Another day, I went to the historically black neighborhood of Tremé and came upon Marion Colbert sitting on a bench by her door. Known as Miss Mary, she turns 90 in July and told me that every year the neighborhood throws her a birthday party in the street. ‘I can’t walk like I did no more. I got diabetes, arthritis and glaucoma, but I’m happy,’ she said. ‘I can still see and talk to people. I don’t need millions.’ Every once in a while, she would call out, ‘You have a nice day, honey,’ to whomever happened to be passing by.

‘Thank you, have a beautiful day,’ one woman replied.

‘Oh, it is,’ Ms. Colbert replied