New Orleans has been called the soul of America. Its art and culture are intrinsically valuable as expressions of a people. But they are also part of everyday living and essential elements of the city's social capital and economic development. Many cultural bastions are the poor of New Orleans--mostly African American residents from communities that were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. This essay discusses prospects for rebuilding New Orleans' culture, with an emphasis on root cultural practices, and offers recommendations for resurrecting and strengthening the continuum of opportunities for cultural expression--formal and informal, amateur and professional--that made New Orleans what it was.
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