New Orleans has my heart. It is the first city I lived in as a grownup, so in a way, it almost counts as my hometown, and it just feels different than every other city in America. It is full of beauty and contradictions and art and humidity and rot and bright ideas, but also an ugly past that’s not even past. It’s vivid, and you can feel it on your skin.

When you ask people what they love most about New Orleans, they’ll usually start listing restaurants. They’re not wrong about the food, but for me, hands-down it’s the architecture. And I’m not just talking about the stately columns and wrap-around porches that line St. Charles Avenue - go into the poorest neighborhoods and you’ll see broken-down shotgun homes with beautiful detail - baroque curlicues and unnecessary flourishes.

It’s so beautiful and so sad and the humanity and injustice is right there, in your face. 

This is what I’m trying to get at: the entire city is art. To set foot in New Orleans is to feel things. And that’s why I left my heart there.

- Carissa D.


Carissa is an actress and comedian who now lives in Los Angeles with her husband and daughter. While she's also lived in Tampa, Chicago and on several cruise ships, she went to Tulane in NOLA and never quite got over it.

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