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New Orleans in Photos

French Quarter Festival
French Quarter Fest is billed as the largest free concert in the South and features local musicians of varied genres. Over the course of four days in April, you can experience all kinds of music, by over 100 performers scattered throughout the French Quarter—virtually every time you turn a corner you are bound to run into an amazing jazz band, breaking it down in the street. Crowds form and spontaneous dancing breaks out, the city is full of energy. You can also attend the world's largest jazz brunch in Woldenberg Riverfront Park, tasting all the local specialties, from jambalaya to assorted po' boys. The event continues into the evening, and you should be sure to catch the fireworks display over the Mississippi river.

The Krewe
I've spent tons of time in New Orleans, but one of my favorite parts are the street performers. As I watched this man perform I shot the colorful and elaborate Mardi Gras headpiece

Louisiana Treehouse
I actually don't know exactly where this place is because my friend and I arrived after dark during our cross-country road trip, but the website is below in my blog. It's owned by an eclectic man and the tree house sits in the far corner of his property, overlooking a blueberry orchard. It is geared towards honeymooners and married couples, but we sort of knew his granddaughter, who gave us a deal. This is what I wrote in my blog: So we had places to stay every night on the trip...except one. Neither of us knew people in New Orleans we could stay with, so we began yelping places that were cheap, but also safe to leave Lindsey's car with all her belongings. We were two hours outside New Orleans and nothing was looking good. Every place in the city was either ridiculously overpriced or super shady. Just when we thought we had to succumb to a lousy accommodation with no real connection to us, a man called. We called this guy in hopes of us staying in his tree house. Yep, you read that right, a tree house! Our friends stayed there last year and told us about it so we gave it a shot. Not knowing what to expect, but given a generous student discount, we took to the trees for the night. We arrived at the house after 9 p.m, not knowing it was 1) on the other side of a janky bridge with no lights, and 2) it was in the guy's back yard. Regardless of any prior expectations we had of trees houses, southern folk or Louisiana in general, this place was unbelievable.

Riding on a Float in a New Orleans Mardi Gras Parade
If you ever wondered what it feels like to be a rock star, riding in a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans is one way to find out! It is an entirely different experience being IN the parade vs. watching the parade; being the center of attention, and having tens of thousands of people screaming 'throw me something, mister' over and over again... Starting in the more suburban, non-touristy area it is a family affair, with kids sitting atop ladders holding fishing nets to catch the prizes... But by the time you get to Canal Street the sidewalks are packed with crazed partiers going wild...

At Ringlets Salon in New Orleans
Given New Orleans' steamy climate, it's not unusual that my visits there often include a trip to a hair salon. Last fall, I snapped this beautiful (and patient) child, whose mother had taken her along to Ringlets Salon to get her hair done on her 3rd birthday.

A Delicious Take on New Orleans
If you didn’t know already, New Orleans just might be the most delicious city in America. On our first day in the city, we hopped the St. Charles Avenue streetcar (the oldest functioning streetcar in the world) and rolled down to Bourbon Street. Bourbon Street is bustling with bars, tacky t-shirt shops, touristy restaurants, and an abundance of people who want to keep the party going as long as they possibly can. While we may have checked off another popular tourist trap on our “Things We Never Need to Do Again” list, we also found our way onto a street that was much more our speed: Royal Street. Just a few blocks to the right and parallel to the Bourbon Bash, Royal Street is quiet and serene. It is also home to Cafe Amelie, a sweet little dining establishment with outdoor seating and a menu that will make you sing. Cafe Amelie is where I had my first taste of Louisiana shrimp and grits. The best way to describe how incredibly fabulous this dish tasted is to picture my first bite. It was so good I closed my eyes and fell back in the chair. As if that wasn’t enough fireworks to make my Fourth of July memorable, my catfish sandwich that followed was heaven on ciabatta and Paul’s muffaletta was the most delicious combination of salami, mortadella, and ham to touch his lips in a long time. After a short visit, we know there is so much more for us to explore and taste in this little city that’s thriving with talented chefs and overflowing with southern charm.

