NOLA IsA myth. A reality.A port. A place. An opening. A dead end.A womb. A grave.Audubon Zoo and Monkey Hill uptown.Mardi Gras Fountain with the colored lights downtown. Above ground crypts at St. Louis Cemeteries 1, 2, and 3.Football fields. Parade grounds. Picnic areas. Citywide.Lake front. River front. Fishing hole. Bayou swamp. Raw oysters. Fried chicken. Front-liners. Second-liners. Storefront churches. A sacred cathedral.Superdome. Shotgun homes. Ya momma and ’em.Yeah you right.Tee-Na-Nay. Beaucoup shoo-shoo.Preacher man. Pusher man.Corner store. Omar, the pie man. Red beans. Rice.Boiled crabs. Barbeque shrimp.Fil gumbo. Yakamein. Pecan pralines. Lemon pound cake.Beignets at Caf du Monde in the Vieux Carr.Trout Baquet at Lil Dizzy’s in the sixth ward.Dooky’s duck and wild game banquets for big wigs.Barrow’s fried catfish for the masses way up near Shrewsbury.Shaved ice Sno-Blitzs at Hansen’s, treats for all the kids.Late night breakfast at Trolley Stop for the hipsters.Jazz Brunch at Commander’s Palace for the wealthy.The purple party bus rolling round the town.Street cars on Avenue St. Charles. Paddle boats and mini-train rides in City Park.Preservation hall marching in with the saints.A SA&PC (Social, Aid, & Pleasure Club) coming out in full force.Rebirth hollering “what bitch called the police?”Truck parades with a neighborhood carnival Krewe.Coconuts, coronations, and debutante balls with Zulu.Tambourines, beadwork, colorful feathers, and shouts.”I know you, Mardi Gras,” when a friend calls you out. Central city. New Orleans East.Claiborne Avenue. Canal Street.Tulane and Broad. OPP–Orleans Parish Prison.Lower 9, CTC – ‘cross the canal, yall.Riverboats cruise up and down.Ferry boats ride, side to side.Crescent City Connection, theBig Easy bridge to the west bank.Three feet below sea level.About two hundred miles from the gulf.Even inundated by Katrina under a rising tide.We cut a stroke like Shine, making it to dry land. Regardless of how much it rains, we rise. We rise.Who dat? We dat! This collection is a gathering of the saints. Contemporary writers with an ear to the ground, digging on the sense and sound of what all is going down. Plus, a couple of ancestor scribes whose amazing words and clear-eyed vision remain both accurate and relevant long, long after their physical demise. Hence, here is a compendium of views and visions, which collectively map the outlines of what it means to both be and to miss New Orleans.