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Culture Watch: Notes on saving what makes New Orleans unique

Editor’s Note: In honor and memory of Sharon Litwin, The Queen here at NolaVie, we will be publishing a piece from her every day for the next month. Sharon was an advocate and spokeswoman for arts, culture, people, and policies here in New Orleans. Her voice and sharp wit will be greatly missed. 



There is the wonderful old saying: You are what you eat. Well, certainly New Orleanians know that.

But there’s more to us than just the food. We are what we hear, too – music, brassy and pianissimo, jazzy and classical. We are what we see – the architecture, both grand and modest, the Mardi Gras Indians, the Okra Man, Angela Hill.

It’s a unique lifestyle we have in this town. I mean, doesn’t the perfume of a sweet olive tree perk up your day? Or the bountiful orange trees in a neighbor’s Lakeview garden make you smile?

The reality is that we live in a very special place, a unique little city that is really just a big village. But as idyllic as this sounds, all is not perfect in New Orleans. Not a day goes by when the very culture that defines us is not endangered.

Over the years, we have observed that what is so valuable to one group of us may be completely misunderstood by another. What is intrinsically unique to all in our community may be undervalued, discarded, destroyed by the uncaring, or worse, by the unknowing.

So stay tuned. That’s what we’re going to focus on. That’s our role. In the weeks ahead, we will reflect on some of these and we will welcome your feedback. Welcome to Culture Watch.

Sharon Litwin, founder of NolaVie, will offer Culture Watch, about the city’s cultural community and happenings, every Tuesday. This week: A chat with CAC director Amy Mackie.


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