I have three cities that I consider home. Seattle, San Francisco & New Orleans. Each time I am in any of these cities I am completely at ease, know my way around, love the atmosphere and culture of each and truly feel like myself. Since New Orleans has recently become the city I am currently residing in, the way that I see and feel about the city has changed some. The mystic aura that I have always been drawn to about the city has lost a little of its shine. And this is just to say that now that this is where I walk my dogs, do my grocery shopping, work on my businesses and hang out with my neighbors….well, it is no longer just a city of intrigue. It has actually become a bit more….normal.
Whenever I was in New Orleans for Jazz Fest or during Halloween, I would be on the go every single moment to try and enjoy the nightlife, culture and live music photography while I was in town and had the chance. Now that I live here I can say well, I’d love to catch this performance tonight but I’m tired or have a long day tomorrow, so I think I’ll wait until another night….this feels to be such a luxury of normalcy. For now New Orleans is my home day and night. Weekday and weekend. Cold weather and hot.
When I walk through the Quarter and see street musicians, tourists, locals, service industry people and others, I see a bit of life that seems frozen in time. There is something about this city that holds its history so near and dear that it never wants to move on. It absolutely refuses to break ties from the past. There is immense pride in nurturing how things have always been. And it impresses me. The tangible feeling of an accumulation of time and circumstance permeates this place, and yet it is all so shrouded in secrecy that I am completely drawn to finding ways to understand more about it’s past. It tempts me, teases me and taunts me. It’s as though there is a secret town committee where every inhabitant pledges to uphold all that New Orleans is, as a whole and with complete allegiance. And the sheer brazen nature of New Orleans past inhabitants intrigues me too. These inhabitants of the past entice me and I feel as though I must come to understand more of their stories. From the times of photographer E.J. Bellocq and the images he made in Storyville brothels to the music of Jelly Roll Morton during the beginnings of Jazz, there are distinctive stories of the American South. Even going back to the first settlers, pirates and politicians.
Many misfits and castaways landed in the port city of New Orleans, mostly against their will and these people formed this city into one that hasn’t changed much since. There is literally no where else just like New Orleans. And I think there in lies why I am still intrigued.