxurious detail.

Instead, I'll tell you why you aren't already here, and why I think you won't visit. I hope you'll prove me wrong.

So you're scared of being shot? (Scared of jazz and gumbo?) You don't want to see the devastation? (You should see it, but there's a lot of city that wasn't flooded.) You don't like swamp weather? (Get here fast then, it's 43 degrees and rainy right now; 70s and sunny next week; 90 and sweaty in a month.)

I'm torn on my experience in this city. New Orleans now is remarkable — more unique, historic, and important than ever. Law school in New Orleans, however, keeps me from most of the magic, most of the time. That said, I value the time I've had here, and if I stay or if I go, New Orleans holds a special place in my soul.

"For most of its history, New Orleans had a reputation of one of the most unsanitary cities in the country," PBS American Experience says. (It's cleaner now, I promise. There's a new garbage contractor — twice weekly pickups resumed this week for the first time since Katrina.)

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