Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Traveling Lolita: New Orleans

It's been a while since I got to document such a rich and culturally diverse city like New Orleans and when given the opportunity to visit, I jumped at the chance. I was fortunate enough to be invited to attend a wedding for two very good lolita friends of mine. I performed the ceremony that would join these two lovely women and it was truly a wonderful experience. But before and after the initial wedding I got to explore some of the surrounding area, Chalmette and Metairie.







The cemeteries were a very high on my to do list and one of my first stops. In the first cemetery, Rt. Rochs, located in the second chapel lay a separate prayer room almost like a miniature shrine. There, ex votos are mementos left in payer. Leg braces represent victims of polio; the plaster brains those who may have suffered from brain cancer. With no parish any longer associated with the chapel of St Rochs, visitors have taken this tradition and the variety of offerings from hand written letters, glass eyeballs, to toys; they range from the simple to outright obscure. Bricks marked Merci and Thanks are cobbled together on the floor of the shrine to bring a rather eclectic collection of hopes and thanks.



In the photo above is a panoramic view of the little shrine covered with ex votos. It was astounding to see what might be left in tribute or might be picked up by visitors as charms from their experience. The delicate balance between macabre and beauty were such a treat to capture. I was so happy to contribute if even in a small part.












Most of the cemetery outside of the chapel was above ground, a bit of a customary thing in New Orleans due directly to the city's inherent flooding problems. There you would see many different burial styles ranging from coping tombs, family tombs, and wall vaults. My favorite are the family tombs which could range from four to thirty people in a single tomb.







On our way out we also saw a house covered with severed chicken feet. I'm not sure if they were practitioners of voodoo, but it was still pretty wild to see. 


Another cemetery I got to visit was the Valance St Cemetery. This one was not as well upkept as St. Rochs and some of the tombs were weather beaten and unclaimed. So a lot of the coping tombs and wall vaults were actually exposed to the elements so you could see the remains of generations upon generations inside and nature reclaiming and poking through the cracks. 









To say the least, it was a surreal experience to see nature reclaiming the tombs of the departed and all the life in the neighborhoods surrounds these hollowed grounds. I would really like to revisit this particular cemetery again as I think the disrepair and crumbling of once was, is a beautiful glimpse into the scope of what happens to our physical attributes and legacies after we cease to exist on this plane.

Another bucketlist attraction was Kawaii Nola, a cute boutique located on Magazine street. Thankfully this is a hip neighborhood strip located a bit away from the hustle and bustle of the french quarter. I had heard so many good things from local lolitas about this place and was really happy to pop in. There I got meet Kanako and talk about her shop and how they carry both local made adorable items as well as international things, truly encompassing everything kawaii! Sadly they won't have a booth this year at Mechacon ( a local anime and jfashion convention July 17 - 19 who's guests are Baby The Stars Shine Bright and Alice and the Pirates this year ), so if you're in the area for the convention or any other time, be sure to stop by there for all your cute needs!




We also stopped into a couple of great shops where I snagged this great vintage hat you'll see in the photos below and some lovely macarons from Sucre. The seasonal blackberry and peaches n' cream were good, but, Laudrees' I think are still my most favorite. We also got to see twin steamboat houses which were spectacular and worth a visit if you're ever in town as well as an old abandoned orphanage which I would have loved to get inside of.






The most important part of my trip, and my favorite was celebrating of the union of two of my very good friends, Ash and Megan. I can't share a lot of photos of the actual ceremony, because I was actually in it, but it was beautiful. I'm really happy I got to be a part of a cherished moment and it was also really lucky it rained during the last part of the reception so nothing got ruined!





A special thanks to Amber who held my umbrella to shade me from the super awful direct sunlight. 



I'm really happy that I got to experience New Orleans the way that I did and I can't wait to go back again later this summer for Mechacon. Kammie was a wonderful host, her friends hilarious and lovely to boot; and the overwhelming feeling of hospitality left such a positive lasting impression with me. Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more adventures from a traveling lolita!





3 comments:

  1. Wow, New Orleans looks like such a unique place to visit. I would love to go one day but I think all of the cemetery stuff would freak me out.
    Beautiful brides and guests too!

    { sparklesideup.com }

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    1. It's a beautiful city and well worth checking out! And haha the cemeteries can be a little spooky; but different strokes for different folks. I hope you do decide to go, there's a lot of culture and it's definitely one of the top cities in America you should experience at least once on your lifetime.

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  2. Lovely photos. Thanks so much for sharing this tour.

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