New Orleans Is The Best City In America, Change My Mind

New Orleans Is The Best City In America, Change My Mind

The Big Easy. The Crescent City. The Hollywood of the South. All these and more are the nickname for the greatest city in the South — New Orleans, Louisiana.

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Say what you want about the big little city of New Orleans, but you will never be able to say that you didn't have fun there. The birthplace of Jazz, voodoo and Ellen DeGeneres, this city has more culture and flavor than any other place in the country. Known worldwide for Mardi Gras celebrations, the city has more to offer than just the drunken partying that takes place on Bourbon Street and Canal Street.

One thing that makes New Orleans unique though is its Mardi Gras celebration. With parades happening every weekend for a month leading up to Mardi Gras Day. With things like the krewes, Zulu, Endymion, Bacchus, Orpheus and more, out of town people easily get confused when New Orleanians start talking about their Mardi Gras plans. It's more than just a raging party (which is true) — it is the most anticipated season, not a holiday, of the year. New Orleanians plan their whole winter/spring lives around Mardi Gras. The parties, the parades, the balls, and the food are endless during the time between Twelfth Night and Mardi Gras day. Endless oceans of purple, gold, and green can be seen throughout the city. The delicacy of New Orleans, the King Cake, makes an appearance only during this season, and it is every New Orleanian's dream breakfast and dessert.

New Orleans is also the most European city in America. Compare New Orleans to other old cities like Charleston, SC. Both cities are heavily influenced by their European backgrounds. New Orleans has French and Spanish influence on every corner. There is obviously the French Quarter that everyone knows of — but it is actually Spanish architecture, not French. This is all thanks to a fire blazing the Vieux Carre and destroying the original French architecture and the Spanish rebuilding it all during their time in New Orleans.

The food reflects this as well.

Even though the French Quarter is really Spanish does not mean that the city itself isn't. French slang is still spoken throughout the city and state. When in New Orleans and there is an abundance of something we say there is "beaucoup". For instance, we would say "there is beaucoup beads hanging from the streetcar cables." Another term often said in communities like the African American community is "passe blanc". Other words and sayings you'll only hear in the Big Easy are things like "cher" when the old Creole or Cajun men talk to women, "makin' groceries" when we're about to go to the store, "Nainain and Parain" when talking about godparents, "Neutral grounds" when talking about the median in the middle of the street, and "Snowballs" when talking about what everyone else incorrectly calls "shaved ice". If you ever have to navigate "Tchoupitoulas" Street, ask for the pronunciation before you try — it is not how it sounds.

The thing that makes New Orleans the best city is the culture itself. The feel and the vibe of the city is unprecedented. There is no other energy of happiness that compares to the victory party in Champions Square after a Saints victory. There is no greater way to honor the dead than a second line through the streets on the way to the Metairie Cemetery. There is no greater feeling than your neighbors and friends all banning together after a storm to help you go through your house and see what is left when the waters rise. When hard times hit the city there is nothing greater than that. Neighbors helping neighbors, New Orleanians flocking from across the nation to their hometown to help out. New Orleans is the biggest small town, everyone knows everybody, but it also is one big family that parties and celebrates the greatest city there is: together.

As actor John Goodman once said,

"If I could put my finger on it, I'd bottle it and sell it. I came down here originally in 1972... and had never seen anything like it — the climate, the smells. Someone suggested that there's an incomplete part of our chromosomes that gets repaired or found when we hit New Orleans. Some of us just belong here."

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To The Girl Who Hasn't Been Herself Lately

Your spark return, and you will shine like you were meant to.
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Life gets tough. Life gets too much to handle sometimes, and those times make you stronger. However, right now, it seems like you have lost yourself.

It’s difficult when you catch yourself not being you. When you do something or act a certain way and just wonder, “what did I do to deserve this? Why is this happening? When will it get better?” The way you’re feeling is not so much that you’re unhappy, you just feel weird.

Your day will come. I promise you. This is just a phase.

The day you realize how much you have grown from this point in time will be your reward. It is so hard to see now, and I feel your pain.

Your light will return to you. Your pure bliss moments, they are seeking you. Your laughter where your tummy aches is in your reach.

Our moods change far too often for us as humans to understand why, but the encounters you make every day have this effect on us.

You must remember the pure happiness you experienced before your first heartbreak, before the first friend became someone you thought they weren’t, before you lost your innocence. That was a time of true joy as you had not a care in the world for the things that would harm you. Better yet, you didn’t have the option to experience them because you were just a child.

