Ask me whether I wanted to live in NO 8 years ago and I would have said hell NO.
My family has ties to this city which go back to Bienville and I am no cajun bubba - The only bubba I know lived in the White House and hails from Arkansas. (FYI - by the way, using the term "cajun" in some parts of LA to refer to someone who is not a decendent of the Acadian people is considered a slur...)
What's changed my opinion? This place grows on you - like spanish moss on an old oak tree (or algae on the sidewalk).
I consider myself a creative, highly educated person who could have chosen many other places to live (including Lansing, Madison, Buffalo, etc.).
I think that NO has made remarkable strides - but like many other large cities - we have a ways to go and I want to be part of the group which makes this change happen. Isn't that one of the biggest challenges for the creative types - finding a way to channel their time into some cause and make a difference?
Crime rates continue to decline - significantly under the previous Mayor and from a high point reached in the early 1990's where we were dubbed the "Murder Capital of the US".
Granted, we are not known as being highly educated. But like the Buffalo example - we have our share of higher-education institutions (public and private) and an agressive state-funded program that is keeping the best and brightest our state has to offer here to complete their higher education.
Gentrification (a sign of hip-ness in many areas) has been riding tall since the 1984 World Fair - changing a former derlict warehousing district into a hot and happen place of night clubs, loft apartments, artist colonies, and restaurants.
We are home to the country's oldest coffee house (Cafe DuMonde) where performance arts (poetry, reading, music, arts) are served over cups of steaming latte and wonderfully delicious donuts. We are also home to several of the country's oldest watering holes, restaurants and homes where inspiration was gathtered for Degas, Williams, Twain or gave birth to a host of wonderful musicians (too many to name here...)
Jazzfest - need I say anything else....
Mardi Gras - our own personal release valve...allowing us to stand the long, hot summer.
High-tech and service industries are growing - granted we will never be the high-end first class corporate headquarters of a Houston or Atlanta - but thankfully some of the problems associated with living in those cities will pass us by!
To the respondent who moved here from Madison and is still looking for the creative types - maybe you are hanging out with the wrong crowd or in the wrong places????
I challenge you to keep looking (and not just in the sleezy, steamy, or out-of-the way places) and you will find what you are looking for. Give yourself the freedom to look around, enjoy all the City has to offer.
We would love to keep you here. But if you find you are stiffled creatively and cannot get with the groove here- then feel free to leave and make room for someone else. We are an island (technically) - space is limited!