"The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization has designated 962 World Heritage sites. According to the group, these cultural and natural landmarks around the world were chosen for their "outstanding universal value." They include places like Old Havana, Cuba; Siena, Italy; the Grand Canyon; and the Great Wall of China.
UNESCO has also compiled a list of World Heritage in Danger. It includes places like Coro, Venezuela; the Old City of Jerusalem; and the Florida Everglades. Others like Machu Picchu, Bordeaux, Venice, Angkor Wat and Timbuktu are on the cusp of falling into this category.
Under assault from too many cruise ships, tour buses, T-shirt shops and karaoke bars, they have become victims of their own success. If and when New Orleans finally makes the cut, we should aspire (and plan) to stay on the right list.
My wife and I recently visited Antigua, Guatemala, and Oaxaca, Mexico, two UNESCO World Heritage sites that are definitely getting it right. If New Orleans needs models, we don't have far to look (my personal Mexican favorite on the list: Zacatecas).
Folwell Dunbar, New Orleans"
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