I had an idea...
I cleared my schedule, bought a plane ticket on Tuesday, went to class and packed a bag on Wednesday, drove two hours south on Thursday, got coffee with a friend, bought an $8 beer, met a choreographer in an airport and talked about phobias, boarded a plane sat next to a woman with purple hair and lipstick, got off the plane and surprised my sister in Louisiana.
Now, here I am typing from a cot in my sisters living room on Thursday night. Life happens fast.
x The Big Easy
New Orleans is one of the most vibrant U.S cities that I've ever visited. Despite devastation in 2005, the city maintains its character. In certain areas, what used to be a structure was now a pile of wooden planks and debris. Some houses were standing on one leg barely maintaining four complete walls; however, in the spirit of the city, people had lathered their houses in shades of pinks, purples, greens and blues. They had hung beads in their windows and wound ribbon through their fences. Driving down the road, colorful murals spoke about history. The juxtaposition of decorated homes and abandoned houses told a story of catastrophe and strength. It's a hard thing to recover from devastation but during Mardi Gras season, it's like the city had never seen a bad day.
There's no way of summarizing everyone in New Orleans so I won't even attempt to do so. But what I can say is that every single person I saw or spoke to was a tiny reflection of the city as a whole.
Greeting complete strangers with a hello and a smile is a southern decency that unifies strangers. As we walked the streets, individuals could be found everywhere showcasing their talents in art and music. Usually it's a little awkward taking pictures of people don't know but I was down for the challenge.
Here are the portraits I managed to capture over the weekend!
On Friday we joined the crowds that lined the streets in preparation for the Krewe of Centurions. Red and blue flashed across everyones face as police barricaded and cleared the streets of spectators. This was my first experience with Mardi Gras so I expected instantaneous giant floats and beads raining from the sky immediately. Not gonna lie... my experience pretty much lived up to the hype. Especially on the second day when we drove to Old Algiers, caught a ferry to downtown where we watched the Krewe of Endymion. Marching bands quickly made their way down the road and floats traveled down the road in all their glory. I was able to catch/gather/be struck in the face with at least 200 strings of beads and tiny souvenirs. I found the baby in a king cake and ate jambalaya and bread pudding until I had to come back to reality.
I'm sure I'll be back in Nola soon. Until then, I'll be dreaming about beignets, beads and brunch.
Shoutout to the Chenele for making time to show me around.