From The 410 To The 504

From The 410 To The 504

Trading Crabs For Crawfish, And So Much More...

I’ve lived in the same house, attended the same school, and been in the same city for 18 years. So naturally, when the college search began, I was ready to go wherever the process took me. Almost instantaneously, I fell in love with Tulane and New Orleans. I mean, how could you not? New Orleans is unlike any other city that I’ve ever been too. Visiting for the first time only strengthened my love for this magical place, as I rode the streetcar down St. Charles in awe of the towering mansions, restaurant-hopped all over the city for incredible meals, and strolled beneath the towering oak trees on the campus that I would one day call my home. While I could not be more excited to experience everything that this new place has to offer for the next 4+ years, I also recognize some major differences between the Crescent City and the Charm City of Baltimore, Maryland:

Crabs vs. Crawfish

If you hail from Baltimore or any of the surrounding areas, you know that feasting on crabs in the summertime is an absolute must. I don’t just mean crab in dips, soups, or cake form, but the real deal; a high pile of steamed crabs covered in Old Bay (a Chesapeake Bay flavored, all-purpose seasoning blend of 18 quality spices and herbs that goes well on chips, wings, and especially crabs). We crack em’ open to extract all of the meat ourselves, right there at the table. This task is a Maryland staple at the end of a long summer day, but down here in NOLA, people look perplexed when I even mention the idea. I’ve only been here for a little over two months, so I have yet to attend a crawfish boil, but you can bet that when April rolls around this seafood pro will be peeling crawfish like a native New Orleanian in no time.

All Four Seasons vs. A Lack Thereof

Northerners like me understand the cycle of winter, spring, summer, and fall. I typically spend my summer days relaxing at the beach or cooling off in the pool, then watch as the leaves begin to change into bright shades of orange and yellow in fall. The first snowfall usually hits around late November or early December, and then I shiver and suffer my way through winter by counting down the days until I can venture outside without a coat again. But down here in NOLA, the “cycle” goes a little more like this: feels like 105℉ one day, torrential downpours and flooding the next, then sunny and 82° but with 90% humidity the day after that. While this unpredictable weather might drive some people crazy, I love the fact that the temperature almost never drops below 40℉, even in the middle of winter. If you also attend a school in the South, you probably envisioned your future self on Snapchat in 60 degree weather as your friends up north down their sweaters and snow-boots. By the time January hits, all the native southerners will be pulling winter coats out of their closets, and I’ll be jumping for joy as my North Face gathers dust back home.

The Inner Harbor vs. The French Quarter

Back in Baltimore, when families go downtown, they typically go to the Inner Harbor. A stretch of land along the Chesapeake Bay, the harbor is filled with restaurants, shops, museums, and lots of boats. I’ve been going downtown to the Inner Harbor ever since I was a little kid, whether it be for a visit to the National Aquarium, a celebratory dinner, or just a family outing on a nice day. But after countless visits over the years, the Inner Harbor gradually became less exciting. So in coming to Tulane, I love having a new area of my city to explore. From the artwork on the fence of Jackson Square, to the neon signs on Bourbon Street, to a stroll along the Mississippi River, each day spent in the French Quarter is unlike the time before it. There’s always something new to see, hear, and of course, taste.

You can live in any city in America, but New Orleans is the only city that lives in you.

Cover Image Credit: Movoto

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I Blame My Dad For My High Expectations

Dad, it's all your fault.

I always tell my dad that no matter who I date, he's always my number one guy. Sometimes I say it as more of a routine thing. However, the meaning behind it is all too real. For as long as I can remember my dad has been my one true love, and it's going to be hard to find someone who can top him.

My dad loves me when I am difficult. He knows how to keep the perfect distance on the days when I'm in a mood, how to hold me on the days that are tough, and how to stand by me on the days that are good.

He listens to me rant for hours over people, my days at school, or the episode of 'Grey's Anatomy' I watched that night and never once loses interest.

He picks on me about my hair, outfit, shoes, and everything else after spending hours to get ready only to end by telling me, “You look good." And I know he means it.

He holds the door for me, carries my bags for me, and always buys my food. He goes out of his way to make me smile when he sees that I'm upset. He calls me randomly during the day to see how I'm doing and how my day is going and drops everything to answer the phone when I call.

When it comes to other people, my dad has a heart of gold. He will do anything for anyone, even his worst enemy. He will smile at strangers and compliment people he barely knows. He will strike up a conversation with anyone, even if it means going way out of his way, and he will always put himself last.

My dad also knows when to give tough love. He knows how to make me respect him without having to ask for it or enforce it. He knows how to make me want to be a better person just to make him proud. He has molded me into who I am today without ever pushing me too hard. He knew the exact times I needed to be reminded who I was.

Dad, you have my respect, trust, but most of all my heart. You have impacted my life most of all, and for that, I can never repay you. Without you, I wouldn't know what I to look for when I finally begin to search for who I want to spend the rest of my life with, but it might take some time to find someone who measures up to you.

