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Community: One of The Seven Cardinal Virtues of New Orleans

The idea for this series of posts is from Ray Cannata, the Man Who Ate New Orleans. This recent transplant, pastor and lover of New Orleans came up the seven cardinal virtues of the city. In a series of posts I thought I would give my own take on them.

Community: One of The Seven Cardinal Virtues of New Orleans

Community-Coffee new orleans

Community, like the coffee, is one of the seven cardinal virtues of New Orleans.

If there is one thing about New Orleans that stands out above all others I think it is a true sense of community, a real sense that we are all in this together. We celebrate as a community as our many festivals show, like Jazz Fest and Mardi Gras and the many numerous other festivals we have throughout the year.

New Orleans I think is a model city for the way city’s should be built for it is truly a walking city. We actually have sidewalks all over the city. I am amazed when I go to other cities and see in some of the newly built areas the absence of sidewalks! This to me seems, well, uncivilized.

People outside walking through neighborhoods help give a sense of sharing, a sense of community. Here when you pass someone on the street they are not afraid to look in the eye and say “hello.”

You can always tell when someone is not from here when you pass them on the street they avoid your eyes and act stunned when you greet them, like you’re from outer space or something. They apparently come from a place where there is not a good community vibe.

People are friendly here and will usually bend over backward to help you out. People of other races and culture blend fairly well here, we have a live and let live attitude. Many celebrities have bought houses in the city because they feel they can be treated fairly normally here, if they get mobbed or bothered by anyone it’s usually by visitors.

Hurricane Katrina helped to solidify our feeling of community even more than before for it made us realize truly what we have here and how precious it is and how terrible it would be to lose it.

I have lived in several burgs in my lifetime and only one came close to the community feeling of New Orleans and that was Seville, Spain, like New Orleans a city of neighborhoods and friendly people. Interesting since there is so much about New Orleans, the French Quarter architecture in particular, that’s Spanish.

A lot of outsiders really don’t get what New Orleans is all about, it’s a culture that’s very deep and very wide and has its tentacles in almost everything we do and everything we are. Even those who have lived here all their lives find it difficult to put into words or even completely understand what makes this city so different.

It is perhaps something that comes from all the tragedy that has befallen us through the centuries and how those things brought us together. Perhaps it is something that comes from all of our unique foodways and music and customs and ongoing daily celebration of the life and the love of the city we live in.

Read about Generosity — the next of the Seven Cardinal Virtues of New Orleans

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