Be Proud to Call It Home



New Orleans didn’t make it into the Top 10 of Outside magazine’s Top 20 Best Towns in America, but we did get the longest writeup of the 20 places profiled in the August 2008 issue.

The Crescent City was represented in two unnumbered segments, a short Q&A with Harry Connick Jr. about Musicians’ Village, and a “Bright Idea” feature in which New Orleans writer Wells Tower tells readers the real secret behind the Crescent City’s comeback: the city’s own residents as well as local and national nonprofits and volunteers.

The “Bright Ideas” story details the comeback of Broadmoor after Mayor Ray Nagin and others first said the area should be bulldozed, and the efforts of “arborcultural philanthropist” Monique Pilié to replace more than 2,000 of the 100,000 trees lost in Hurricane Katrina. Tower also touches on efforts in the Ninth Ward, the rebuilding of the New Orleans school system and more, capturing the fortitude, hopefulness and indomitable spirit of the people who live here as well as how contagious both the city and its occupants are for outsiders.

“If people like Pilie keep at it, New Orleans’s new reputation as the nation’s capital of grassroots initiative and vigilante dogooderism may soon eclipse its renown for crime, poverty, and ill-considered toplessness,” Tower writes. Well said. It’s nice to see something about New Orleans in the outside news media that doesn’t focus on crime, Bill Jefferson, outrageous legislative raises and other embarrassments.

According to Outside, we rock.

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