On my last night in New Orleans, I ended up at Libbie’s birthday party. Also a photographer, she had a small set set up, with an American flag for a backdrop, and asked guests to pose for her. When posing, she asked me to think about being an American, or to do something American, or something like this (I can’t remember exactly how she phrased it).
It was a lot to think about on the spot.
But later it got me thinking about America, and New Orleans, and how New Orleans is one of the most unique and vibrant cities in America. And it got me thinking about all the Americans I meet (and fall in love with) whenever I am there.
New Orleans surprises me. It keeps surprising me. It surprises me the way that New York used to surprise me. You can get your bloody mary (flavored with Guinness) to go and hop on your janky cruiser and ride from the French Quarter, through the Marigny to the Bywater and to the Lower 9th Ward and still see the effects of the hurricane that devastated the city five years ago when you see houses still marked with the X’s that indicated how many survivors were found. It’s still kind of dangerous (actually pretty dangerous I hear – but I’ve been lucky everytime I’ve been down there). People are friendly and smile and old men say “Good Evenin’” to you on the street at 2 in the afternoon. There is music everywhere you go, coming from houses, bars, and street corners. You go out at night and run into the people you wanted to see because it’s kind of a small town.
New Orleans is raw and sticky and dirty and real and beautiful and the people who live there are proud of their city and love it immensely.
I’ll be back there soon. And hopefully I’ll run into these folks again.
Libbie laughing on her porch on her birthday.