The streets were pouring with rain and the humidity rose and I sat staring out the window at this incredible city.

New Orleans Magic

Written By Louisa Mow in New Orleans, LA
Our detour out of Memphis took us into Arkansas with flat fields and roads that stretched uninterrupted toward the horizon. As the sun set, we entered the mists of Mississippi, driving through clouds as the temperature dropped and the landscape changed into swampy lands with frogs and fireflies. We camped up by a petrified wood forest and tried not to get eaten alive by mosquitos and strange, black helicopter looking insects.
 
The next day brought us to Louisiana, and we were greeted by the bayous and big Spanish oaks dripping with mosses from the branches. The highway was one long, stilted bridge over swamps and it led into New Orleans.
 
As the days passed we allowed ourselves to get lost and in love with the French quarter. We meandered down cobbled streets and walked under balconies with wrought iron and flowering hanging baskets. The French terraced housed were mixed with an Americana flavor and were brightly painted with blues and yellows and varying coloured wooden shutters.
 
We ate ourselves stupid with creole and Cajun food. At night, we enjoyed a variety of music in the streets (Frenchmen St) with the locals. There was a cool array of blues, jazz and reggae filling the late night air- the streets acting as an amplifier for these underground sounds. There was a gypsy caravan with a woman inside soulfully singing and playing piano, it was absolutely astonishing. We all could have watched her play for hours and the whole experience was incredibly moving. We concluded the night with creole food from a street stall which included; alligator sausage, jambalaya, cajun cabbage, crawfish, and cups of gumbo.
 
We met a local artist, Ally Burguieres, with the most amazing artworks that exhibit the best of Nola culture and colour. She was a particular favourite of mine, among the many, as she is known for her unique fox paintings. You can see some of her work on her website here. I fell in love with one of her fox paintings so much that I asked permission to have one her foxes used as a tattoo. I went to downtown tattoo studios on Frenchmen street, voted as one of the best tattoo studios in New Orleans. The studio was big and bright, with draping red curtains and elegant displays of Americana art. I told one of the artists about Ally and showed her my fox, and she was delighted to tattoo me. I was in good spirits when I found out her name was Katie B, just like one of my favorite British singers. The fox had all the artists own flavor added to it, and the colorings were reminiscent of the traditional American pin-up girl tattoo. 
Whilst waiting at the studio, the streets outside were pouring with rain and the humidity rose and I sat staring out the window at this incredible city. We left Nola that night, and drove toward Lafayette, near Bayou Teche. We decided to pull up for the night by a boat ramp near Franklin, LA. We were almost fully settled in when a police car pulled over, beaming a bright spotlight on our car.
 
He told us we shouldn’t sleep there because it was an extremely dangerous area and we would almost definitely be robbed or worse. He escorted us out and helped us find a police patrolled area. Once there he told the other officers where we were and we watched them all cringe saying in a deep southern drawl “Y’all don’t want to be anywhere near there.”
 
I think we dodged a bullet!