Becoming a New Orleanian

April 4th, 2013

Sometime while I was in Europe last fall, I made a conscious commitment to myself to fully invest myself in New Orleans in the spring. I spent my first two years of college experiencing this unique city as a visitor – a student with a limited time to be spent here. I never called New Orleans home, and if you mentioned any significant landmark outside of Uptown, chances are I would have no idea what you were talking about.

This semester, thanks to Placebased Storytelling, my other courses, and some personal drive, my mentality toward New Orleans has changed vastly. Through service learning, and through immersing myself if the city’s culture in my free time, I have built relationships that I know very few Tulane students have the chance to achieve. I have gotten to know Mardi Gras Indians, 2nd line photographers, radio show hosts, and more. Most importantly, I have become friends with the students at Clark High School. I don’t feel awkward saying I am friends with them – I believe the time we have spent together goes deeper than a mentor/mentee dependance. We laugh and joke together, all while making a quality film.

I am even proud of the little things I have acquired this semester, such as being to point out the Marigny, the Bywater, the Treme, the 9th Ward, or any other neighborhood on a map (not to mention actually being able to orient myself when I am there). That may sound insignificant, but it has been possibly the most important contribution to making me feel at home here in New Orleans. These have been by far the most enriching and enjoyable few months of my college years.

By Adam Cohen