Very quickly after getting here, we realised we were going to have to traverse the city repeatedly to get to the meetings we had organised and to attend the buildings that are most relevant to the project. We have chosen to do this on foot, walking significant distances across different areas of the city, observing changing landscapes, atmospheres, and incidental moments of everyday performance. This isn’t ‘walking performance’ per se but has become something more useful to our thinking than just being about getting places. In part this is because it has allowed us to engage in a small way with what Ana Paulina Lee calls New Orleans’ complex ‘memoryscapes, the spatial and material dimensions of cultural memory’ (2017: 72) that are in conversation with the city’s rich and diverse performance and cultural histories.
From second lines to busking, marching bands to street poets, walking tours to Mardis Gras parades, New Orleans is a city that is at least in part defined by performances that take place in the streets. In this context, we have found walking in those streets to be important in revealing something about the city and its performances. Walking has enabled us to attend to the incidental and the serendipitous, to the performances that we’ve noticed happening around us, both formal aesthetic practices and those that are more part of the everyday.
The photos below document some of our time spent walking.