Let the good times roll. A perfect theme for the city of New Orleans. The people of N’Ahlins are as spicy as their food and have a character that is unique in America. As I was visiting their fair city this week, I got to speak to a few cab and bus drivers as well as hotel staff. All were polite and friendly and upbeat. That must be hard to do when the temperature is 98 degrees and as John Stewart says, “The people of Louisiana’s gulf coast are cleaning the tar off their beaches to get ready for the next disaster.”

I only went down for one night on business, but of course it’s New Orleans, so there is plenty to talk about. When I got off the plane I climbed into a taxi and within a few minutes realized that my driver was probably the guy who back in 2005 during the height of Katrina was probably standing in the middle of Canal street screaming, “Is that all you got?” Seriously, it was a death ride to the hotel. But the driver kept calling me bébé (baby) in that cute Louisiana accent so I forgave him. At one point he asked me, “You aright bébé?” I’m not sure why he asked. Maybe the color had drained from my face, who knows.

During the day I got to hear President George W. Bush speak. I know many people don’t like him and that he’s not the great orator, but I like him and his speech was wonderful. He was humorous, down-to-earth, and spoke from the heart. During his time as President, he led us the best he knew how and stuck to his principles—not bowing to mob mentality or popularity contests. Anyway, it was enjoyable and a great experience.

In the evening I went to Mardi Gras World (yes, this was all “work”). Walking through the warehouse was fun as I got to see some of the floats—big and over the top for sure. After listening to a few songs from the awesome swing band Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, I called it a night. My only regret was that I didn’t have time to get a Po Boy from Mother’s.

That was my third trip to the Cajun city and I chose to skip the whole Bourbon Street experience—been there and am done with that. But the music was great—and I even got to wake up to a CD of New Orleans-inspired music. The cab ride back to the airport was uneventful—thank God. And my little neighbor Cayden was thrilled with the Mardi Gras beads I brought home for him. Let’s just hope that the oil doesn’t ruin the charm of N’Ahlins. They’ve had enough trauma—even for the most laissez-faire among them.

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