The streets of New Orleans are full of amazing life and scenes - a town that at once struggles with deep inequity but also thrives on its own spirit and pride. It's a town unlike any other in the country and from the moment you here the tubas or taste the distinct culinary traditions, it's quite clear you have been transported.
On this latest trip to NOLA, I was increasingly intrigued by the architecture and neighborhoods a little more off the beaten path from the side streets of the Garden District to neighboring suburbs. There is fierce pride here and when you're able to get away from the concentration of tourists circling the French Quarter, you can sense it in the bones of the old homes overflowing with flora to the streets with distinct art of their own.
Art in all its forms seeps through the every nook and cranny here. From the live music to the vivid architecture, gardens, street art and tattoos, every part of the city expresses itself differently. And the reverence that the town has for its own particular forms of art is palpable, if not increasingly appropriated.
Second line bands, still the hallmark of high school drumlines and more, lead wedding parties through the streets onto their never-ending parties. Maybe its honest. Maybe they're locals and this is their tradition, but it doesn't come off that way.
I'm sure I'll be back. New Orleans is growing, changing, and continuing to evolve in ways that sometimes mimic trends of gentrification but also in deep ways that cling to its roots and depth of culture.