Back in January, my husband and I took a trip to New Orleans to celebrate our honeymoon. For me, New Orleans has been on my travel list for a while because of its history, strong culture, and the food. Over six days, we had fun sight-seeing, eating the local foods, and walking around the city.

As it is with many of my trips, I was inspired by the sights I saw around the city. Here are just a few things I saw that I hope to use as future jewelry inspiration. 

New Orleans Culture

New Orleans is one of the oldest cities in the country. It has African, French, and Spanish influences that have inspired the city’s architecture, food, and music culture. While we visited, we ate the most amazing seafood and city staples (we’re talking red beans & rice, etouffee, jambalaya, and gumbo) in some of the best restaurants. We enjoyed several of the famous local drinks. And we enjoyed amazing live music both in planned concerts and at different bars.

New Orleans is a vibrant city with so much history. We enjoyed learning about that during a bus tour, and on a walking tour. We also went outside the city for a plantation tour that shared more about the agricultural history of the region. On both the plantation tour and the walking tour we learned more about the history of the African people who were brought to the region forcefully as slaves, and their religion of VooDoo.

I always appreciate learning about the history of an area, and New Orleans truly has so much to offer.

The Mardi Gras Celebration

We choose to travel to New Orleans about three weeks before Mardi Gras so we avoided the chaos of the holiday. What we didn’t realize though was that Mardi Gras isn’t a day, but a season, starting with Carnival in early January. When we visited the city was decorated in green, gold, and purple decorations, there were parades two of the nights we were there, and everyone was wearing their beads.

I was so inspired by all the Mardi Gras spirit. Many homes had flags out for the holiday. Some found other green, gold and purple decorations to adorn their outside. But my favorite site was the “home floats” that started during the pandemic; highly dramatic decorations that help the homes look like parade floats.

What I equally wasn’t expecting was the beads that decorate the city from parades of the past. You’ll find them hanging off power lines and high in trees. We learned that folks of the city call this “Mardi Gras moss” and consider it part of the city. Now that I’ve experienced Mardi Gras first hand, I have the spirit and will want to celebrate every year. Not to mention the artistic inspiration that will likely make its way into future jewelry designs.

Cast Iron Fences

When you think of New Orleans architecture, the cast iron balconies that are intricately designs is something that immediately comes to mind. As we were walking around in the Garden District, it was hard not to admire all the beautiful cast iron on the buildings.

I love rod iron and have found it inspiring on many trips in the past and what I saw in New Orleans was no exception. The intricate patterns on the balconies caught my eye whether it was in the French District, or the Garden District. The beautiful negative spaces and geometric spaces always seem to inspire me and I know the geometric designs are often artistic inspiration in my jewelry.

The Artistic Inspiration of Southern Style

To me, the South has always been charming. There is something about the culture, food, architecture, and mostly the nature around me that is so inspiring. The sights, sounds, and food that I tasted in New Orleans will continue to inspire me, and I can’t wait to see how my experience will influence my jewelry moving forward.

What travels have inspired you? Where have you found artistic inspiration? I’d love to hear from you; share below in the comments!

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