A year ago to the day we decided to stop in New Orleans, we looked forward to a few days of rest and an abundance of hearty food. 
Allow me to set a scene for you, the air is humid after summer rainfall. An older man plays a weeping saxophone on a wet street corner, he's being listened to by a group of foot taping musicians digging the saxophone mans vibe. The sun is slowly setting as night creeps in, you can feel the energy in the air, it's alive with music.
Ok so that was my naive idea of what New Orleans was going to be like... not so I'm afraid. It has suffered the same fate as many a great place, tacky tourism = live sex shows, guys on bucks nights drinking till they pass out and an abundance of tourists in ill fitting shorts.
But we must forgive this and look at what really makes this place so special, the food, the music and most of all the people. 
We were lucky enough to find Verti Marte a place to eat that is open 24 hours, chefs go there to eat once they knock off for the night. Their Po-boys are like nothing you have ever tasted and the people that work there are great. I dare anyone to go there and not get into a conversation with someone about how great the food is! 
The music, we found out pretty damn quick that Bourbon Street is best avoided at all costs. So we had to ask around and we were put onto Frenchman Street. This little street has it all going on, there are a bundle of places all next door to one another, most don't have a cover charge, you just have to make sure you tip the musicians well and enjoy the music. 
Lastly, the people, as we headed into New Orleans we drove over the bridge, we scrambled for money for the toll, as we got there the guy waved us through, I stopped anyway as I thought I was misunderstanding something. We were then told that the guy in the car in front of us had payed our toll for us, amazing. Almost everyone we crossed paths with were really warm and open, they are certainly effected by the devastation that Katrina caused and I'm sure the wound will never truly heal, but they have such a wonderful spirit about them which is what keeps them going and that is what made New Orleans so special for me.

Simon Hewson©2012