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The last time I visited New Orleans, I had to be no more than 14 years old. So, this trip was long overdue and gave me the opportunity to appreciate the city as an adult. More than cajun food and the tourist traps of Bourbon St. or the French Quarter, I wanted to experience what this really city had to offer. For a few days, I immersed myself in a culture created from a mix of African, French, and Native American roots. I ate beignets, took historic tours, strolled through cemeteries and walked through the areas Hurricane Katrina tried to destroy. The dynamic of New Orleans celebrates religion, architecture, sexuality, music, spirituality, struggle, traditions and mortality in a manner that can not be duplicated anywhere else. I spoke with and observed many locals from different walks of life. The one thing they had in common? No, it wasn’t beads, liquor, crawfish or even jazz music. They all held pure love…love and loyalty to a city that many discarded with the Gulf’s waters. At day’s end, who can’t respect that?

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