New Orleans
The over-the-top extravaganza of New Orleans Mardi Gras hardly needs an introduction; it is known around the globe as one of the world’s most dazzling parties. The lineup of events here includes more than 60 parades from Twelfth Night (Jan. 6) through Mardi Gras day on March 4, with music, floats, throws and dozens of krewe members dancing and displaying their finest costume regalia. There are also masked balls, parties and countless other opportunities to (over)indulge and imbibe. Click here for more information about Mardi Gras in New Orleans and other areas throughout the state.

Riding in the Bacchus Parade at Mardi Gras
After years of watching Mardi Gras parades, I went behind the mask and rode in the Bacchus Parade Sunday 3/2/14

Antiques and Oddities in the French Quarter
For a souvenir more unique than your average postcard, head North past the famous Cafe Du Monde and across the street to find yourself some of the most eclectic stuff you'd ever see. Its easy to fit some antique-ing into your schedule, just stroll on by after a suitable serving of beignets!

Take a Tour Through the NOLA Arts District
New Orleans local and Founder of Manning Architects, Ray Manning, takes us on a tour of the Arts District. Check out the iconic architecture and design of New Orleans in this video.

Take a Tour through New Orleans' Mid-City District
Join New Orleans local, Maya Taylor, on one of her bicycle rides through Mid-City. This choreographer and professional dancer takes us down Esplanade Avenue in this video.

Explore New Orleans' Bywater District
Owner of Booty's Street Food, Nick Vivion, shows us all the creativity and excitement this vibrant community has to offer. Check out the unique spirit of Bywater in this video.

About Randy "Frenchy" Frechette
One of New Orleans’ most acclaimed artists, Randy Frechette (aka Frenchy) has been drawing since he could grip a pencil. In grade school he impressed friends with caricatures of teachers and classmates, but he did not realize his true calling until the jazz-funk band The Boston Horns persuaded him to paint their live performance in Orlando, Florida. Frenchy can often be found capturing the energy at concert venues and sports stadiums in New Orleans and all over the globe. Based in talent-rich New Orleans, his creativity reflects the spirited nature of the city while his art serves as a cultural ambassador to the world. His presence fills venues both large and small with the raw energy of the creative spirit. Frenchy captivates onlookers with his artistry in motion—painting events in real-time as they unfold before him. His performance is mesmerizing and its end result is awe-inspiring.

Second Line Parades
Originally, second line parades referred to the group of revelers who would follow the “first line” of a jazz funeral—the family and mourners, the hearse, and the permitted band. Today these impromptu moving musical celebrations have been described as “a jazz funeral without a body.” “I love when you happen to stumble upon a second-line parade,” Ben says. “It is hard if not impossible to plan on seeing a parade in advance as they are generally impromptu events, sponsored by Social Aid and Pleasure Clubs. You can expect some to take place every weekend and they fill the city streets with music. Keep your ears open for them.” —Ben Jaffe

About Ben Jaffe
Ben Jaffe was born in New Orleans, the son of the founders of Preservation Hall, Allan and Sandra Jaffe. He grew up in New Orleans’ French Quarter, two blocks from Preservation Hall. He attended the School for Creative Arts and then Oberlin College. After graduating from Oberlin, he returned to New Orleans and became the manager of the Preservation Hall venue and joined the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, playing bass. He has produced a number of Preservation Hall albums and is the chairman of the board of the Preservation Hall Foundation.

About DJ Soul Sister (Melissa Weber)
Known worldwide as the “queen of rare groove,” the award-winning DJ Soul Sister has hosted her "Soul Power" show on WWOZ FM and "right on party situations" for nearly two decades in her native New Orleans. One of the longest-running live dj artists in New Orleans, the veteran radio programmer and host of the longest-running rare groove radio show in the U.S., vinyl collector, crate digger, party promoter and tastemaker is highly regarded and respected not only in her hometown, but around the globe. Soul Sister has thrown down her seamlessly blended, and vinyl-only, funk/soul/rare groove/discotheque/jazz fusion/true school hip hop sets everywhere from the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival to performances in New York, Los Angeles, and London – and in New Orleans at her near decade-long "Hustle Saturdays" weekly residency (now at the Hi-Ho Lounge). She has opened for everyone from George Clinton & Parliament-Funkadelic to Bootsy Collins to Questlove – and was even personally invited by George Clinton to DJ his 71st birthday party. She is also a tastemaker and recognized authority on funk, soul, disco, hip hop & rare groove music and musicians. She conducts on-stage oral history interviews with musicians like George Clinton at the annual New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and has been featured on TV in film, and in literature.

