Hello, AAN! Welcome back.

For those who will be visiting for the first time: you may have heard of us; we had a little storm and a big federal levee failure a few years ago. During that time, many of you were very kind to us. When you're here, we hope to repay that kindness. But first we want to answer the question we're still asked, which is: How is New Orleans doing these days?

Pretty good, actually. We have more restaurants than we did before Hurricane Katrina. Our first worldwide art biennial, Prospect.1, was an international success. Many of our institutions have been revitalized or expanded, including the National World War II Museum, the Audubon Insectarium and New Orleans City Park. Our tech industry and our farmers market scene are booming, we're filming scores of TV shows and movies every year, and we've built 65 miles of new bike lanes since 2005.

Oh, and we also won a little thing called the Super Bowl.

But enough about us. Let's talk about you. You'll be in New Orleans soon, so -- to quote the Rebirth Brass Band -- do whatcha wanna. Try some absinthe (it’s legal again). Have a cocktail at 10 in the morning. Yes, you can take your drink with you as long as it's not in a glass; ask for a "go-cup." Weed, medical or otherwise, is still illegal here, as is flashing your junk (not that any of you would do that). We have very few sartorial rules, but there is one: Don't wear beads on the street unless it's Mardi Gras -- unless you want to let everyone know you're a tourist.

Some useful info to know while you're out and about: Burgundy Street is pronounced "bur-GUN-dy," and Tchoupitoulas is "chop-a-TOO-lis." Esplanade rhymes with "lemonade," and Conti with "bonsai." You'll find the best live music clubs on Frenchmen Street, not on Bourbon. Don't go wandering off the beaten path, however, particularly at night. If someone wants to bet you he knows where you got them shoes, tell him you got them shoes on your feet. And make sure the last thing you do before you leave any club is to use the bathroom. (Trust us on that one.)

If you want some specific recommendations, may we recommend our mobile site? On your phone, pull up www.bestofneworleans.com to find thousands of searchable listings, including music, food, drinks, attractions and everything else the city has to offer. Or just ask one of us. We know the city and we love to talk about it.

Last of all, and despite what you've heard, we really don't care how you pronounce New Orleans. We're just glad you'll be here.

Margo DuBos, Publisher

Clancy DuBos, Chairman

Kevin Allman, Editor

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