December 6th, 2012
You can’t get to the bottom of New Orleans. The more I find out about this city, the more I realize how little I know. From student life at Tulane to working at a local bakery to engaging with local high school students, each facet of life here has revealed new things to me. The relationship between the individual and the universal in any city is a complex one. Anyone can try to pull general truths forth and apply them to a place, but this can never work completely. The individual will always have an experience that varies from that of other individuals in the city, but still there is a tendency to generalize the experience of those that inhabit a particular place. Place-based storytelling has taught me that all individual stories extend to the universal in some ways. The beauty of story and art is in reaching out a hand to another person with a piece and asking others to project their own experience onto yours while drawing yours into their own. Story breeds relationship. Sharing my experience of New Orleans has opened others up to me and hearing the stories of other people integrates me further into this city. New Orleans serves as home and playground and exotic locale to an extensive reach of people and I’m yet to meet anyone who denies the hold it can take on your soul. Through place-based storytelling, I’ve been able to inject myself into the stories of my classmates, the students at Clark High School, and my own. The theme is this: the story is the person is the story. Our tales enable us to work out identity, difference, and shared experiences with ourselves and those who share our space.
By Bayley Sprowl