The world can be an ugly place, and your attitude towards life can change every day. One thing is for certain: you did not lose who you are internally. We all put on a face for the world. For the people who we try to impress. For the life we want to live. For the things we want to achieve.

Your definitive personality is still in the works. Believe it or not, it always will be. Times like this change us for the better even though we can’t see it.

Your happiness will return. You will be a better, stronger version of you. In fact, you will be the best version of you yet.

Once this phase is over, you will be okay. This I promise you.

Cover Image Credit: Megan Sutton

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14 Kentucky Destinations To Visit This Summer

I'm in love with the history and beauty encompassing my old Kentucky home.

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Kentucky has got to be one of the most notable states in the U.S. While it is most known for bourbon, horse races, and basketball, you can't deny the beauty of the history and nature that surrounds the state.

Kentucky natives often take for granted the importance of the locations that surround them. These destinations are easily accessible and should be noted a 'must visit' on your next day off.

For those who are travelers and are looking to tour the land of the "Bluegrass state," you won't regret making these KY places your next summer vacation destination.

1. Mammoth Cave National Park

mammoth cave

This park is open year-round with guided tours through the world's longest cave system. This cave is filled with tremendous caverns which are super cool to see, but the stories that are told about the cave through the tour make it an even more interesting experience.

Even if you decided to skip out on the cave tour, this national park is filled with other things to do. There are trails for hiking and biking, and they even have areas for various water activities.

2. Keeneland

keeneland racetrack

Keeneland is beautifully landscaped and located in the horse capital of the world.

While the best time to go is during racing season, I'd still recommend a tour of this famous horseracing arena.

3. Red River Gorge

red river gorge

Red River Gorge is home of the sandstone rock bridge known as the 'Natural Bridge,' and is also the perfect site for a camping experience. At the gorge, you are able to hike, bike, ride, and partake in a variety of other activities.

4. National Corvette Museum

corvette museum

Home to more than 80 models of America's sports car: the Corvette.

5. Cumberland Falls

Cumberland Falls

A huge waterfall that falls 60-feet before tumbling over sandstone bedding. It is truly a sight to see.

6. Ark Encounter

noah's ark

Located in Williamstown, KY is the massive, life-size ship made to resemble Noah's Ark. It is 3-stories tall with interactive exhibits to illustrate the biblical tale.

7. Louisville Slugger Baseball Museum

louisville slugger museum

Baseball, also known as America's favorite pastime.

Kentucky, also home of the Lousiville Slugger Baseball Museum and Factory.

8. Lincoln's childhood home

abraham lincoln's childhood home

Abraham Lincoln served as the 16th U.S. president. He was an important figure for many reasons, but most remembered for his Emancipation Proclamation speech that helped push toward the end of slavery, and his leadership of our nation through the Civil War.

9. Churchill Downs

churchill downs

Churchill Downs is another thoroughbred racetrack in Kentucky, most famous for hosting the Kentucky Derby. Tours are conducted by the Kentucky Derby Museum.

10.  Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest

bernheim forest

Every year, Kentucky loses 50,000 acres due to land development. There are estimated to be over 3 million trees in Bernheim Forest, all of which are protected from development.

Today, Bernheim Forest is over 16,000 acres and will soon be celebrating its 90th "birthday" by revealing a new exhibit entitled "Forest Giants in a Giant Forest." These three massive sculptures, made of recycled wood are expected to withstand for at least 3 years.

11.  Berea Pinnacles

berea pinnacles

A hiking trail with a variety of difficulty levels, and a beautiful view at the end no matter how far you decided to travel.

12.  Woodford Reserve Distillery

woodford reserve distillery

Kentucky is famous for bourbon. So, why not take a tour of the oldest and smallest distillery in the state?

13.  The Kentucky State Capitol

ky state capitol

The KY state capitol is located in Frankfort, KY and is open to visitors/tours. Observe the areas where our chamber of the senate and house of representatives come together for the legislative process.

14.  My Old Kentucky Home State Park

federal hill mansion

Stephen Collins Foster wrote the famous composition 'My Old Kentucky Home, Good Night!' which is now known as our state song. Foster's imagery throughout the song was inspired by the house and the land surrounding what was once known as "Federal Hill." It was referred to as "My Old Kentucky Home" once the U.S. entered the Civil War.

Today, you can tour the home that was host to many famous individuals (Stephen Collins Foster, Henry Clay, Aaron Burr, and more) and the inspiration to a monumental tribute to Kentucky history.

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