Tuesday, October 29, 2013

im in love ...

with the new orleans!

i have been to the big easy before. exactly once.

and every time someone asks if i have been to louisiana's most famous of cities, i reply - 'yes, i was 19 and my sister was pregnant.' that pretty much sums it up. i took a bonding cross-country trip with my sister 13 years ago, the first time we really spent any quality time together, when i was still grasping to my ever disintegrating my teenage years and big sister, then 30 - younger than I am now, had gotten herself knocked up. even for the most ignorant to the debauchery known to take place in this city, its clear, that that was not an ideal set of circumstances.

enjoyable for sure, this perhaps lackluster introduction to the city made me all the more excited to explore it all over again, this time with a little help from Redbull. when asked to spend the weekend in new orleans to shoot the Redbull's Street Kings of New Orleans competition held under the Claiborne Bridge in historic Treme, i didn't hesitate. i was in. strangely enough i accepted this offer knowing it would be part 1 of my journey, as just a couple week prior i had booked my flight to a friends wedding the following weekend. i guess when it rains, it pours. needless to say, my october will be fraught with fantastic live music, friends, and fried food!

by the time we landed touched down at msy i had been in transit for approximately 12 hours. i was exhausted and in desperate need of a shower so i did what any red blooded american woman would do - i went to eat. mikey and i partook in some po' boys and bloody mary's giving me an immediate buzz and even more immediate hangover. a quick change back at the international house and we hit bourbon hard if hard means leisurely strolling the streets while intermittently being assaulted by cheap beads being hucked at us from above and having our eyes assaulted by some unshapely ladies of the evening loitering in dimly lit doorways.

more drinks and beignets were greedily consumed and bed in my windowless room was heaven on earth.

the next morning i was up and at 'em, excited for The Street Kings of New Orleans event I was set to shoot. a quick wander and a hearty meal and i was set to head to treme in the back of a beat up minivan to be delivered at the event bordered by colofully painted homes, and even more coloful characters and situated directly beneath an overpass.

The day was a full one. Full of shooting and interviewing and perhaps some more eating. Full of glitter and colors, music and laughter and the most beautiful children i have ever seen. Full of a the sort of genuine human interaction i so often fall head over heels for in my foreign travels, yet available without a valid passport or grasp on spanish or french. available in our own backyard.

4 bands battled it out, with la pinettes taking the crown and literally changing the game, or name of it, from street kings to queens!

treated to a great meal with great company at Drago's post festival I was drained, proving yet again that my 20s are long behind me. luckily, my compatriots were also in my generation (or perhaps the one before me) and after a literal round table meal fraught with great stories via a group of nawlins natives, including legendary mannie fresh, we were all off to our seperate beds, respectively.

having already drunk the proverbial kool-aid, i could not help but reflect on a lengthy conversation i had with a woman on a side street mikey and i stumbled upon on a stroll around the neighborhood. a new jersey native, this woman for whom i wish i could recall the name, told me of her impulsive decision to relocate and gave me both words of kindess and encouragement. sometimes it is those chance encounters with strangers on a random street that offer you insight and hope. thank you kind lady.

the following day was a mix of drunken football fans, balcony dining, work and travel drama, peppered with live music and day time drinkers.

a quick re-introduction to this magical place it was love at first, or rather second sight.

inspiring visually and spiritually i can't wait to visit again. which, strangely enough. is tomorrow.