(Editors' Note: We originally ran this piece on August 29, 2010 - the five-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. With our beloved New Orleans and Gulf Coast in the path of Hurricane Isaac, it seemed fitting to share this reminder of why this region is so dear to our hearts and vital to the world. Want to help? CNN's Impact Your World has a great list of resources.)
To pay our own tribute to the New Orleans spirit, we rounded up a celebrated group of people from all walks of the Louisiana living tradition to share their own stories on why the region's food culture should not - and will never be - washed away.
Five Reasons to Eat in Louisiana
As Hurricane Isaac continues to pound the Gulf Coast with rain and wind, meteorologists say the storm could provide some much-needed hydration in parts of the country hit hard by drought.
Isaac will bring "soaking downpours" to parts of Arkansas, Missouri and other Central states into the weekend, according to AccuWeather.
There are old traditions and then there are old football traditions. I had the fortune of witnessing one resurrected in my lifetime two years ago when Alabama played Texas in the Rose Bowl for the National Championship. But there are new traditions too.
Alabama vs LSU is not a historic rivalry, it is only really a new tradition because they both have become superpowers in the same division of the same conference. So much so that they have beaten away all of college football for a rematch in the BCS game.
How important is this game to each fan base? My grandfather was born and raised in New Orleans. He loved LSU. He loved Alabama too because that became his adopted home, but he never put the Crimson Tide above the Bengal Tigers.
The waters from Hurricane Irene and subsequent tropical rains may have receded, but farmers in Vermont and upstate New York will be engulfed by financial woes for a long time to come. With this season's crops lost to water damage, the year's entire investment and income is lost, and only time can tell how the land will fare for next year's planting.
People in Schoharie County take care of their own; they've always had to. While there's no shortage of bucolic beauty - rolling fields dappled with grass-munching livestock, lurid-leaved trees throughout the autumn and all the weathered Victoriana an antiques or architecture enthusiast could care to gawk at - it's just a bit too far, a bit too isolated and a bit too run down for most outsiders to bother with. For over two hundred years, residents have quietly and steadfastly gone about the business of raising families, supporting their community and feeding the rest of the New York State.
Schoharie is a breadbasket county of 626 square miles, providing milk, corn, fruit, vegetables and meat to the surrounding area, as well as markets and restaurants all the way down to New York City, roughly a four hour drive away. All that is in peril after Tropical Storm Irene unleashed its fury upon the East Coast, engorging the bodies of water that snake through upstate New York, and washing away cars, homes, businesses, lives and livelihoods.
Three feet of water from Hurricane Irene flooded into my basement and destroyed decades worth of my husband's photographs, original music and other irreplaceable personal effects. I'd encountered the same sort of sentimental loss - photographs, artwork and every love letter I'd gotten before the advent of e-mail - in another flood a little over a year ago.
We are incredibly lucky people; we still have a basement.
While my small upstate New York village of Sharon Springs encountered some downed trees, and I half expected to see a school of mackerel swimming down Main Street, it was nothing compared to the waste laid upon the towns and counties around us.
Every town has a Dot's Restaurant. It's the place where everyone goes to catch up on local goings-on over coffee and pancakes, the menu hasn't changed for eons - and the regulars would just as soon that it didn't.
Dot's Restaurant in Wilmington, Vermont has been dishing up pancakes, burgers and comfort food to hungry locals and tourists alike for decades. The building - the oldest in town - was built to house the local post office in 1832. It transformed into a general store in the 1900s and became the Village Square Diner in 1930.
It weathered Wilmington's Great Flood in 1938, underwent a renovation to recover from the water damage and continued to serve patrons as Dairy Bar and Dot's Dairy Bar before John Reagan took over on 1980 and shortened the name to Dot's.
When Hurricane Irene swept through the East Coast this weekend, it left behind a trail of destruction. Not only did its raging flood waters wash away cars and homes and buildings; it swept away memories. Dot's building, pictured above (see Facebook for a picture of its current condition), suffered terrible damage as a result of flood waters and its future remains uncertain.
Pittsfield, Vermont, population 427, reacted in its own special way to severe flooding from Hurricane Irene that has turned their community into an island.
They had a town barbecue.
"No one in this town was expecting the flooding to be what it was, and we've all gotta eat," said Jason Evans, the owner of the skiing enclave's popular Clear River Tavern.
"My house is high and dry, but there was water all around my restaurant," he said. "We just had everybody come to the park and we cooked up hamburgers and hotdogs.
"I would have lost everything anyway, so why not feed some folks?"
Zhoushang Village, China - Riding a small rowboat headed home, Deng Jiangyi examined the muddy water all around him - eerily dotted with treetops, electrical poles and flocks of ducks.
"This year's floods were so extreme that almost the entire village got submerged," lamented the 66-year-old farmer. "Everything is gone - everything."
Nearly all of the village's 1,600 residents lost their livelihood - with their crops and livestock under water.
As the massive flooding from the Mississippi heads towards the nation's richest oyster grounds, Mike Voisin feels that old familiar feeling.
He's seen the damage caused to the oyster business in Louisiana firsthand over the past six years. After Hurricane Rita and then Hurricane Katrina ravaged Louisiana, the oyster business realized they needed protection. A part-government, part-private insurance program gave them breathing room to recuperate.
But then the blows kept coming. One, after another, after another. Hurricane Ike and Hurricane Gustav again battered the spirits and livelihoods of those who depend on their oyster crops.
Previously - Oysters stage a comeback after BP disaster