Very honored to have the opportunity to be featured by iHeartNola.com. iHeartNola.com, and its creator Scott Simon, has spent the last decade capturing the grit, beauty and raw unapologetic honesty of New Orleans. Kudos to 10 years of surviving this city that swims in authenticity yet drowns in nostalgia.
Images taken for the feature took place in St. Bernard Parish, an area outside Orleans Parish known for its fishing industry, blue collar workers, refineries and very distinct dialect. I spent most of my impressionable youth here and I can, in good conscience, proudly say this community has helped make me a better person. This is a kind, generous community that is incredibly resilient, proud and hardworking. As true locals would say: “They good people.” My parents moved to Arabi when I was a toddler and my father worked as the aviator for Plaquemines Parish which was about 17 miles “down the road.”
I remember attending summer camps and going to events in the city and being mocked when asked where I was from; I could not understand what was so funny or wrong with living in Arabi. No, I did not wear white shrimp boots and no, it did not take me an hour in a pirogue to get to sailing camp at the Southern Yacht Club. As I got older, and quite embarrassed to admit, I became self-conscious about my zip code and my accent. In all fairness to the bullies, I did have a lisp that I eventually overcame, and a distinct pitch in my voice, so I imagine it really was hilarious to hear me speak.
Now, more than ever, I consider myself privileged to claim St. Bernard and its community as part of my world. I grew up with alligators coming home in a shoe box, spoiled with ample amounts of fresh seafood, game, citrus and tomatoes. I flew in sea planes, rode in airboats and used armadillos for target pellet gun practice. Although there was a good deal of wildlife and fisheries shenanigans on any given day, I also shopped for dresses in uptown New Orleans and ate at the “fancy restaurants” downtown, and attended productions at The Saenger Theater in “the City” which the Orleans Parish line literally was the next street over form my childhood home in Arabi.
I greatly appreciate you Scott Simon and iHeartNola.com for allowing me to be part of your publication and play “dress up” in and around St. Bernard’s finest establishments.
Dress provided by ChattaBox