"New Orleans is coming back – slowly but surely," cries Kermit Ruffins, the jazz trumpeter. The crowd packing Vaughan's Lounge, a jazz and blues club on the seedy side of cool, waves beer bottles and cheers. Between sets members of the audience load their plates with red beans, rice and spicy sausage. The band is not called The Barbecue Swingers for nothing. "When you put music and food together, you have the biggest party ever," says Ruffins, summing up the essence of the city too. It is late on a Thursday night and, judging by the atmosphere here, the city is still vibrant.
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