New Orleans: Why I Return

September 9, 2012 | By | Comments (1)
french quarter mini horses New Orleans: Why I Return

Scott Lloyd and his miniature horses head into the French Quarter/ Photo by L. Kasimu Harris

I was with my father and close to 50 other people, who packed Castnet Seafood for po-boys and $.55 beer after returning home from Birmingham, Alabama earlier this week. The wait was long but it was a welcome inconvenience, a sign of normalcy after Hurricane Isaac. This was nothing like Katrina, when 45 days later most eateries were still shut and fresh seafood was a luxury.

Outsiders question our judgment—why do so many of us come back after we’re blown or washed away.

tom nola New Orleans: Why I Return

Author Tom Piazza/ Photo by L. Kasimu Harris

“I don’t think there’s any big mystery to it,” says Tom Piazza, author of Why New Orleans Matters and Devil Sent The Rain. “From the beginning anyone who has lived in this place had to accept the logistical and spiritual challenges of being here.”

This week driving around the city, you see black-and-gold jerseys, T-shirts, and bumper stickers everywhere. You feel the excitement rising to a thunderous roar as we prep for the Saints season opener at the Super Dome on Sunday. Loyal fans exist everywhere, but not like New Orleans.

football2 New Orleans: Why I Return

Football, The Time-Picayune, and streetcar line on Canal Street/ Photo by L. Kasimu Harris

“That’s what keeps me here,” Piazza says. “It’s the spontaneity, the sense of participation in the moment that you find at a second-line, at a Saints game, over a meal at a great restaurant—or damn near any other time.”

A week after Isaac, our streets are nearly all cleaned up, and mostly the power stays on, but what really matters is our city’s unwavering fortitude. Everyone who loves New Orleans, has discovered something irreplaceable about it. This is why we stay. I hope everyone who visits, finds his or her unique love for the city too.

music beer New Orleans: Why I Return

A man keeps the sax player hydrated on Canal/ Photo by L. Kasimu Harris

nola house New Orleans: Why I Return

Making way for the new medical corridor on Canal Street. New Orleans moves forward while preserving the past/ Photo by L. Kasimu Harris

This is a guest blog by L. Kasimu Harris. Harris is a writer and photographer living in New Orleans. His column “Parish Chic” appears weekly in

Related Links:
Southern Living: The Bar That Stayed Open When Isaac Hit New Orleans
Southern Living: After Hurricane Isaac, Residents Answer the Question “To Stay or To Go?”


  1. karengenie

    “unwavering fortitude”. nola has it because her people have it [most of th ones i know, anyway].

    really good read… more, please!

    September 19, 2012 at 7:54 pm

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