When I was young I dreamed of this place without knowing it actually existed. An enigmatic world of common people and daily life that holds tight to a meditation of costume and feathers and Mardi Gras. A feast of self-indulgence with music that spills like Daiquiris from every doorway. Beads adorn the trees like psychedelic Spanish moss. Streets vibrate with the joyous dancing of weary souls. The city flag may as well be a cocktail napkin. Storms howl with indignation, kick down doors and steal like politicians. The fleas and floods and tattered grandeur. Tourists with their cameras and their vomit. The neighborhoods are full of unspoken boundaries. Geometry is forbidden here. There are no right angles in the entire city. Sidewalks heave and fall from the unrelenting roots of Live Oak trees. Heat and humidity set the metronome of daily life. La belle et la bête. New Orleans is what New Orleans is; a sleight of hand, a smile obscuring a scar, a peacock strolling through the ghetto.