The Spirit of New Orleans

Keishaun Thompson

There are a few things I’ve learned from talking to New Orleanians.

For example, no matter where they live, these people share a love for food, promote the joy of music, and spread the joie de vivre (or joy of living) everywhere they go. Also most New Orleanians appear to be unwavering Saints fans through the bad and not-so-good years. Since I am an avid football enthusiast, this really stuck out to me that people are really die-hard Saints fans. Despite how much they lose the fans remain true to the team. I think this shows what it means to be a true fan and not give up on your team. This is all indicative of the Spirit of New Orleans and can be an inspiration to us all.

 Since moving to New Orleans from Maryland three months ago I have tried to adjust, and have learned many important things. For Example: the term New Orleanian actually implies tolerance, open-mindedness and making peace with the differences that divide us. A story that made an impact on me was about the terrible events of ten years ago when people were affected by Hurricane Katrina. This story says that a man in the Lower 9th Ward who invited his neighbors to come to his house and eat. This man treated his neighbors like they were family.  This stood out to me because since moving to New Orleans I have gotten closer to my family. In Maryland, the closest I got to that was friends.  The act told in the story shows a kind of act that implies tolerance, because in this city no matter if you are friends you are still considered family.

 Among things like being a die-hard Saints fan, and hearing stories of people helping each other I also learned a lot from the New Orleanian I interviewed.  The first was that down in the French Quarter, The white stuff on your face is powdered sugar. Cassandra Robert says, “You can pronounce ‘Cho-a-tool-is’ but can’t spell it, if someone says ‘Magazine,’ you think of a street. You’re not afraid when someone wants to ‘ax’ you (something). And, you don’t realize until later in life that Mardi Gras is not a national holiday.”

I have fallen in love with my experience living here so far, even though it has been a bit of trouble getting used to things. All the same, I’m starting to think that this place is a good fit for me. I am growing accustomed to the food here, the streets, but most of all just having lots of family nearby.  New Orleans represents family, food, and great experiences with each other. When I interviewed Cassandra Robert she said that the neighborhoods here are separated by race. And this is true to a certain extent. Still, the joy and love of the people in New Orleans stems from people being like family. It is all about the “Spirit of New Orleans” and nobody can break that because it is too powerful.

 Keishaun Thompson is a freshman at the New Orleans Charter Science and Mathematics High School.