Unique cuisine, never-ending parties, and warm welcomes are all aspects most visitors can agree they we were greeted with throughout their stay in south Louisiana.

Whether it was fifty years ago or just last week, there is something special about this humid swampland we call “The Boot”. Throughout the decades, Louisiana has seen some devastating transformations and tremendous triumph, but the warmth of the south offers hospitality for everyone and anyone no matter the generation.

Stacy Harvey, a Southwest Flight Attendant, attended Louisiana State University over 20 years ago. This was a time when Internet was essentially non-existent and racial tensions accompanied daily life.

Like many of her college peers, she traveled the long stretch of I-10 blasting “Life is a Highway” to the heart of New Orleans plenty of times throughout her two years at LSU.

She said, “Family and friends always wanted to visit because it was so different from where we lived in San Francisco. The music, culture, everything was so fascinating to them. It was so fascinating to me too.”

Harvey reimagined her college days with a smile and raved about her adventures in New Orleans with her friends.

She said, “At first we hung around the Quarter, but realized that was more for tourists, so we ended up at the Garden District or Uptown a lot of the time. Usually we drank too much every time.”

Another LSU alumni, Rob Bonin, who was a student 22 years ago, reminisced on his experience as a Tiger.

He said, “We did some of the touristy things like Bourbon Street, St. Charles area, but it was always so much fun because I was with all of my pledge brothers.”

Bonin traveled around the world as a child because of his father’s job, but he was used to the humidity and southern hospitality the South is known for because of his hometown in Houston. He was always interested in the culture and knew he wanted to participate in the fun. He pledged a fraternity and the rest is blurry history.

He said, “Most of my friends lived in the New Orleans Area, so there was always a family to welcome me with open arms each time we went down there.”

The liveliness of the Big Easy still holds true. Despite the amount of time that has passed, the warmth, both literally and figuratively, never seems to go away.

The aroma of beignets can still be sensed throughout the Quarter, streetcars follow the tracks along the prestigious street of St. Charles and the raunchy outfits found on Bourbon never seizes to distract the naïve tourist walking past.

College students and tourists alike are able to bask in the drunken glory of New Orleans on any given day.

Stacy said, “Attending LSU and experiencing the Louisiana culture has been the biggest impact on my life. I have nothing but fond memories.”

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