New Orleans

new orleans // a thousand threads
There are a lot of things you might say about New Orleans.

You might say it’s the most beautiful city you’ve ever seen, or the dirtiest, or that the food is beyond compare. You might say all of those things and, in some sense, when you did they would all be true. New Orleans is filled with gorgeous architecture weathered by hard summers and age, locals with a sense of humor strong enough to keep the city’s storied history of voodoo and ghosts alive and well (one apartment we saw for rent touted its apparitions as a key feature) and food so good you might find yourself sighing and carrying on to strangers for weeks on end.

Every time I visit I’m reminded that the city has more character wrapped up in one block than most can lay claim to at all. Voodoo, jazz, creole, and people that know how to party like nobody else (and can do it just about anywhere thanks to such lax drinking laws) are just a few of the things that make New Orleans stand out above the rest. But they’re just the tip of the iceberg…


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I won’t say the city shines its brightest during Mardi Gras – a few locals we talked to said they usually leave town. But it certainly comes together in a way you rarely see. Schools are closed, businesses are shuttered, parades run nearly every hour of every day, and king cake upon king cake is eaten in honor of the last few days before lent. In a sharp break from what most Americans see on tv, there is little sense among Louisianans that the celebration is anything other than a religious holiday, or at least among those that I know (I’ll admit they’re a religious bunch to begin with) and the neighborhood parties and parades we visited are as much fun for the kids as the adults.

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I had some of the most fun of the week watching my little nieces scramble for stuffed animals with a neck full of beads, displaying each hard-fought treasure with beaming pride, then quickly stuffing it into a bag to catch another.

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Of course we also found ourselves on Bourbon Street more than once, with its 5lb vodka slushies and balconies filled with dangling beads, waiting for the right enticement. Where the party goes day and night until the moment they clear the streets.

new orleans // a thousand threads
But as amazing as the French Quarter is when it’s full and alive, the New Orleans I love most is the one that’s left over when Mardi Gras ends… the one that resets itself to start planning the next (St. Patrick’s Day) parade, the one that proudly displays its ash on its forehead and goes back to living the good life it knows, with music and jazz and beauty even in the rubble and remains.

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It’s a city that bleeds and throbs with life, taking full advantage of each day it has, so it’s easy to see the allure that takes so many new residents (including my sister) south every year, hard summers be damned.

7 Comments

  1. Posted March 12, 2014 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    Beautiful pictures + words of a city so often misrepresented. I lived in New Orleans briefly and my boyfriend has been there for the last 4 years. Before stepping foot in southern Louisiana, I thought of it in the same way most people do–all I knew were stereotypical tales of lewd behavior associated with Bourbon Street and Mardi Gras beads. But it’s down the quiet little streets, and the po’ boy joints, and in between those old oak trees, and in those unexpected moments that the city truly exists. New Orleans will knock you off your feet in those moments–there’s truly no where else like it.

  2. Posted March 12, 2014 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    Wow, your photography is exceptional, like really exceptional!

    Sophie

    http://your-girl-is-lovely.blogspot.co.uk

  3. stevie
    Posted March 12, 2014 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    Only been there once (not during Mardi Gras) and would never choose to go back. I thought it was very dirty.

  4. Posted March 12, 2014 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

    These photos are exquisite. I’ve only been to New Orleans twice (both times I was underage, but that didn’t stop me from having fun!), and I just fell in love with it. Your pictures make me want to go back… like now. :)

  5. Posted March 12, 2014 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

    UGH I want to visit NOLA soooo bad! Looks like an amazing trip!

    xo

    Michaela

    http://michaelajeanblog.com

  6. Posted March 12, 2014 at 11:45 pm | Permalink

    new orleans is #1 on my list of cities I would like visit. I doubt I will want to go during mardi gras, but it looks like it was a great time! and you look so chic wrapped in that blanket!

  7. Posted April 8, 2014 at 5:58 am | Permalink

    These pics are GORGEOUS. Nola has a little piece of my soul. Just fills me up every time I go there and leaves me wanting more. I’ve never been on Mardi Gras – bucket list! Glad to see you guys had fun!

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