Josh HaraJosh Hara2018-01-08How will people know you are a stable genius without tweeting it, or better yet, announcing it on a t-shirt? Let them know you're the exceptional person you, and only you, know yourself to be.
$1 of the artist's proceeds from every shirt sale will be donated to The Children's Defense Fund. Link in bio!https://scontent.cdninstagram.com/f7b1c93a390da9cafa2ac4a8d853f4da/5AE2C2FC/t51.2885-15/e35/26068662_546340809058768_7149260191345672192_n.jpg2018-01-08
https://instatbt.com/place/cafe-du-monde/3001476Café Du MondeOneTimeInNOLA I ate a soft pillow of fried dough that had nearly an inch of powdered sugar on it. And then I ate another one.
It was my last morning in New Orleans and it was still fairly early, so I decided to take one last stroll through the French Quarter.
I stopped in the St. Louis Cathedral and walked around Jackson Park, the perimeter teeming with artists and performers. As I made my way toward the river, I spotted the signature green and white awning of Café Du Monde, waving me in for a long overdue stop.
But as I got closer, I saw that the line of people waiting stretched down Decatur Street, past all the horse drawn carriages and to the giant “300” signifying the city’s upcoming tri-centennial birthday. I looked at my watch and realized I only had 30 minutes to spare before leaving for the airport. The line looked like it was going to take at least twice that.
I ambled up anyway, just staring at the line and stopping next to a worker drinking from a small carton of milk. Even though I knew the answer, I asked him, “Is there another, shorter line for people wanting a quick order of beignets?” “That’s it,” he replied with a conciliatory smile. Sighing, I muttered, “Ugh. Well, I really wanted to try the beignets but I have to catch a flight and don’t have time.” As I turned to walk away, I heard, “How many do you need?” I stood there, dumbfounded. The worker continued, “There are 3 beignets in an order.” Trying to remain composed, I said, “Umm…one would be great.” Moments later, he handed me a white bag, and I handed him a $10 bill, telling him to keep the change. The shock on his face at receiving a $7 tip for doing me this mega-solid reiterated what I already knew, that he did it simply to be kind.
Thrilled beyond belief, I headed up the street a bit and found a perfect spot next to a fountain with a bronze sculpture of a young woman sitting in front of it. I sat down and giddily opened the bag as if it were a present and tore off the corner of a soft and airy beignet. And like every moment of this adventure, this immersive and inspiring few days filled with conversation, discovery, deliciousness, and delight…
It was perfect.
https://instatbt.com/place/preservation-hall/164829Preservation HallOneTimeInNOLA I sat on a cushion on the floor and watched the most perfectly authentic jazz performance of my life.
Because Jazz has been an essential ingredient of my late-night soundtrack for decades, I knew my trip to New Orleans wouldn’t be complete without a live jazz performance. Asking around, I heard that Preservation Hall was the place to go. I arrived early for the 10 p.m. show on a foggy Friday night, having heard a max of 90 people are allowed.
While in line, I learned that Preservation Hall meant business. No food or drink were available inside (although you could bring in one drink—it’s New Orleans after all), and there were no photos, recording, or cellphone use. When I entered, I understood why. The place was like stepping back in time, but not to a theme-park-like imitation. It was as authentic as it was simple—a few instruments and some wooden chairs for the band members that could have been borrowed from a front porch nearby.
The band members were dressed in hats, dark suits, and ties, and their drums, sousaphone, trombone, trumpet, and saxophones joined together to bring the room to a state that, for an hour, felt something like world peace. Seemingly prompted by audience enthusiasm, the band members spontaneously called out songs that allowed us to become part of the show. We were in it together. We sang the chorus “Down in New Orleans;” we were the saints who came marching in; our grandmas were sittin’ by the fire in Iko Iko; and we joined in a goosebump-inducing rendition of “What a Wonderful World” led by band’s leader, Daniel “Weenie” Farrow.
People rocked their heads, tapped their feet, and had smiles plastered across their faces (with the exception of one guy sitting against the wall who was very close to either falling asleep or passing out right into the piano). But the person who seemed to be having the most fun was the woman who worked there. Just through the doorway to the left of the band, she sang, swayed, twirled, and clapped her hands, dancing like someone who just felt lucky to be a part of it all.
I understood it exactly, because I felt that lucky too.
Created in partnership with visitneworleans
https://instatbt.com/place/carousel-bar-at-hotel-monteleone-new-orleans/1023895291Carousel Bar at Hotel Monteleone, New OrleansOneTimeInNOLA I sat at the most incredible bar. Like, ever.
New Orleans is abundant with unique places of all kinds but, when it comes to places to sit and drink, none is more unique than the Carousel Bar in the Hotel Monteleone on Royal Street.
Now, let me make one thing perfectly clear. This isn’t a “carousel-themed” bar—it’s an actual, functioning carousel that moves 25 patrons around a piece of solid wood, gently orbiting the bartenders and the stationary bar behind them. Although this probably sounds fairly nauseating to the uninitiated, it’s nearly undetectable at a glance. “How do you get in there?” I asked one of them. “Up and over,” he explained. It’s all in a day’s work. And so is keeping track of which patron ordered what drink (your tab is in front of you for that reason). Adorned with lights, clowns, and paintings of exotic animals, this elegant spot is emblematic of the circus-like atmosphere often experienced on the streets of the French Quarter.
