Last July I took my 13 year old cousin Holly to New Orleans for a 2 day karate tournament.
Since I had never been to New Orleans and Holly had never been outside of the state of California I decided to make a vacation out of it and spend a whole week there.
We stayed on Canal Street, walked the French Quarter and the French Market, toured the Garden District, took a dinner jazz cruise on the Mississippi, went to the Audobon Aquarium, visited the Laura Plantation and did a swamp tour, and every night we would walk from our hotel to Cafe du Monde for beignets and cafe au lait and watch/listen to the street performers. Considering I had a 13 year old with me who was nervous because she'd never been outside of California or away from her mother before, I didn't get to experience the nightlife, but I enjoyed the trip enormously.
As countless others have done before me, i fell in love with The Big Easy. I vowed to come back with friends, without a child where I could walk down Bourbon Street and enjoy the night life, I vowed to come back for Mardi Gras one day, considered what it would be like to honeymoon there if I ever get married and thought about spending my 30th birthday there next year.
One day I will return to New Orleans to enjoy the hospitality and vivaciousness that make the city as beautiful as it is. Until then, New Orleans, Biloxi and everywhere affected by Katrina, you are in my prayers.