It's a magical place, to say the least...
My first ever solo trip was to New Orleans in the Spring of 2013. I didn't know a single person and had no idea where to go or what to do. The first person I met there, aside from my very outgoing and charming cab driver (this is not rare in NOLA), was the girl working the check-in desk at the hostel where I was staying. Turned out she was from my hometown! After dropping off my belongings and chatting with check-in girl about the best form of transportation (streetcar if you want the NOLA experience. It's time-consuming, but still my favorite) I ventured to the French Quarter, because where else would a first-timer go?? As soon as I began to walk around I was amazed by how much I recognized from photos, which do NOT do this place justice. I visited a couple bars and shops, strolled down the streets looking at the architecture of the homes, and immediately felt a sense of comfort. I have since visited again and a couple friends from home now reside there. And I understand why. There is music around almost every corner, in bars and on the street, some of the best musicians I've heard live and such a variety of genres. And the food! I could go on and on about the food. But with everything I could say about this place, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the incredible people that make up New Orleans. Their hospitality rivals that of any place I've ever been. The people I've met and have yet to meet in New Orleans are the reason I will always go back.

Three Chefs Who are Disrupting New Orleans’ Food Scene
New Orleans will always be a tourist favorite for cajun, but in recent years, there’s been a movement of chefs bringing their roots and ethnic passions to the city and changing up traditional flavors. Three chefs are leading this movement with their philosophies on fusing the cultural cuisines of Louisiana with their roots.

Best of New Orleans
New Orleans is one of the most unique and entertaining cities in the world. There's certainly no lack of culture, community, and live music. The best things to do in New Orleans involve eating, drinking, and walking through the historic French Quarter. The food scene in NO is unrivaled by any other and boasts a rather eccentric nightlife that shouldn't be missed.

"les bon temp roule!"
“Let the good times roll!”, as the saying goes in New Orleans, and there’s definitely a lot of GOOD times to be had … and good food, good ambiance and great music, and I’m definitely a huge fan!

Every time I’m down there, I fill up on the local cuisine. Creole, Cajun, Soul Food … a diverse mixture of culinary delight … all I know is that it is guuud, and I want lot of it! The only downside is when I return home, I find myself craving the food I had there for days, especially the beignets at Café du Monde.

I’m always in awe of the joy and the resilience of the New Orleanian, especially in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and their determination to rebuild and revive their city, and I can’t wait to get back to that wonderful place to hear makeshift brass bands in Jackson Square, dance to zydeco in my cowboy boots, and to feast on all the critters and gators from the swamp.

New Orlean's Saints Game
All by himself in a local bar, this fan was not to be deterred from cheering for his team.

'Tis The Season, Mardi Gras Season
Walking along Royal St. after a night of parades and came across this row house all dolled for the season.

End Of The Line
Late night,the fog rolling in, at the end of the Canal St. Trolley Line.

Decisions, Decisions
Some of the best food in NOLA at a dive bar near the French Market. I recommend the fried chicken.

New Orleans
Such beautiful buildings

Yeap, the store is in the U.S.!

Summer + Jazz = FUN
The Satchmo Summerfest is a free festival in the French Quarter. Great food and music. If your are in NOLA when it's happening, definitely check it out. You will not be disappointed.

Bucket of Goodies
Now all you need is a cold beer and some diligence. OK, so a couple napkins would help. Sorry I don't remember where I took this picture.

After the Parade
Several days after the Krewe of Cleopatra rolled down the parade route, the floats were still hanging out near my friend's apartment, looking a little out of place in the industrial setting.

Flags out @ the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
Jazz Fest as its known to the lay person is an amazing event that occurs the last weekend of April and the first weekend of May. This is a view from the audience of the main Acura Stage during a Fleetwood Mac performance. Many of these flags return year after year and provide an effective means of finding old friends. My friends and I had one made back in the late 90s and got a "shout out" from the band!