The past month has been full of hefty challenges, which have kept me from posting on the blog, but has led me to begin yet another adventure in the wonderful journey of my life. My search for soul has led me to the place that I believe has the most SOUL on the planet, New Orleans, Louisiana.
When I moved from Los Angeles last May, my desire was to get back to my roots and discover my Texas history as well as create a new opportunity for my creative talents. My time living in Texas has been so fulfulling and I’m so happy to now have creative networks in both Austin and Houston-two amazing yet very different cities. I thought Texas was my destination, but turns out it was just a part of my journey back to my real home, Louisiana. I’ve been gone from this state for exactly 20 years and I never imagined that I would find myself living here again. Don’t we always say that? Well, I couldn’t be happier to be in the beautiful and soulful city of New Orleans and I’m so excited to see what’s next on the horizon.
The arts and culture in this city are thriving, and I am so happy to begin to be a part of it’s progression and re-build. New Orleans is a place for all people (some refer to it as a “gumbo”- a collection of everything) and serves as a ground for everyone to be their unique selves. There aren’t any particular “scenes” here. Nobody is trying to be the coolest kid on the block. Everyone is just their wonderful selves, in whatever form that comes in. This is a rarity in a country where hipsters seem to be taking over every charming city in the US. I’ve always embraced individuality and uniqueness and this is why my heart feels so happy to call New Orleans home.
This past weekend I went to a free event (most live music is free in this town btw) to see a band I discovered this summer at SXSJ in Austin, Hurray for the Riff Raff. The event featured several New Orleans artists and musicians and The Joy theater was packed full of the Riff Raff’s local fan base. They’ve been out on tour promoting their new album, Small Town Heroes, and were thrilled to be back in Nola performing for their crowd.
I wanted to share their music with you as their sound is very unique and their story of success lies in the heart of what New Orleans is all about. Lead singer, Alynda Lee Segarra started the band in New Orleans and is aiming to leave a hefty mark on the Americana folk music scene. She makes her music for the riff raff, the underdogs and says, “We really feel at home with a lot of worlds of people that don’t really seem to fit together, and we find a way to make them all hang out with our music. Whether it’s the queer community or some freight train-riding kids or some older guys who love classic country, a lot of folks feel like mainstream culture isn’t directed at them. We’re for those people.”
Check them out live below for a sample of their work:
The band just launched a fundraising campaign via Indiegogo for The Body Electric Fund which is raising money for organizations combating violent crime and the degradation of marginalized communities. Donations to the Indiegogo campaign, running through October 22, will support both the creation of a video for “The Body Electric” that will raise awareness of violence against women, minorities and LGBT groups and a variety of organizations working to promote peace for those in these communities, including the Third Wave Fund and The Trayvon Martin Foundation. See more on the campaign at Indiegogo.
Stay tuned for more of my journey while I search for soul from New Orleans and all the other places along my way. The adventure continues…