Notes from the Newsroom: Acceptance on Bourbon Street

Jesse O. Walls

I recently had the pleasure of going to New Orleans with members of my staff for a journalism convention. There were many great sessions and I acquired a lot of information, but one thing I noted about New Orleans is that every day is a celebration.

Every evening, once the sessions were done for the day, I would go out and witness people celebrating life and individuality. People were diverse and eccentric, and still accepted—a great contrast to what we have here in southwest Missouri.

Bourbon Street was almost always bursting with activity; street performers entertaining crowds, transvestites walking the streets without fear of judgment. Every day was a party and in this celebration of life it almost seemed the perfect combination of acceptance and individualism had been brewed.

People did not seem to judge and perhaps that is the lesson to be learned. Think about it, could we not be free from life’s burdens if we only learned tolerance and acceptance of others? Do we not allow judgment and bias to sometimes cloud our minds and keep us from enjoying the celebration that is life?

Prejudice and bias are choices, the same as tolerance and acceptance. Next time it seems easier to pass judgment, stop and take the time to consider your own differences—what makes you an individual. You may find that people aren’t really that different after all.