New Orleans didn’t make it onto the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s 2011 list of America’s Dozen Distinctive Destinations, although we certainly fit the criteria of offering “cultural and recreational experiences different from the typical vacation destination … boast a richness of character and exude an authentic sense of place.” Listed alphabetically, the distinctive destinations are:
Alexandria, Va.; Chapel Hill, N.C.; Colorado Springs, Colo.; Dandrige, Tenn., Eureka, Calif., Muskogee, Okla.; New Bedford, Mass., Paducah, Ky.; San Angelo, Texas; St. Paul, Minn.; Sheridan, Wyo., and Sonoma, Calif.
OK, so we don’t host the World Championship Indian Relay Races like Sheridan, Wyo., (although we do host marathons and horse racing ) and we don’t have the giant sequoia trees like Eureka, Calif., (although our own cypress swamps are breathtaking), but we do have lots of other things that both visitors and locals enjoy: music, food, festivals, historic architecture, museums, shopping, good weather (most of the time), outdoor sports and fun people (all the time). We didn't make the list last year either. Maybe in 2012.
The trust doesn’t put its selections in one-to-12 order, but invites the public to select a Fan Favorite by voting online through March 15 at www.preservationnation.org/ddd. Casting a vote automatically enters you in a drawing for a complimentary two-night stay at any Historic Hotel of America.