Travel is nearly unrecognizable with most flights carrying but a few passengers and popular destinations harboring an eerie silence.
Many cities around the United States have made an effort to adapt to social distancing and sheltering in place orders, but have lost the luster of human interaction.
However in New Orleans, a place most notable for its lively streets, has discovered a unique way to uphold both culture and connection.
As Proud American Traveler has previously reported, music is a central theme to the interwoven ethnicities of The Big Easy.
Traditional Cajun French songs are put to fiddle and accordion at the same music festivals where you hear classic Louisiana jazz – made popular by music icons such as Louie “Satchmo” Armstrong and Jelly Roll Morton.
But much to the dismay of locals and travelers alike, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival will not be held this year due to the coronavirus.
The 50-year tradition of some of the most talented jazz musicians congregating to share a love of music and culture has made those who would’ve attended to think outside the box.
James McClaskey is a bandleader who happens to have a 25-foot long porch at his residence in New Orleans’ Bywater District Area, reports Condé Nast Traveler.
With all the local nightclubs and restaurants shutting down, it’s impossible to get a gig.
But that hasn’t stopped McClaskey and his girlfriend Annabelle Zakaluk from performing.
As the Mississippi River faithfully runs nearby, so does the strumming of a guitar.
His colorful Creole-inspired porch has become McClaskey’s stage every Friday afternoon to “Spanish Flu-era standards,” Condé Nast Traveler boasts.
This inventive use of the bright, Caribbean influenced surroundings is not new to those in the talented city of New Orleans.
Porches and balconies have long been a focal point of the diverse streets for generations, from throwing down beads during Mardi Gras to musicians playing among the elaborate greenery and decorations.
Since Gov. John Bel Edwards declared stay-at-home orders, porches have become the saving grace of a close-knit community you can only find in New Orleans.
“It’s a unique, New Orleans-style solution as to how to be social while social-distancing,” says another California native who found his roots among the deep south’s finest.
And Darla Edin and Alex Cotant would not have had a special impromptu day without their plant filled porch.
The happy couple was supposed to get married in front of 150 guests on April 4th, but instead got married in the park with a witness, officiant, and their photographer – all standing 6-feet apart.
But upon returning to their home, they found the neighbors had all gathered on their consecutive porches to celebrate the big day with them – along with a wedding cake left by a friend.
Birthdays, weddings, and musical performances have all continued amid the coronavirus pandemic, proving that New Orleans has a heart and soul that can’t be silenced.
Louisiana is in phase one of reopening, but that still limits much of the cultural festivities and activities in the state.
It will be an exciting day when festivals and weekend celebrations can once again commence… and perhaps these beloved porch celebrations will be the beginning of a new tradition in The Big Easy.