People who live in New Orleans know how to savor life. When mealtime arrives, they serve a feast. When someone dies, they honor the person’s memory with a jazz funeral and parade that can last hours, if not days.

“New Orleans is the last bohemian city,” says Wendell Pierce, the native son who portrays trombone player Antoine Batiste on “Tremé,” the popular HBO series by writer David Simon. “It speaks to people and gives them a freeing of their spirit. You can be yourself.”

To give you a sense of what that means to people in the Big Easy, we chose four notable New Orleanians from the worlds of food, music and drama, and talked with them about their lives, work and feelings about the city. On the pages that follow, you can read their stories, which we think add up to a delicious slice of what life here is like.

“There’s something about New Orleans that’s got that pop,” believes jazz trumpeter and vocalist James Andrews. “It’s got that flavor. It’s a different crowd, and most people down here have got soul.”