When you talk to any of your out-of-town family members or friends, and when you see the look of wonder on the faces of people who are visiting as they explore our city, there’s no denying: our New Orleans culture is appealing. There is nothing like it in the whole country — and we know it. We are incredibly proud of our city and our traditions, and we wear our pride with every black and gold t-shirt, every debate about the best poboys in town, and every clarification of the correct pronunciation of our streets. It feels good to be a New Orleans resident.
Our pride is a big reason our culture has remained so rich for so long. We love to share our stories and history. The uniqueness of our culture is based around us being welcoming and entertaining, which is why it makes sense that tourism is our number one industry. A second line wouldn’t work if folks weren’t welcome to jump in. Stories about our past wouldn’t mean as much if we only told them to each other. Tourists envy us and our joie de vivre, and I’m sure you’ve heard how visitors often return home and find their cities … nothing compared to New Orleans! New Orleanians are friendly and outgoing; people talk to each other here — in grocery lines and on the sidewalks. That sense of connection and openness has faded in towns across the country, but here it is stronger than ever.
It’s important that we continue to stay open and inviting, and make new friends like only we know how to do — both because that is exactly what keeps New Orleans culture strong and most distinct, but also because tourism is the biggest driver of our economy. Through incredible ups and downs, we have bounced back and stayed true to ourselves. We don’t build up walls, we open doors and extend our hands. New Orleans will continue to share our stories and our traditions, and in doing so, we will watch our culture, economy, infrastructure, and quality of life grow ever stronger for generations to come.