New Orleans. On a recent trip to one of the world’s most fascinating cities my camera beckoned me. “The Big Easy”. Described as a “unique melting pot of culture, food and music”, to experience this city from behind the lens of a camera is exhilarating. An excited frenzy of desire to capture the true essence of New Orleans and the architecture that adorns it. An attempt, for certain. History paired with structures of timeless appeal…
New Orleans (La Nouvelle-Orléans) is “a major United States port and the largest city and metropolitan area in the state of Louisiana”. The city of New Orleans is named after the Duke of Orleans, who reigned as Regent for Louis XV from 1715 to 1723. Founded in 1718, New Orleans is also known as “NOLA”. The city was “established by French colonists and strongly influenced by their European culture”. This French colony was ceded to the Spanish Empire in the Treaty of Paris (1763). Perhaps it is no surprise that this great city became known for its distinctive French and Spanish Creole architecture, as well as its “cross-cultural and multilingual heritage”. New Orleans (Nueva Orleans) “remained under Spanish control until 1801, when it reverted briefly to French oversight”. Napoleon sold Louisiana (New France) to the United States in the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. Of interest, nearly all of the surviving 18th-century architecture of the Vieux Carré (French Quarter) is said to date from the Spanish period. New Orleans played a major role during the Antebellum era with evidences of neoclassical architectural style, characteristic of the Southern United States. All of the architecture that is layered within this port city beckoned my lens. Add to this that New Orleans is considered to be the birthplace of Jazz and you have a perfect combination in a city of intrigue, for certain. And oh, the celebrations New Orleans is known for! World famous festivals certainly continue to lure the world to these city streets. Having been to this magical city once before for Mardi Gras, the experiences I encountered on this trip marked a different appeal from behind my lens. Rather than colorful beads dripping from lamp posts and swags of the city’s colors of yellow, green and purple, the architecture and feel of the city stood on its own. Appreciation from behind my lens. Details that excite. Details that beckon.
The draw and pull to wander and walk the streets of New Orleans was strong. The French Quarter enticed my lens at each corner and from every angle. The culture of New Orleans permeates throughout the streets. Perhaps beyond the visuals that surround the sound of Creole jazz music, Dixieland, Ragtime, Jazz, Cajun and Zydeco music that drifts from the structures and fills the streets or is offered up by pop-up street performers, provides an emotional connection to the city that offers energy and life. And of the architecture? Creole cottages with high, steep front facing gables with wide front porches or simple stoops, brick chimneys and wooden storm shutters offer distinctive appeal in watercolor hues or bold visions of colorful appeal. Of course, the Creole townhouses that line the streets of the French Quarter offer unique NOLA appeal. These two and three tiered brick buildings present strikingly detailed wrought iron skirted balconies. The hidden walled courtyards from within these structures beckon a closer look when stumbling upon. A mysterious appeal prominent in the Quarter, indeed. Add to the architectural appeal the double shotgun framed row houses that abut to the sidewalk, with painted details that delight, and you will have visually sampled some of the classic local architectural style of the French Quarter. Other significant details that truly represent New Orleans are the gas lights that fill the city streets and grace the structures of history. Of course, a nod to the fleur de lys which has been a symbol of New Orleans since they were emblazoned upon the French explorer flag when Nouvelle Orleans was founded. An enduring emblem of New Orleans, for certain. One cannot help but take note of the decorative oval wrought iron air vents that decorate the lower part of the cottages. Although the structures themselves are not pristine they often offer an element of preserved decay. But beauty remains. And it is enchanting.
To set ones eyes upon Jackson Square, in the heart of the French Quarter, brings attention upward in appreciation of the towering Spires of the St. Louis Cathedral. Stunning. History is seeped within New Orleans. An intoxicating city that endures to beckon….
To discover the essence of New Orleans, one may only need to walk the streets of the French Quarter. With eyes wide open. Streets filled with color, life and energy. Surrounded by architectural wonders in a city entrenched in history. The photographs presented are a mere compilation of visual delights and details of this jeweled city that await. Consider with mere appreciation this visual paradise of delights of the City of New Orleans. And of my place from behind the lens? I will never tire of focussing upon its timeless beauty. A visual paradise, indeed…