I have just returned to H-Town from a six-day trip to New Orleans and Pensacola. The Pensacola part was mainly to visit a friend in the federal prison camp there, a minor casualty of the War on Drugs. I say "minor" because he received a light sentence in a very comfortable facility. Oh, did I mention that he's a middle-class white guy? Not everyone incarcerated at FPC Pensacola is white or middle class, though most are. Some of the inmates are millionaires doing time for financial and tax-related chicanery.
New Orleans served as the launching pad for the Florida excursion: I rode Amtrak's Sunset Limited to the end of the line, then rented a car to drive the 200 miles (320 km) to P-Cola. New Orleans is still a fascinating place—a few dozen fascinating places, actually, with each of its districts/neighborhoods possessing its own flavor.
One noteworthy phenomenon of NOLA is the sheer number of billboards and bus-boards advertising the services of personal injury and criminal defense attorneys. I heard someone make an offhand comment about how the criminal lawyers in particular are, in aggregate, making a very good living, mostly because NOPD is notorious for arresting residents and visitors when other resolutions might be better. Even with chemically enhanced tourists getting out of hand, the city doesn't have a proportionally bigger or worse crime problem than other medium-sized cities, but it does have a tendency to load up its judicial dockets with petty offenders and people arrested for offenses they did not commit.
Another phenomenon is that parts of the city are still in recovery mode from Mother Nature's onslaught in 2005. Well, the hurricanes came from Mother Nature, but the resulting floods resulted from engineering negligence like the reinforcements of levies proposed but never implemented. Some houses still wear the "X" markings that indicated what sort of damage and death had occurred therein. The public school system in Orleans Parish was scrapped in favor of charter schools, a mark far more permanent than those X's.