There’s a new New Orleanian emerging, I call that person the “YAHH” – an acronymn for Young at Heart and Hip. People who choose to stay in New Orleans, despite it all, are those who want an urban lifestyle. If you want solitude and beautiful sunsets you move to the country, if you want events and lots of culture you live in the city. I first became aware of the new New Orleanians on Mardi Gras when hundreds of people gathered in the Marigny neighborhood, all masked and many accompanied by their own music. These were not ordinary parade route maskers wearing off-the counter costumes but people with soul and creativity who find therapy form conga drugs. They were young; they were old; they were free spirits; they were professionals. Despite their age differences they were all young at heart- and hip.
We see the Yahhs dancing in the mud at Jazz Fest, or buying tickets to just about every concert that comes into town. They like to dine out and rejoice at every restaurant re-opening. They are trying hard to have a good time.
Before Katrina, New Orleanians were already a playful bunch, but now since they have faced the dark side of life they want to revel in the joy. These are people who put up with put-downs from City Hall as well as the frustrations of rebuilding and who hide and duck from crime just because they believe so passionately in the city.
Yahhs may be the best thing that the city has going for it. They’re here for the fight. Leave New Orleans? Never. Not for hell or high water.
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ERROL LABORDE’S BOOK, KREWE: THE EARLY NEW ORLEANS CARNIVAL- COMUS TO ZULU
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