To my future husband, I'm sorry. You have some huge shoes to fill, and most of all, I hope you can cook.

Cover Image Credit: Logan Photography

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21 Quotes From Twyla Tharp's 'The Creative Habit' That Will Fuel Your Artistic Self

Use your half-baked ideas for good!


Twyla Tharp is a master dancer and choreographer. She's worked with the world's most prestigious artists to create works that will withstand the test of time. She published her book "The Creative Habit" as a viewing window for seeing into her creative process. Tharp offers both hard truths and gently encouraging words for both serious artists and everyday people just trying to expand their circle of knowledge about art. I compiled some quotations from the book that were profound, useful and to-the-point when it comes to examining artistic development.

1. "Creativity is not just for artists. It's for businesspeople looking for a new way to close a sale; it's for engineers trying to solve a problem; it's for parents who want their children to see the world in more than one way."

You get some creativity! YOU get some creativity! Everyone gets creativity!

2. "If art is the bridge between what you see in your mind and what the world sees, then skill is how you build that bridge."

3. "Everything that happens in my day is a transaction between the external world and my internal world. Everything is raw material. Everything is relevant. Everything is usable. Everything feeds into my creativity."

4. "In the end, there is no one ideal condition for creativity. What works for one person is useless for another. The only criterion is this: Make it easy on yourself. Find a working environment where the prospect of wrestling with your muse doesn't scare you, doesn't shut you down."

5. "Someone has done it before? Honey, it's all been done before. Nothing's really original. Not Homer or Shakespeare and certainly not you. Get over yourself."

Ouch. Toes stepped on.

6. "Metaphor is the lifeblood of all art, if it is not art itself. Metaphor is our vocabulary for connecting what we're experiencing to what we have experienced before."

"It's *literally* like this..."

7. "...get busy copying. Traveling the paths of greatness, even in someone else's footprints, is a vital means to acquiring skill."

Choose your muse wisely!

8. "You can't just dance or paint or write or sculpt. Those are just verbs. You need a tangible idea to get you going. The idea, however minuscule, is what turns the verb into a noun..."

9. "When you're in scratching mode, the tiniest microcell of an idea will get you going. Musicians know this because compositions rarely come to them whole and complete. They call their morsels of inspiration lines or riffs or hooks or licks. That's what they look for when they scratch for an idea."

You know you look crazy, but press on, baby ideas in hand!

10. "It doesn't matter if it's a book, magazine, newspaper, billboard, instruction manual, or cereal box -- reading generates ideas, because you're literally filling your head with ideas and letting your imagination filter them for something useful."

"Alexa, play the Reading Rainbow theme song."

11. "...there's a fine line between good planning and overplanning. You never want the planning to inhibit the natural evolution of your work."

Screw this global need for instant information. You gotta just let things run their course sometimes.

12. "Habitually creative people are, in E.B. white's phrase, 'prepared to be lucky.' You don't get lucky without preparation, and there's no sense in being prepared if you're not open to the possibility of a glorious accident. In creative endeavors luck is a skill."

Twyla Tharp is really just a more Type A version of Bob Ross.

13. "I know it's important to be prepared, but at the start of the process this type of perfectionism is more like procrastination. You've got to get in there and do."

14. "You're only kidding yourself if you put creativity before craft. Craft is where our best efforts begin. You should never worry that rote exercises aimed at developing skills will suffocate creativity."

15. "That's what the great ones do: They shelve the perfected skills for a while and concentrate on their imperfections."

16. "Without passion, all the skill in the world won't lift you above your craft. Without skill, all the passion in the world will leave you eager but floundering. combining the two is the essence of the creative life."

17. "My heroes are those who've prevailed over far greater losses than I've ever had to face."

18. "Part of the excitement of creativity is the headlong rush into action when we latch onto a new idea. Yet, in the excitement, we often forget to apply pressure to the idea, poke it, challenge it, push it around, see if it stands up. Without that challenge, you never know how far astray your assumptions may have taken you."

19. "...there's a lesson here about finding your groove. Yes, you can find it via a breakthrough in your craft. But you can also find it in other means -- in congenial material, in a perfect partner, in a favorite character or comfortable subject matter."

20. "A math professor at Williams College bases ten percent of his students' grades on failure. Mathematics is all about trying out new ideas -- new formulas, theorems, approaches -- and knowing that the vast majority of them will be dad ends. To encourage his students not to be afraid of testing their quirkiest ideas in public, he rewards rather than punishes them for coming up with wrong answers."

This approach would've been so helpful.

21. "I began as a dancer, and in those days of pain and shock I went back to where I started. Creating dance is the thing I know best. It is how I recognize myself. Even in the worst of times, such habits sustain, protect, and, in the most unlikely way, lift us up."

Take Twyla's knowledge and have fun exploring creativity in your personal life!

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