More often than I would like to admit, I find that my embellishment of a place clouds the authenticity of my memories. New Orleans is the kind of place where sentimentality causes you to turn a blind eye to the pungent odors and ubiquitous refuse that encumber the streets. The duplicitous intentions of the unscrupulous characters you encounter when exploring the city would shock the conscience if encountered in any other place than the city of New Orleans. The culture sucks you in with all the extravagance and excess you would expect from a place that is infamous for Mardi Gras and Lagniappe. It is in the food, the music, the architecture, and perhaps even the language that New Orleans ingratiates itself on a visceral level and undergoes a metamorphosis within your memories to become what you want it to be rather than what actually was.

Mark Twain described it as "a word worth traveling to New Orleans to get.” Lagniappe is a word that has entered into the English language from the French Creole and Spanish traditions of the area. It literally means "something given or obtained gratuitously or by way of good measure.” I have been lucky enough to be the beneficiary of this guiding principle of creole life on several different occasions. This is perhaps why I am so eager to forgive those shortcomings that have become so readily apparent during this latest escapade. Even now with the clarity of recency, I am beginning to romanticize my latest trip despite the numerous debacles that plagued me throughout. I suppose that it is OK to remember a place for its influence rather than its verity; After all, reality is a surreptitious thing and maybe it is best to remember some things as how they could have been rather than as they were!