I went to New Orleans with a chip on my shoulder. From what I knew about this city, it was full of inebriated college students, and plastic bead necklaces thrown from balconies. Not necessarily my scene. Therefore spending money to stay, eat, and travel there for a bachelorette party was the last thing I wanted to do.

I’ll be the first to admit however, that I was embarrassingly wrong. Sure, New Orleans has several inebriated college students, and I did get hit with a brightly colored green-beaded necklace along Bourbon Street, but there was so much more to this city than I ever imagined.

Amid the grime, faded colors, and dulled stones, walked artists, tourists, the poor, the rich, the foreign and the native; the religious and the disillusioned; the infatuated and the heartbroken.

Everyone came together to experience what the city offered – an overwhelming, almost choking sensation of both the vibrancy and dearth of life itself.

This sensation for me, was most apparent in the architecture of the French Quarter, where 18th and 19th century designs, embellished 21st century lives.

I couldn’t help but strain my neck upward towards the ornate balconies, and turn my head left-to-right emphatically so I could capture each of the pastel-painted doors I passed. Each one, I imagined, opened up to a domestically modern world that inhabited a historically preserved home that had survived all life had thrown at it; including, remarkably, Hurricane Katrina.

This is the story of New Orleans that should be told. It is so much more than the bars along Bourbon, or Mardi Gras. It is a city of resilience; a city that through its architecture evokes a feeling of nostalgia for past moments you never experienced. It transports you to whatever version of history comforts your soul, and feeds your imagination.

It is the epitome of magic.