BACKSTORY: My first visit to New Orleans was for Jazzfest in 2001. I was pretty excited to hit "The Big Easy" and take photos of the amazing architecture and colorful atmosphere. As fortune would have it, I had dropped my camera the month before on a trip to New York City. Unbeknownst to me, the drop had ruined my camera's ability to autofocus on anything more than a few feet away. I had a lot of blurry photos...and a good excuse to return the following year. For those who have never attended Jazzfest, if you are going because you want to hear jazz, then I would suggest skipping the festival and spending your time in the French Quarter at some of the clubs. Jazzfest is officially titled "New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Fest," which allows it to book just about any kind of music act you can think of. Held at the Fairgrounds outside of the French Quarter, it is a massive event that draws tons of revelers who want to hear music and party. I returned to New Orleans in 2003 for a conference, and then not again until 2015, ten years after Hurricane Katrina ravaged its way through the city. The French Quarter seemed very much like I remembered it...the same sights, smells, and people. If you want to visit this unique city, get ready to lower your level of tolerance or you could be in for a rude awakening. Truly anything (and everything) goes here. Don't wear expensive shoes if you plan to walk on Bourbon Street; you never know what you might be stepping in.
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