So, as I’ve mentioned before, New Orleans is my second home. Something about the history of that city appeals to my old soul… almost like I’ve walked its streets before. I’ve had such a love affair with the city, particularly the Quarter, that when Hilaria’s story in On the Other Side started coming to me years ago, setting her flooded, dystopian world there was a no-brainer. And with Hurricane Katrina the final inspiration for her story, setting the novel in New Orleans was a two-fer! Not only did I get the rich history of the city I love most–I get the tumultuous recovery and sense of devastation it faced after Katrina. Is there a better making for a story? I. Think. Not. 😉
Anyway, I digress.
Last weekend, I got the afternoon with my best buddy to just rewalk the route Hilaria takes in her boat everyday throughout the Quarter. Of course, I had my camera with me. You can’t go to NoLa without snapping a pic here and there–and because I see the world through my character’s eyes when I’m in what we shall heretofore call “Book Mode” (or as my momma calls it, “Manic–Lord, Nikkie! Slow down, I can’t keep up with you anymore! *grunt* *wheeze* *collapse* Remember, I’m an old lady!–Mode), I had to take some pictures. Many of the shots I’m going to share are edited to how Hilaria sees her world–a little artsy, a mighty bit skewed, and beneath layers and layers of decaying beauty.
Hilaria and her BFF (and maybe more *hack*) Anthony spend most of their days in the St. Louis Cathedral. When Hilaria looks at the structure, which is falling to pieces in her world, she imagines the stories the walls could tell if they could speak of all that they’ve witnessed. Sometimes, when you’re really, really quiet, you can hear the building sigh. I’m not joking… That place breathes, and it’s the most awesomely wicked feeling in the universe.
Most of the buildings in Hilaria’s Quarter are uninhabited, or when they are occupied, people live on the second floor–old galleries now repurposed as front stoops because the Flood has consumed the first floors. Her world is grey and sepia, but there are pops of colors everywhere–vines on a wall, a creaky old shutter, a forgotten advertisement on ancient plaster. When Hilaria looks at the decay, she sees more than waste; she sees art: life continuing on in spite of the odds.
Of course, we can’t talk about NoLa without mentioning jazz and street bands. I played sax over a decade… and good jazz is my weakness… so maybe…. yeah, this one is for ME. 😉
And now, for the grand finale…!
To see the Cathedral every morning would leave me speechless, and my girl, Hilaria, does! ((I’m totally jelly. Like, seriously. And me speechless is like a sign of the apocalypse. When it happens, pigs will fly; hell will hath frozen over, ya’ll….! Dude. That means our world would be a dystopia, like in a YA novel. I’d be LIVING IN A BOOK! …Would I be the good guy or the bad guy…? Bad guy, most definitely. Too fun not to be! What about you? (Anyway, what was I was talking about… Oh, Hilaria! RIGHT.)) When she steps out onto her stoop, into her boat, just a little look to the left brings this into her focus. Without question, her view is a little more colorful, but caught in B&W, the Cathedral is swoon-worthy. 🙂 Hill’s world may be falling apart around her (both literally and metaphorically) in On the Other Side, but at least, the view down is gorgeous, right? Not even the Name Acquisition Program–the government of Orleans that may or *ahem* may not be out to get them all–can take this away from her.
Remember: On the Other Side releases this THURSDAY, December 10! You can preorder it now for Kindle… ya know… if you’d like, too. 😉
Hope y’all l<3ve the photos!
Welcome to Orleans, friends. May your stay bring out the best in you. NAP insists on it.
Until next time,