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A City With Too Much To Say Turns 300

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.

This city’s stories are the greatest assets we could ever ask for.

We just needed to get out of the way.


We approached visuals with the same reverence. We took pictures of shotgun houses, cottages, and buildings around the city. Their colors became our colors. We took pictures of doors, wrought iron fences, and potholes, turning them into vectors. These became our textures. We scoured archives and libraries for photographs and film. Our finds became our characters and heroes.

Every element carries with it a New Orleans story.

In the coming months, we have a lot to share, but here are a few highlights:

FILM: Our film will debut during the first Monday Night Football game of the year (Saints/Vikings…WHO DAT). Shot by celebrated filmmaker Alex Moors, it stars a street performer, Lloyd Dillon, and legendary drummer, Johnny Vidacovich, telling great stories to a crowd in Jackson Square as footage is fantastically projected onto the Presbytère behind them.

PRINT: A series of national print ads use archival photography from the 1940s to the 2000s to showcase great stories from our city’s history.

STORY BOOTH: Later this fall, we’ll debut the Story Booth, a reclaimed shipping container, layered without IBM Watson and artificial intelligence software. It will move around to ten different festivals throughout the year. In it, you’ll have a chance to step inside and tell your favorite “One Time, In New Orleans” story. The booth will pick up on keywords (for example, “brass”) and project beautiful film footage on top of you. Then, you can take the video home and share it yourself.

This is only the beginning.

Along with the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation, we’ve gathered the greatest storytellers we can find – writers, directors, artists, photographers, musicians, agencies, and production companies – to share in this singular expression.

And so it’s with great pride that we invite you to carry on our city’s storytelling tradition. For 300 years – and for 300 more – the great ones have started the same way:

One Time, In New Orleans.

Visit New Orleans and start your story with #OneTimeInNOLA.

Andrew is a New Orleanian expat and creative. He wrote the “One Time, In New Orleans” advertising campaign with his partner, Doug Murray. When he’s in town, Andrew shoots pool at the Bon Temps and plays The Meters’ "Live on the Queen Mary” on the jukebox in its entirety. He also visits his parents.

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