I have been intrigued by the colorful street art in Nola, and wanted to better understand what I was seeing, so I signed up for a street art experience through AirBnB (they are now promoting experiences along with housing). Our guide Tyler was able to present a nice mixture of both commissioned murals and “organic” street art, and provided great insight into the works. 

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I love this mural by Jarred McKay,  His "Give me flowers" quote refers to the large number of black men whose lives are often cut short in our urban  neighborhoods.

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The artist "Leluna" paints water meter covers around town.  These are all found along St. Claude Ave.

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Rain Girl by the British artist Banksy, is one of 2 remaining works painted in 2008 after Katrina. Possibly a take on the Morton salt girl. Some say that the rain symbolizes Katrina and the umbrella the Superdome, where many Katrina victims were housed after the hurricane. The work is covered in plexiglass to protect from taggers.

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Carnival season officially ends on Fat Tuesday, but Nola has second line parades most Sundays. No reason is needed to parade, usually a social club will “organize”, there will be a rag-tag brass band (players will come and go), followed by revelers and food/drink vendors. The parade is basically a 4 hour mobile block party.

 

I attended this second line parade with "King" Hollis. Hollis is a fellow AirBnB host and a very interesting character. He is a member of the Treme Social club. They don’t have an official Mardi Gras parade and ball, but they do elect a king and Hollis just finished his year-long reign as the first LGBT king of the club. BTW, the current king of the Treme Social Club is the amazing Trombone Shorty.

 

Hollis wants to present a real view into the life and struggles of part of the Nola population that most tourists don’t see. He talked about the pros and cons of gentrification, theories about the failure of the levees during Katrina. All presented with love for his city. It was a special day.

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Every day I head out to walk the dogs and just love looking at the fabulous architecture. These photos are from the Garden District and the Irish Channel.

 

The Garden District was established uptown from the French Quarter. The beautiful homes were mostly built by wealthy British businessmen and financiers in the mid-1800s and are easily accessed via the St. Charles streetcar line from downtown.

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The Irish Channel is “the other side” of Magazine St. These smaller, more modest homes were built to house the Irish laborers, many working along the nearby Mississippi River. I am staying in a single shotgun house, on Toledano St, built in 1837 in the Irish Channel. They are a contrast to the more upscale Garden District homes, but the area is undergoing gentrification.

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It is no surprise that St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated with gusto in the Irish Channel (not that they need an excuse to celebrate with gusto). Yes, that means ANOTHER PARADE! Lads in kilts hand out flowers and kisses.  Lassies are Irish dancing.  The green beer is flowing. In addition to beads, cabbages and potatoes are thrown from the floats!

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