I have been mildy (to put lightly) obsessed with New Orleans since a week before Hurricane Katrina in 2005. My college besties and I planned one last getaway before having to deal with the real world (AKA jobs, stress, marriage, babies etc....) to the BIG EASY. The trip started and ended relatively badly, and by badly I mean BAD BAD BAD. First, we got the travel plans wrong. I thought we were leaving on day X we left on day WTF were you thinking.... Next, we almost missed our flight due to terrible airport chicken caesar wraps and EXTREME traffic into NYC. To top it off, our luggage was lost. No clothes for New Orleans (wait...is it mandatory to wear them there anyway?) was like cutting off my left leg. Excuse to buy more disposable clothing at forever 21(yeahhhh!)!! Being questioned if my Coach purses were real- another yet humbling experience.
So then our trip started & will quickly end- DRAMATICALLY. My friends 18 year old kitty passed away while were in New Orleans. Devastation. Ate to much Cajun & drank to much liquor= a full night on the toilet. Then came the worst news of all... HURRICANE KATRINA to hit New Orleans and RUIN our vacation. How selfish was this to think that Hurricane Katrina was ruining our vacation, when we got to the damage it did afterwords? Yeah, I must say at 21 years old, I was pretty freaking selfish.
We tried to plan a hurricane party but out parents didn't go for it. They got us on the next BUS (yes BUS) to NYC. 48 hours of pure hell.
I will end that story right here. The rest is history. Since the second I stepped foot in the land of the Cajuns versus the creoles- I have been fascinated. I have been back 4 times since Katrina hit. I am constantly inspired when I visit this city. The passion? Irresistible. The soul? Indescribable. The spirit? Freaking wow. There is NO place in the world like New Orleans. When I am there I feel like I can be home. I love the music, the art, the cuisine. I love it all. I love the darkness of the city. I also love the heart of the city.
My most recent trip to New Orleans was by far the most incredible. I was there with my parents and my husband and being a tourist extraordinaire. We did everything and everything. It was one of the best trips of my entire life. And I wasn't hungover the entire time (oh wait...yes I was... and it was way worse then when I was 21). I would visit the Big Easy- every year for the rest of my life. I cannot get enough of it.
During my last trip I was inspired by the emblem that identified this city- The Fleur De Lis. As a novice photographer- I tried to take pictures of the different Fleur De Lis I cam across my trip. It is a symbol that strongly represents the culture and believes of this unique parisian town buried deep in the southern bayous. I hope you enjoy my photos and have a chance to explore and conquer this FASCINATING city!
Here's a little information on New Orleans & the iconic symbol:
The history of the fleur de lis (sometimes spelled fleur-de-lys) is "flower of the lily". This symbol, depicticting a stylized lily or lotus flower, has many meanings.
Traditionally, it has been used to represent French Royalty, and it is said to signify perfection, light, and life.
In the twelfth century, either King Louis VI or King Louis VII became the first French King to use the fleur-de-lis on his shield. English kings later used the symbol on their coats of arms to emphasize their claim to the throne of France.
Joan of Arc carried of white banner that showed God blessing the French royal emblem of the fleur-de-lis when she led troops to victory of the English in support of Charles VII, in his quest for the French throne.
The Roman Catholic Church ascribed the lily as the special emblem of the Virgin Mary. Due to its three petals, the fleur de lis has also been used to represent the Holy Trinity.
It was also used as the main symbol of a secret society named The Priory of Sion. Remember in the book and movie "The Davinci Code"? The fleur de lis symbol is used throughout both accentuating its historic roots and religious ties.
Many other cities including Quebec, Canada and St. Louis, Missouri have the royal emblem on their flags and are part of their history as well.
The fleur-de-lis is also the symbol of the National Sorority Kappa Kappa Gamma . This symbol has unique and hidden meanings within their organization.
The symbols history often has secrecy and mystique surrounding its different uses and meanings, making it even more attractive to people all over the world!
THE NEW ORLEANS SAINTS AND THE FLEUR DE LIS
The New Orleans Saints have had the Fleur De Lis Emblem on their uniform since 1967. The black fleur de lis outlined in white was a symbol placed on the helmet at the inception of the franchise.
In 2000 the emblem was updated for the first time on the team's uniform. The fleur de lis was added to the jersey sleeves with white, gold, and black outline. This variation stayed on the uniform and was worn with both jerseys, for home and away games.
The most recent update, in 2003 was added to the uniform pants at the top of the stripe near the hip area. The pants with the new placement of the emblem is now worn with both jerseys.
The New Orleans Saints, with its best season in its history, wears the emblem more proudly than ever in 2009. Turning the emblem in to the most worn symbol around town, and a show of support for the team as the team headed to Miami for their first time ever in the Super Bowl.
The team turned the city into a fleur de lis frenzy as everyone was supporting the boys in black and gold. Read more about the black and gold super bowl and how the fleur de lis will be represented by the entire region.
Winning the Superbowl on February 7, 2010 for the first time ever, the Saints threw the city deeper into it's love affair with the fleur de lis symbol. A diamond encrusted fleur de lis adorns the top of their Super Bowl rings made by Tiffany & Co. that emulates the love between the team and the symbol!
THE CITY OF NEW ORLEANS AND THE FLEUR DE LIS
After the devastation of hurricane Katrina, New Orleans residents and those who cared for the city and its citizens needed some way to connect from around the world.
The Fleur De Lis, while popular before the storm, then grew in popularity even more afterwards. The emblem then became the symbol of the city. The fleur de lis is recognizable sign to those who are far away from home as well as for those trying to rebuild and come back. The storm torn city has a visual symbol of New Orleans to hold close to their hearts. The Fleur De Lis became an unspeakable common ground for all those who love the big easy.
The symbol of the Fleur de Lis now flies proudly in New Orleans neighborhoods who are continuing the struggle of rebuilding. In New Orleans you will see the Fleur De Lis on signs of the Broadmoor neighborhood, the City of New Orleans official flag, and even on New Orleans Police Department and Emergency Medical Services vehicles.
Citizens place flags of the Fleur de Lis in their gardens and on their homes, showing their support for a city that is slowly succeeding on the long road to recovery. It's also seen painted on several schools in the area that have changed their logo to the Fleur De Lis, such as Sophie B. Wright, Ronald Mcnair, Lafayette Elementary, and McDonough 15.
Downtown there were large free standing Fleur De Lis statues in front of the Place St. Charles building and the Whitney Bank building on St. Charles Avenue, as part of a city wide promotion. The entire metropolitan area has caught the Fleur De Lis fever!
Several local television stations have recently added the fleur de lis to their logo. Proudly displaying the emblem has become part of the community and will be around for a long time to come.