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New Orleans is a happy, high-spirited city with the pulsing beat of Dixieland jazz. It delights visitors with its riverboats, Creole cuisine, quaint antique shops and narrow streets of the French Quarter. While here, be sure to take a ride on one of the picturesque trolley cars. Eccentric, elegant New Orleans is strongly connected to both the Mississippi River and the South, but its identity remains aloof from any regional or even national affiliation. It reminds some visitors of European cities, in part because French and Spanish colonial architecture adds an Old World backdrop to some streets. But the feeling of foreignness goes deeper: The celebrated New Orleans atmosphere, cuisine, music, traditions and lifestyle are rooted in an embrace of the decadent and assimilation of the unconventional. New Orleans welcomes all, but is familiar to none, and the result is a city which attracts the romantic, the spiritual, the wild and the inquisitive

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