Discover More, New Orleans
We sent Michael a DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: New Orleans to get his perspective on what it means to use a travel guide in his hometown.
Place you live: New Orleans and Baton Rouge, LA
Can you sum up New Orleans? New Orleans is incredible. I love New Orleans because it’s so authentically cool, and really never tries to be. It’s the birthplace of so many American staples – jazz, for instance, a genre that transformed music forever – and continues to create unique culture in the present day. New Orleans transcends everything. It is beautiful, it is dirty, it is swamp and it is profoundly special.
Can you sum up the people of New Orleans? The people of my city are my city. There is no New Orleans minus its people. New Orleans is its culture and its culture is entirely created by the music makers, food lovers, and artists it houses. We’re unashamedly Louisianan. You might find us at the bottom of every list, the lowest of all statistics, but we’re nothing but proud to be here.
What was the experience like looking through the DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: New Orleans? It was great! I felt kind of silly at first, but realized I could learn a good bit about my city that I didn’t know before. And of course, revisiting the tourist favorites is always fun and you kind of gain a new appreciation for the familiar.
Did you find anything new or inspiring about your area in the Guidebook? I loved learning more about the history behind some of the buildings in the quarter. As a kid, you walk around your city not really knowing what the significance is because you’re really just becoming a part of the history yourself. But taking a step back and learning more about the history through the guidebook was fun.
How did the Guidebook influence the photos you went out to take of your area? I wanted to capture the familiar in a new light because that’s kind of what the guidebook opened my eyes to.
Tell us about the photos you shot for this project? I went down to the Bywater at first and shot the photo of my girlfriend in front of a colorful wall. There are tons of those here. It was right before we had breakfast at Elizabeth’s – a great spot that’s also in the guidebook. I took photos of the cathedral, Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop and the Saenger Theatre all because they’re familiar places, but also because I wanted to photograph them in a way a tourist might not. I love using the familiar places to represent my city because they became familiar for a reason. They are icons, they’re meant to represent.
What is a perfect day in New Orleans? Any day in New Orleans is the perfect day, but here’s a scenario: Up early for the sunrise, third-wave coffee somewhere on Magazine, and lunch at Company Burger. A trip to the park, preferably in the cool of spring, and sunset on the river, just outside of the French Quarter. A late dinner with friends, any restaurant works, and finally, late night beignets at Cafe du Monde in Jackson Square.
What do you love about New Orleans? The people are the best thing about the city, hands down. I also don’t mind the old French-Spanish architecture, the textures, the smells (good and bad), the climate (yes, I like the humid heat), everything really. I mean, every city has its issues, and New Orleans more than most, but there’s always more to love.
What do you dislike? Oh! I hate answering this question, ha. I guess I’d rather less violence, more cooperation, the things that everyone desires for their city. But in a way, I kind of rather embrace it all as ours and move forward from there.
What would be surprising about this place to an outsider? There’s entirely more to New Orleans than Bourbon Street, booze and a little bit of cool history. New Orleans has a very rich history.
If your city was a person who would they be? I think Louis Armstrong embodied and literally personified the city very well.
What was your impression of the DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: New Orleans? I thought the guidebook was really well thought out. It’s funny, some things that I thought might be in there weren’t and vice versa. My favorite part about it was the research that went into it – that really makes something like that standout.
DK Travel and Global Yodel have teamed up to bring you an amazing giveaway. We have a couple 10 packs of DK Travel guidebooks as well as a couple big art prints to give away. Who wants them? Jump over here to win.