NOLA Pride vs. Southern Decadence

While nursing my hangover from the New Orleans Pride Parade last summer, I wrote this little article as a response to criticisms I heard frequently about our Pride celebration from friends within the community.

As we gear up to honor the victims of Orlando in what may be the most important Pride celebration of our lifetimes, below is a brief rebuttal to the negative comments I heard most often:

queer place-making in new orleans; part 2

Click here for part 1

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“When so many are lonely as seem to be lonely, it would be inexcusably selfish to be lonely alone.”

-Tennessee Williams

Its 4 o’clock in the afternoon.  I’m sitting at my desk checking emails, browsing the latest election year vitriol, and wishing I hadn’t eaten so much Chinese food for lunch.  My phone vibrates and there is a text from Jeremy Novy:

“Painting a rainbow crosswalk tonight hopefully.  The sidewalk in the neutral grounds between the Phoenix and Mags.”

The article I wrote a few months back had begun taking on a small life of its own.  What began as a conversation on vigilante urbanism was quickly evolving from theory into practice.  My food coma starts to recede.

“I’ll see you there,” I text back.

It’s 9 PM and I’m shuffling across Elysian Fields Avenue with my camera, a vodka soda, and a Bud Lite for Jeremy.   (more…)

queer place-making in New Orleans; part 1

“The right to the city is far more than the individual liberty to access urban resources: it is a right to change ourselves by changing the city.”  David Harvey, The Right to the City

The recent debate surrounding the Confederate monuments in New Orleans has me thinking about public spaces, how they speak about our values, and the concept of placemaking.  Placemaking is something we talk a lot about as wide-eyed urban planning students in grad school, but less so during the grind of actual practice.

According to the Project for Public Spaces, placemaking is an active approach to “strengthening the connection between people and the places they share,” and “a collaborative process by which we can shape our public realm.”  The folks at MIT are more succinct in their description, suggesting simply that placemaking empowers local communities to create a sense of “belonging” through place.  (quotes theirs) (more…)