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NOVEMBER 06, 2017 08:09PM ET | UPDATED MARCH 22, 2018
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'The Most Captivating Place On Planet Earth': Meet The People Of New Orleans
Our last stop on the Listen to America bus tour did not disappoint.

By Jenna Amatulli and Damon Dahlen
11/06/2017 08:09 pm ET Updated Mar 22, 2018

New Orleans was the 25th and final stop on our Listen to America road trip (we can hardly believe it's over!). We spoke to residents in Louis Armstrong Park and at Tulane University about why they're there and what they love (or don't!) about NOLA.

Here's what they had to say:
"It's the most captivating place on planet Earth ... I was just so blessed to be born in this melting pot of culture."

― Jon Renthrope, 29, brewmaster/founder of Cajun Fire Brewing

"There's no place like New Orleans ... You wake up every day and it's just a good day to be in New Orleans."

― Adam Dawson, 30, graphic designer/founder of Cajun Fire Brewing
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"I fell in love with the [Tulane] campus the second I walked onto it ... The French Quarter is amazing. The food is amazing. The outfits around Halloween, which it is right now, are amazing. I'm really looking forward to Mardi Gras."

― Marlene Rees, 18, student
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"New Orleans, hmm. It's kind of in between love and hate. I love that we have such a variety of music and culture and we try and strive to preserve it ... But the politics, sometimes, take over that portion of it ... We have too many people that get left behind."

― Tracey Taylor, 38, health self-advocate
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"I came here from Alaska because I wanted to experience something very different ... I love it for what it is. The city can be difficult to live in because we don't have really good public transportation ... but I think it's worth it for the experience of being able to live here."

― Tziporah Lax, 19, student
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"What I love about New Orleans is the culture. The culture is big, broad and vast, on many different levels. The culture opened its arms to me, embraced me and loved me."

― Big Pearl, 43, singer
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"I love the city and the culture and the people here. New Orleans has a really unique historical struggle and I think that contributes to a lot of the culture and everything that's going on here."

― Jessica Galloway, 19, student
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"I came here 35 years ago and discovered a culture that was unique to any place in this country. A culture ... where African culture was celebrated and allowed to join with others. There was a confluence of cultures here and I loved it then, and now, I've seen a lot of changes, but it's the only place in America where African culture has been celebrated."

- Pat Bryant, 71, community coalition builder
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"Because it's actually the best place in the whole wide world to live."

― Saundra Reed, 67, community organizer
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"I chose to come here for school ... I loved the idea and everything I've heard about the surrounding city of New Orleans ... This amazing city, vibrant culture and that just charmed me. Made everything about coming here perfect."

― Jonathan Gan, 19, student
huffingtonpost.com
"When we talk about the United States as being a melting pot, I think New Orleans, specifically, is a great example. There's so many cultures here."

― C.J. Briggs, 20, student
huffingtonpost.com
BEFORE YOU GO
BEST SCENES FROM NEW ORLEANS ON HUFFPOST'S LISTEN TO AMERICA TOUR
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HuffPost visits New Orleans on Oct. 29 as part of "Listen to America: A HuffPost Road Trip." The bus pulled in at more than 20 cities on its tour across the country. (Damon Dahlen/HuffPost)
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The French Quarter draws thousands of people as "party central" in New Orleans. (Damon Dahlen/HuffPost)
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The St. Louis Cathedral in New Orleans reflects the city's French and Catholic heritage. (Damon Dahlen/HuffPost)
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A costumed couple at a French Quarter restaurant is surprisingly not a surprising sight. (Damon Dahlen/HuffPost)
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There's always music playing in Jackson Square in New Orleans. (Damon Dahlen/HuffPost)
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The French Quarter, also known as the Vieux Carre Historic District, is the oldest part of New Orleans. (Damon Dahlen/HuffPost)
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People arrive at the Listen to America tents during HuffPost's visit to New Orleans. (Damon Dahlen/HuffPost)
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HuffPost reporter Akbar Shahid Ahmed talks to a woman about signing up to be interviewed. (Damon Dahlen/HuffPost)
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Jamilah Peters-Muhammad greets Pat Bryants before he signs up to be interviewed. (Damon Dahlen/HuffPost)
10/33
The big bus is set up near Congo Square during HuffPost's visit to the Big Easy.
(Damon Dahlen/HuffPost)
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Barbara Rath and Bethany Bultman sign up to be interviewed. (Damon Dahlen/HuffPost)
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Passers-by stop by the Listen to America tents while HuffPost visits Tulane University in New Orleans on Oct. 30. (Damon Dahlen/HuffPost)
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Tziporah Lax, far left, and Gabriella Werner sign up to be interviewed. (Damon Dahlen/HuffPost)
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Hannah Wolter signs up to be interviewed. (Damon Dahlen/HuffPost)
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People wait to be interviewed during HuffPost's visit to Tulane University. (Damon Dahlen/HuffPost)
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The Marigny Opera House in New Orleans.
(Damon Dahlen/HuffPost)
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HuffPost Editor-in-Chief Lydia Polgreen speaks to the audience during the HuffPost bus tour wrap party at Marigny Opera House.
(Damon Dahlen/HuffPost)
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Staffers set up the HuffPost bus tour wrap party at Marigny Opera House.
(Damon Dahlen/HuffPost)
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Hillary Frey, HuffPost's director of editorial strategy, talks to the audience during the HuffPost bus tour wrap party.
(Damon Dahlen/HuffPost)
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The presentation on the Listen to America tour at the opera house.
(Damon Dahlen/HuffPost)
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HuffPost Editor-in-Chief Lydia Polgreen talks to Rachel Brienzo and Hillary Frey during the HuffPost bus tour wrap party.
(Damon Dahlen/HuffPost)
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It's party time in New Orleans as the Listen to America bus tour comes to an end.
(Damon Dahlen/HuffPost)
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HuffPost Editor-in-Chief Lydia Polgreen at the bus tour wrap party.
(Damon Dahlen/HuffPost)
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Taryn Finley and Jenna Amatulli of HuffPost meet Brad Cowgill's wife, Kate. (Damon Dahlen/HuffPost)
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Bus driver Bobby Jansen is presented with a gift during the HuffPost bus tour wrap party. (Damon Dahlen/HuffPost)
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Bus driver Bobby Jansen is presented with a photo of himself on the bus during the wrap party. (Damon Dahlen/HuffPost)
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Panelist Emily Peck speaks during the "How Airbnb Is Pushing Locals Out of New Orleans" panel. (Damon Dahlen/HuffPost)
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Panelist Porsche Lee speaks during the "Voices From the Road" panel. (Damon Dahlen/HuffPost)
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Panelist Shelley Venus speaks during the "How Airbnb Is Pushing Locals Out of New Orleans" panel. (Damon Dahlen/HuffPost)
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Two Girls One Shuck employee grills oysters during the wrap party. (Damon Dahlen/HuffPost)
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Guests mingle in the garden of Marigny Opera House. (Damon Dahlen/HuffPost)
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The tour bus sits among palm trees in New Orleans. (Damon Dahlen/HuffPost)
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Jon and Adam, founders of Cajun Fire Brewing Company. (Damon Dahlen/HuffPost)
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