Believe pretty much everything you've heard about the destruction of New Orleans: a large portion of the city is a total wreck. In fact, the sheer scale of the disaster is beyond belief. Block after block, mile after mile, of completely destroyed buildings. Hundreds of wrecked cars sitting beneath freeway overpasses while their disposal is debated. More than half the population still living elsewhere as they have nothing to come home to. It's very depressing. Oddly, though, nearly all of the tourist areas were left relatively intact and many (most?) are back open for business. The French Quarter is lively as always, though somewhat less crowded than pre-Katrina. Most of the French Quarter restaurants are open, or will be opening soon. The Convention Center will reopen soon. The Superdome reopens in the fall. Riverwalk is open. The aquarium just reopened. The Garden District and Uptown seem pretty normal. As a tourist, you can go there and do much the same as always. This shot is of a home in the French Quarter. Yes, people really do live in the Quarter. It's not all topless bars and loud music.