21 posts

Looking back

New Orleans is easily the most amazing place I have ever been. I will never forget my experience with our ESRM 492 class and inspired by the kind nature of the city’s residents, the phenomenal musicians, and the diverse culture that blessed New Orleans.

Exploring the French Quarter during our first days in town gave me an impression of the people native to the area. Absolutely everyone I encountered had a smile and kind words for the work our class was doing for the city and region.  Paul Sanchez strengthened this impression with his pronounced “thank you” to our class with free CDs and a public mentioning of our hard work during his fanatic set at Chickie Wah Wahs. I was also inspired by the love that the city’s residents had for New Orleans and how that in turn fed their history, culture, and family.

Everywhere we went it seemed that there were street musicians, artists, and other performers livening up the scene. Every club, social establishment, or venue we visited had some of the most talented musicians I ever had the pleasure of hearing. These musicians were well versed in the musical history and culture of the city and assisted in making my New Orleans trip even more unforgettable.

The liveliness of New Orleans was most evident in the parades the city seemed to have most nights we were there. There were parades for St. Patrick’s Day,  St. Joseph’s Day, and a small parade for every wedding that took place in the quarter.  I was amazed by New Orleans’ friendliness with artists and street performers. Unlike Los Angeles, I can actually believe that a performing musician can make it comfortably in New Orleans.

The work our group did in the wetlands was grueling and labor intensive but impossibly rewarding for all of us when we thought about what the city now means to us (and I suspect anybody else who has ever experienced the Crescent City).  We were reminded of this sentiment whenever a loud soul would shout “CORNBREAD!” at the top of their lungs to raise moral in the swamp. That food will forever be a rallying cry for the group that took this trip to the beautiful New Orleans.

Last day in the Woodlands

Bitter sweet ending to the field work in the woodlands conservancy.  Hard to say goodbye to this beautiful park but it was nice to meet and work with young Tulane University students.

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Paul Sanchez at Chikie Wah Wah

The group had a wonderful time this evening enjoying the music of Paul Sanchez. I was thrilled to find out what a kind person he was and how much he cared about the community. It felt great to support a fantastic musician and caring member of the New Orleans community and culture.

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A wet day in Delacroix

It was great to see the Delacroix plot today. Though it was quite inundated with water, this site had many more native plants and showed evidence of less disturbance than the Woodlands Conservancy Trail and Park site.

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Community Garden

We had a great time singing and building this garden today! It felt nice to do some good for a local community that has gone through the worst of times.


The music that blew my mind

We had the pleasure of seeing Irvin Mayfield play at his very own club tonight with elements of the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra. Irvin was easily the greatest and most tasteful trumpet player I have ever seen play. His band was nothing less than phenomenal and had a few surprises for the crowd. The drummer had the chops of Buddy Rich and the voice of an angel. The trombone player could make a grown man weep with his soothing voice and amazing prowess on brass. The sax player had the tone of Stan Getz and the tenacity of John Coltrane. I will never forget the night that this band knocked me into another world.

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Meeting all kinds of great people

Our group got to meet with Michael Blum from Tulane University; Bessy, who represents SFRPLA-E against oil companies that have caused significant damage to wetlands; and the environmental reporter for New Orleans daily online article.  These meetings were great learning experiences and provided opportunities to learn more about the impacts that Katrina, the BP deep water horizon oil blow out, and oil companies continue to have on marine, coastal, and wetland ecosystems.

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One Big Beetle

I stumbled upon one of the largest beetles I have ever seen while cutting my way through thick blackberry. This darkling beetle was quite a spectacle to watch as it ventured into different parts of a decaying tree.

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