Some of my earliest childhood memories are of time spent in the city New Orleans. And while I may have originated in Los Angeles, there has always been something oddly sentimental deep rooted within me that keeps New Orleans feeling like something of a second home. It goes deeper then just simply being a place my extended family calls home. Deeper then the incredible food, the music, or the rich sense of heritage and culture. New Orleans has a soul, a feeling to it that sets itself apart from most every other place I’ve adventured too.
You see this soul in anyone who’s spent any extended amount of time in the city. It’s an almost indescribable sense of resilience. A willingness to make the most of the cards your dealt. New Orleans may not have hills, it may be below sea level, it may be humid, and it may rain on a moments notice, but in spite of all of this you’ll most always find everyone there with a smile on their face, no matter what the situation.
And so, we turn our focus to the Longboarders of New Orleans. A collection of college students and locals who have adopted the facets of the terrain and created a community around a sport that has long been defined by its break-neck characteristics of speed and agility, in a land without hills. But what the longboarders of New Orleans lack in inclines they make up for with healthy amounts of creativity, a trait all the more commendable. Now let’s be real here for a moment, New Orleans isn’t exactly the first location that comes to mind when you think skateboarding, much less, longboarding. But I feel it’s for this reason specifically that makes it all the more appetizing a location for one to want to skate. Allow me to elaborate! Hills and inclines aside, New Orleans is simply brimming with untapped street features. Culverts, ditches, banks, curbs, stairs, rails, scary looking ramps under highway overpasses, all the various street nik-naks and do-dads the imaginative skateboarder craves. So it should come as no surprise as to how, or rather, why the longboarders of New Orleans have developed into such versatile street crushers.
In the greater Los Angeles area, Longboarders see with a different set of eyes. You see hills, you see corners, apex’s, slides. In New Orleans however, you see features. Locations begin to speak to you differently. Improvisation becomes a heralded trait, a style all it’s own. New Orleans is an old gold kinda city. A community steeped in rich heritage and crawfish. A fleur-de-lis festoon domain of old buildings and industrialism, rusted metal grates and chipping house paint. A waterborne territory with the mighty Mississippi existing as it’s lifeline. And it is amidst this sphere of rugged weathered commerce that these skateboarders have matured; carved out a niche for themselves amongst the oxidized barges and handrails of the humid deep South. Defined their own sense of style beneath the moss laden Oak Trees and rod iron fences of Orleans Parish.
The longboarders of New Orleans may not posses the same need for speed we do here in California. They run on a different wavelength. They may not follow the canon of idiosyncrasies by which we use to define our sport, but you’ll always find them making the most of their situation. What the longboarders of Nola have done in their own Darwinistic like way, is develop into their own breed. Redefining the boundaries of the sport, in a land where creativity is king.
The Longboarders of New Orleans are a solid group of individuals with a passion for skateboarding and a thirst for adventure. A most sincere thank you goes out to all of them taking the time to show me around and show me a good time! It was a pleasure to have skated with all of you.
So if you find yourself in the Big Easy, and you’re looking to get into contact with New Orleans Longboarders, please visit their Facebook (click) page.
For additional shots from my adventure to New Orleans Louisiana, please visit this Flickr (click) link.
Thank you for checking out the article, now plan an adventure to somewhere new, and go skate.