I don't know what accounts for the New Orlean's magic, but it's just there, not only in the well-known establishments, but particularly in the hole-in-the-wall joints as well. I lived there for about a year back in 79-80, and so I got to eat at a lot of local spots in addition to all the famous places.
As I said, nothing quite like it anywhere in the world in my experience.
By the way, the men's Snowboard Cross is on right now, and it is spectacular. I must say, I'd like to try that myself sometime.