10 Sep What I Learned in New Orleans
I have never been moved in so many different ways ― especially not by a city before. New Orleans’ roots are so rich in history and culture that it has the ability to give those paying a visit, a unique experience. I always envisioned the birthplace of jazz to have a southern feel with delicious creole/cajun/soul food on every corner. While that’s accurate to a certain degree, there’s just so much more to this charming city.
I was fortunate enough to experience all the different parts of NOLA. From party central on Bourbon Street to the exciting wild life out in the swamps to the mouthwatering beignets in French Quarter, NOLA has it all. Coincidentally, we were there during Hurricane Katrina’s 10 Year Anniversary. After meeting a few people and hearing their stories, I realized the disaster still affects hundreds of people today. It’s devastating. Good, innocent people, just like you and me, are now out on the streets because their homes were destroyed. Some have lost loved ones and some are left with permanent disabilities. It never ceases to amaze me that even through years of recovery from the unfortunate event, New Orleans continues to radiate an energy of love and joy, while bringing people together with heartfelt music.
NOLA is truly inspiring. I started thinking about the art on the street as I passed by, and wondered if the artist had abstractly conveyed a certain experience on canvas. Or if the jazz singer on Frenchmen Street was belting out a story from his troubled past. I got teary-eyed each time, not for pity ― quite far from it actually. But because these people, living their life of passion, have captivated me with an immense emotion straight from the heart. And that got me thinking:
What meaning am I putting into my work? What story do I need to tell? How can I connect and relate to others? Am I just capturing photos because the setting is “pretty”? Or am I expressing and provoking a thought/feeling? And most importantly, why does the work I do matter?
What I learned in New Orleans
Whatever struggle or hardship we’ve fought through, is only another story to tell; it makes us beautiful, one-of-a-kind, and our lives more colorful. The sad thing is, I don’t think enough of us are striving to find that piece of us to share. It’s okay to be vulnerable; it’s not something we should be ashamed of. In fact, it’s what makes us courageous. Without being vulnerable, we’ll never discover our true potential or see how far we can go. New Orleans treasures their deep history ― welcoming us tourists with open arms, so that we too, can appreciate and see all its embedded beauty. So why can’t we do the same and embrace our past, share our story, and put meaning into the work we do so that we can make one other person’s day a little better?
I’m going to leave you with one of my favorite quotes that I stumbled upon during my early college years.
The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen. ― Elisabeth Kübler-Ross
Now get lost, your destination is out there.
Make sure to stick around for my next post. I’ll be sharing a free ultimate guide to NOLA!
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