I wonder if the people that talk about New Orleans have actually ever been there post-katrina? I was there for a few days this past week and it's still the New Orleans I had heard so much about. On a Sunday at 12pm the French Quarter was absolutely jam packed with people drinking, eating, and having an overall great time in the sunny weather. I visited Tulane, but Loyola looked very nice as well (they're next to each other). Although there are of course parts of the city that have been abandoned, these were not the parts you would have visited anyways except to do volunteer work (it's sad, but true). People act as if New Orleans is not a major city and that because places like the lower 9th ward have been devastated that the city will become a "ghost town". I'm not trying to down play Katrina and the damage that was wreaked, but I think it's important to keep in mind that the city is recovering without a doubt, any many areas are FULLY recovered. Just visit the city and you will see.
I sat on the board for way too long discussing New Orleans and being afraid of the idea of living there and then I visited. It was AMAZING. The city is like none other and I suggest anyone that is hesitant due to Katrina related stuff to just visit.
Thank you for being insightful and objectivly informative (you rule), hence, i dub thee, cool person!