I went to New Orleans to photograph Mardi Gras as part of a Workshop organized by Andy Levin, an incredible photographer who lives in New Orleans. The first impression I got from New Orleans is that it's a busy place. The second thing I noticed was the Architecture.
Every house is different. The culture is well reflected on every building you see here. The diversity is trully admirable. In short, New Orleans is beautiful.
This is lake Pontchartrain. Right off the French Quarter.
I started off photographing the parades. It's incredible how many beads paraders buy and store on their floats.
The Flambeaux carriers were incredibly fun to shoot.
Flambeaux carriers carry torches mounted on wooden poles backed by a sheet of alumnium to reflect light (Flambeaux), wait for the parade to start while carrying gas tanks on their backs (pictured Above); which to me, seems very dangerous.
They dance to the rythm of the bands playing right in front of them while the crowd throws money at them.
The floats themselves are interesting to look at, but I wasn't really interested in the crazyness and chaos of Mardi Gras.
I was more interested in making sense out of the chaos of it all. I was trying to find personalities and quiet moments amidst the cachophony.
Thankfully, among the noise and the continuous gifting of beads...
... I was still able to find moments where people would show their personalities; if even for just a second.
I did notice a difference between how the younger and older generation reacted towards Mardi Gras. It seemed like the older they got the less they enjoyed the parades and the more they enjoyed the company of their friends.
I also went to an area where some of the local gangs spent time during Mardi Gras and witnessed some very interesting sights. There were around ten or so men riding their bikes showing off their skills at painting their gang's territory on the ground with skid marks.
I also ran into one of the big chiefs and the little chief, his son. African American men dress in very elaborate and ornamented costumes with feathers and colors and parade up and down Caiborne Avenue.
One more thing I loved about New Orleans is the music and the people who play it.
Of course, I couldn't escape Mardi Gras. The noise caught up to me.
And then it got crazier.
But even then I was able to find those quiet moments that made it worth sticking around.
And well, after the party...
Every morning, however, you would walk down the street and never believe anything happened the night before. That's because the city leaves the streets impecable.
All in all I had a great time. I met some wonderful people and photographers. And I found a new love, New Orleans.
.. oh yeah... I also got pepper sprayed.
The story? well, an unofficial parade, Parade of Eris, got broken up by NOPD and some people weren't very happy. And things got a bit out of control.