This week marks the 10th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Like much of the rest of the country, it’s been on my mind.

There is so much to be said for New Orleans. If you want to read one of the most beautiful love letters to the city I’ve encountered, spend some time with the speech Matthew McConaughey gave upon accepting the 2015 Celluloid Hero award at the New Orleans Film Society’s gala. I have some problems with how he romanticized the poverty and crime but everything else is nearly pitch perfect and makes me homesick for that big, beautiful city.

More than any other place I’ve lived, New Orleans has taken up residence in my heart just like a beloved friend. It’s so easy to personify the Crescent City. As I was thinking of what I should say to such a precious friend on a day filled with so much remembering and trauma and triumph, I fell short. Without writing a small memoir, it’s hard to know where to even begin.

If I just start with the main sentiments, though, I think I can distill things. Seeing as it’s Folk-Art Friday, I’ll let this mardi gras alligator say them for me:

Plain and simple, that’s what it comes down to:

New Orleans, I love you.
New Orleans, I’m grateful for you.
New Orleans, you make me oh so proud – especially on a day like this one.