“Seeing New Orleans, the city where I grew up, in its current state is a nightmare. I’ll never forget turning on the TV and watching as folks were stranded on rooftops or waded through water filled with dead bodies. I’ll never forget hearing my mayor and chief of police pleading for help. But there’s a particular spirit in the people of New Orleans, a spirit of hope. We believe they’ll build the city back. It’s gonna take a while, and they can’t build it back like it was. But they’ll build it back.
“People often ask me if I’ve ever thought about leaving for good, and I always say no. New Orleans is a part of my heart and soul. It’s a special city. When I was growing up, you’d walk down the street and all you’d hear was ‘Where you at,’ a kind of ‘What’s happening, what’s up.’ Because even strangers were friendly in New Orleans. No matter what the hardship, people respected each other.
“I’ve been to a lot of beautiful places. But when I’m on a plane and see the swamps, I can say ‘I know where I am now-I’m home.’ New Orleans. The Big Easy. Where you at.”
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