The Spirit of New Orleans

December 16, 2010
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There is a reason New Orleans has affectionately been named “the most unique city in America.” Through incredibly difficult and destructive times, the spirit of New Orleans has survived and flourished. Although the city’s French, African, and Caribbean influences make it so culturally diverse, it is the people who make the city such a special place. In a place where monetary resources are not always in reach, the community finds hope in friendship. After the devastating strike of Hurricane Katrina in August of 2005, the city was torn apart physically. However, the natural disaster failed to damage the strong, heartfelt ties between all New Orleanians. Even today, the rebuilding effort continues in numerous physically devastated areas. However, the hope that citizens maintain for the future was never lost, only reborn. The exciting, living culture, rich history, and indescribable essence of New Orleans are just a few aspects that make the city so unlike any other.

In a society so financially and ethnically diverse, there are bound to be some immediate social obstacles. In the general New Orleans area, unemployment rates are often higher and average income rates often lower than many areas in the United States. The extreme socioeconomic divide is a factor that makes New Orleans culture especially unique. A huge social gap between wealthy Caucasians and disadvantaged African-Americans is most likely the cause of several dissimilar cultures that settled in New Orleans many years before. After Hurricane Katrina, it was difficult to rebuild without resources, especially in poorer African-American communities, such as the violent Lower Ninth Ward. Corrupt governments and polices forces also made the New Orleans residents believe that help was out of the question. Even through these times of misery and desolation, the optimistic people of New Orleans kept fighting.

The city of New Orleans has become more alive than ever following the wrath of Katrina. In a society so polarized by racial and economic factors, the people of New Orleans search for unity, for something that knits the city even closer together. One source of closeness and inspiration is their football team, the New Orleans Saints. After several unsuccessful years in a row, the Saints entered the football season of 2010 as underdogs, never expected to make it to the Superbowl, or win. However with the support of a proud and united fan base, the team was able to succeed. A Saints football player even noted that he carries the entire city's weight on his shoulders, but instead of bring him down, the city lifts him up. The city of New Orleans sees its Superbowl victory as much more than a sports achievement. It is one of many comebacks, one of many moments of rebirth for the city, after so many years of hardship. The Saints are something that can unite a very dissimilar society like New Orleans. Everyone likes football and can identify with the common belief that if you work hard, you win.

The spirit and authenticity of New Orleans is what makes the city so unique from any other. New Orleanians have a special kick about them-- they somehow manage to be outrageous, affectionate, elegant, genuine, and passionate all at the same time. Even through the most devastating experiences, the city is able to pull through with a strong sense of pride. The fleur-de-lis is a symbol widely recognized in New Orleans, not only for supporting their football team, but also for honored tradition, new beginnings, and hope for the future.

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