Tell someone you went to New Orleans and one of two things happen.
Either, they immediately ask you to tell a story about the best thing you ate, a show you saw, or a friend you made drinking out of go cups on the street. Or, they’re so excited to share a story of their own that they just start talking over you.
Having grown up here and spent much of my adult life elsewhere, I encounter the later much more frequently. Everyone leaves New Orleans with a story as their souvenir.
There are bigger ones – Steve Gleason’s punt block, the Storming of the Sazerac, the time Bo Diddley pulled four-year-old Trombone Shorty on stage, the bluff that founded the city in the first place. And on. And on. And on.
And smaller ones, like the time I got my haircut at the R Bar as the sun rose over the Marigny.
But they’re all of equal importance. Here, historic moments and barroom exaggerations share the same (below sea level) footing. It’s how we’ve survived, for longer than our country, when the world and the elements have hit us with everything they have.
When it came time to create an advertising campaign for the city’s Tricentennial, it quickly became clear – we didn’t need to make a single thing.