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Scott Bakula on how he fell in love with New Orleans

Scott Bakula wasn't in love with New Orleans the first time he visited the city in 2013 to shoot the film "Elsa & Fred."

"It was right before the Super Bowl and Mardi Gras, and it was an odd time to be here," he tells CBS News. "I was here in the winter. I just thought, 'Maybe I'll be back,' but I wasn't thinking, 'Wow, I really get New Orleans.'"

Now, though, as the star of "NCIS: New Orleans," it's safe to say Bakula "gets" the city now that he lives there five days a week.

"NCIS: New Orleans" takes on the Mardi Gras parade

"I have a much more personal relationship with the city now," he explains. "I understand it so much more than I did before."

Bakula says he knows now why many New Orleans natives were so unwilling to leave their city after Katrina.

"You come and meet these people and understand why they've been here for hundreds of years," says Bakula. "I love music and food and this town is remarkable in both those aspects; I've never been in any place where people were so proud of their city."

Bakula's says New Orleans has captured his heart particularly because of its rich music culture.

"I'm a piano player and singer and I love jazz," he says. "That by itself -- to be in the place where that music was birthed is kind of mind-boggling to me, to be where all these people sang and played."

Bakula's love for the city helped make the decision to executive produce the docuseries "New Orleans, Here & Now" a no-brainer.

"It's kind of great being down here now, 10 years after Katrina, and getting to know so many people as I have," says Bakula. "Everyone here has a story and it's pretty remarkable to see just a few of the pieces that have been done. The six stories [in the docuseries] were really good and emotionally relevant."

"New Orleans, Here & Now" is a collection of six short documentary films set in New Orleans as the city rebuilds itself after Katrina. The narratives follow a wide variety of stories, from one young woman's path to becoming the World Boxing Council Welterweight Champion of the World to the family history of a local Vietnamese restaurant.

"You see all this human spirit and the rise in troubled times," explains Bakula. "People put aside their differences and everybody digs in. All of these documentaries are about being faced with tremendous adversity and coming out on the other side of it, in a positive way that affects everyone around."

Bakula says that the message of "Here & Now" applies to everyone.

"It's pretty amazing to be in a town that was completely torn apart ... people are still pushing forward and surviving," he says. "The docuseries is specific to the town, but I think it's universal, and that's a great thing."

Bakula says that one "Here & Now" film about a boatman especially resonated with him, though he is loath to pick favorites.

"They're all great -- they're all completely different," he says. "It was a good call to have unique, very separate kinds of tales. They have music, craftsmen, food, a young female boxer -- they all have bands."

Bakula isn't leaving his new city anytime soon, though he admits it's a bit humid for his taste. He is currently shooting season 2 of "NCIS: New Orleans," which premieres Sept. 22 on CBS.

"The fabric of the city permeates every side of the show," Bakula says of the Big Easy. "The city is like another character in our show."

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