Is there colour in motion? Or idleness? Do lavenders and teals feel different than crimsons and corals? It is common to attempt the recreation of the final moments of a summer evening with a dusty shade of tangerine or to represent a bustling city crosswalk with a swirling collection of muted hues. But colours are not so easily adhered to movement or stagnation in Louisiana’s largest city.
In New Orleans, these colours are interchangeable, blending and colliding through the streets as bicyclists maneuver along the roads past the stationary bright and bold store signs and big bay windows. NOLA is colourful, combining deep pigments and saturated tones. But these pigments can be seen slipping off of the floral patterned dresses in a pastel storefront onto the freshly pained body of a Schwinn Cruiser. Or fading from the old water-stained walls of a corner restaurant onto a worn rode bike.
Maybe these bicycles represent the identity of NOLA: loud and bold at one moment, but silently stepping back into the shadows and becoming a part of the city’s old architecture at another. Sometimes they want to be seen and celebrated as individuals. And sometimes they pay tribute to the beauty around them: the weathered brownstone and cracking cement sidewalks, the chipping paint and fading wrought iron balconies. They want you to see the city without distraction; see the city as it is in the overcast light of humid air or just a fragment of the city beneath the yellow cast of a low hanging lamp post.
New Orleans is colour. All of them.
Words: Emily Kawahara
Images: Sabrina Henry