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Nola

I spent a long weekend in New Orleans, where I ate — and drankwell, listened to lots of live music, and painted a few doors in St. Bernard Parish.

It was my first visit to the city, and I wasn't sure what to expect. Principally, I wondered how long a shadow Katrina still cast. Signs of the storm are everywhere. On every other house, there is still spray paint on siding. Who would've thought that this sort of official graffiti would become an historical artifact? On a bus, from the airport to the French Quarter, we passed through some areas that look terrible, as if the storm hit only a few months ago. It was startling to note how close these dilapidated buildings were to the downtown.

When we left our hotel, the innkeeper told us to tell our friends to come visit, to spread the news that the city isn't underwater. It isn't. The legacy of Katrina, horrible as it is, seems to have been overshadowed by a population — smaller than it used to be, of course — that proudly and truly loves New Orleans. It's impossible to overlook or ignore.

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