Photograph and words by Julie Pointer
New Orleans is a marriage of grit and grace, and every pocket of the city revels in this union: Ornate French buildings with broken shutters, lively vegetation creeping into graveyards, Southern gentility edged with brazenness. This mythologized place is marked by the contrast of the wildly tamed and the wildly wild. My first encounter with the Crescent City revealed there’s an undercurrent running through the banks of the muddy Mississippi—a stubborn willfulness that brings to life music, beauty, food, creativity, and allows green things to grow even in the midst of decay. It is this liveliness that makes the city so vibrant in spite of all its apparent contradictions. The spirit here may be slow-moving and laissez-faire (hence why everything is covered in verdant vines), but it’s obvious that things don’t ever stop; the jazz is forever playing somewhere, and conversations are in constant bloom—seemingly always with a cold drink in hand. In other words, culture is consistently being born and reborn here, cycling through the gritty and the graceful without end.