My Love Affair with New Orleans…


It is no secret that New Orleans is my favorite city outside of the Chicago, the city that I call home.

I’ve written about my love here…and here

The city of New Orleans hovers with an energy and a spirit that sticks to your thoughts. The architecture makes you feel like you’re stepping into a time capsule. Plaques throughout the city hint at just how long some of the buildings have been around. New Orleans is a fortress, that borders the Mississippi like an antique gold frame.

The only thing that I don’t like about New Orleans is the oppressive humidity (which happens mostly during the summer months). Outside of that it’s sensory perfection.

I had a chance to visit New Orleans last week to attend a conference with AARP.

We had an opportunity to tour HollyGrove – the neighborhood that Lil Wayne is from. We also had a chance to tour Bywater. In Hollygrove there is a neighborhood garden and farm, where residents are able to grow food and then sale it in the market. I spotted okra, bok choy and even organic milk and dairy products! They had a row of food where residents could fill a bag for $25.00.

StudioBE, created by artist Brandan “Bmike” Odums was super inspirational. It is a 30,000 square foot warehouse that is filled with art. StudioBE is SO hip-hop! I spent a couple of hours just taking in all of the art. Here are some of the favorite images from StudioBE:



You can also follow Bmike on Twitter here and StudioBE on Instagram here and Facebook here.

You can also learn more about StudioBE here. StudioBE was recently featured in an episode of Ava Duvernay’s Queen Sugar and an article in Ebony here.

Across the street from StudioBE, is NOCCA – New Orleans Center for Creative Arts. NOCCA was founded in 1973 and is regional, pre-professional arts training center that offers students intensive instruction in culinary arts, dance, media arts: filmmaking & audio production, music (classical, jazz, vocal), theatre arts (drama, musical theatre, theatre design), visual arts, and creative writing. Students audition to study at the school tuition-free. The school has a Culinary Arts Program supported by world-famous chef Emeril Lagasse. Donda’s House works in the after school space, so it was exciting to see an arts-centered academic program! Here are my photos:


Students work out of the Press St. Station and it is connected to the building. While we were there, Creative Writing students were giving evening presentations. Learn more about Press St. Station here.

The school was built on the site of a train station where the historic Plessy V. Ferguson case happened. Across the street from Bywater is the neighborhood Faubourg Marigny.


I had the chance to visit Holy Trinity Chuch, the location where Solange had her wedding. Check out the photos here:


While in New Orleans, I love to eat seafood and had the best Oysters I’ve ever had in my life a Neyow’s! Not only were the Oysters amazing, but so was everything on the menu (including the fried catfish and the fried chicken!). You have to have the signature Bow Wow drink which is 16 or so oz. of light & dark rum & fruit punch. Sip it slow, it will sneak up on you and they serve it in a to-go cup. I had the chance to meet the owner Tony and his wife Tanya was the chef! I’m always inspired to meet other couples who work together. Neyow’s will be opening up in a beautiful facility next door and they also own an event space across the street called Neyow’s Palace. Also, please have the bread pudding! It was served warm out of the oven & by far the best dessert I’ve ever tasted in my life! Check out Neyow’s on Yelp here.


No visit to New Orleans is complete without hearing Rebirth Brass Brand at Maple Leaf.


One day I hope to own an apartment or condo in New Orleans. I’d like to visit NOLA at least once a month at some point in the future because I love it THAT MUCH! Definitely adding NOLA to my vision board and if you have the opportunity to visit, I hope that you enjoy it as much as I do.

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