But the thing that makes this place truly special? The people you meet along the ride. I met vacationers and business trippers, townies and transplants. The highlight being a sassy Louisiana mom named Sharon, who had just made the trek across Lake Pontchartrain (the world’s longest over-water bridge she told me), landing in the seat next to me. With her sunglasses perched atop her meticulously-styled silver hair, Sharon was in the city to celebrate her daughter’s 40th birthday.
When I asked Sharon long she’d lived in the area, she replied with a grin, “always and forever,” then proceeded to list all of the places I absolutely had to visit before I left. And when I stood up to leave, Sharon rose from her seat, grasped my hands, and earnestly said “thank you for visiting our city. Now go have a great time.” This is New Orleans.
Created in partnership with VisitNewOrleans
Josh HaraJosh Hara2017-12-28OneTimeInNOLA I noticed hand-painted signs everywhere—in bars, restaurants, and gift shops, and, by total chance, I stumbled upon the artist who created them and hung out with him for a while.
The signs are hard to miss. They are bold, playful, alive with color, and clearly hand-done. Some of them are informative (“rentals available”), some are funny (“sorry, we’re open”), and some are the voice of New Orleans itself (“be nice or leave!”). From the moment that I arrived in New Orleans, I had been noticing these signs, signed by Simon, which I pronounced like the electronic memory game I played as a kid.
Near the end of an afternoon exploring the unique shops and restaurants of Magazine Street, I happened upon what looked like the birthplace of those signs. It was an outdoor maze of signs of all shapes and sizes, and I couldn’t help but to wander in. Near the back, I found a woman painting and asked her if she was the artist. “No,” she said, “I’m one of his helpers.” She gestured to the left. “The artist is over there, he’s the French guy in the bandana.” I weaved my way through more signs propped this way and that, before seeing the shaggy, older man quietly painting a few bright red slats of wood with his trademark bursts of color. I introduced myself, and he greeted me warmly as if I were an old friend paying him a much-awaited visit. His accent was thick and undeniably French. This was Simon, which I now realized was pronounced see-MOHN.
When I took a breath from showering Simon with well-deserved praise, he told me his story. Simon made his way to New Orleans some 30 years ago after meeting his wife, who was born there. He found work in restaurant, which included painting menu signs. He told me that people stopped coming to the place for the food (which was terrible), but they kept coming to buy his signs.
Now three decades later, you can’t walk more than a few dozen feet with without being greeted by something Simon has painted. He told me what he’s learned in all those years is simple: “If you do something that people like, keep doing it.” So, I will continue to treat my cups as my canvas, and raise this one to my new friend, Simon.
https://instatbt.com/place/frenchmen-street/215419591Frenchmen StreetOneTimeInNola I watched The Young Fellaz Brass Band light up the night on Frenchmen St.
My second trip started like the first—without planning. I decided to just see how things unfolded because, let’s face it, I have a job, a family, and a host of other things that compete for my attention. So, when I got to the hotel, I asked the clerk for a place with a local flavor. “Frenchman Street” he said, so I figured I’d give it a try.
My driver dropped me on the corner of Frenchmen and Chartres St. and, quite literally, into the music. I nearly missed being hit by a trombone slide stepping out into a football team’s worth of guys blasting music on an otherwise unremarkable corner. They were no frills, young guys of all shapes and sizes wearing sweatpants and hoodies, looking as if they were hanging at someone’s house when one of them suggested they try it as street performers.
But they were good—really good—and their sheer volume and lively spirit were captivating. I looked behind me and realized I wasn’t the only one experiencing this scene … the street was flooded with a crowd of smartphone-wielding onlookers who danced, together or by themselves, almost involuntarily.
As a guy passed an unmarked cardboard box around for tips, I asked “What’s the name of this group?” (It took a few tries, it was really loud). “The Young Fellaz Brass Band,” he said. And they were a perfect to welcome to New Orleans.
Created in partnership with VisitNewOrleans
Josh HaraJosh Hara2017-12-26OneTimeInNola I was taken completely by surprise.
In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever experienced such a turnaround in perception from what I thought a place was, and what it ultimately turned out to be.
I first went to New Orleans in 1997, and it wasn’t really to see the city. Me and a bunch of pals piled in a car to drive from Columbus, Ohio to watch the Buckeyes in the Sugar Bowl (they got crushed). In the four days before the game, we saw New Orleans through Bourbon St. tinted glasses, limiting our view to the bottom of every hand grenade we could handle (and a few beyond that). The go-cups were a revelation. We didn’t (and still don’t) have those in Ohio.
I had a memorable trip, but it was one very different from the trip to New Orleans I took last month, about 20 years later. Over the course of the next five days, I will be posting highlights of my more recent OneTimeInNOLA weekend (trust me, you don’t want to see the first trip). It wasn’t easy to limit myself to five, because I saw a different New Orleans this time. I had a southern adventure filled with incredible music, amazing art, great food, and warm people. Every moment I spent there left me feeling that everyone deserves an experience like this—to discover a OneTimeInNOLA moment of their very own. And step aside coffee, I’ll use the go-cups this time. How could I not?
Created in partnership with VisitNewOrleanshttps://scontent.cdninstagram.com/8f9fbb27ff11a4ae20f70171d63a3b42/5AFD4C67/t51.2885-15/e35/26068212_1935706330090129_2272085103138045952_n.jpg2017-12-26
Josh HaraJosh Hara2017-12-22Just preparing you in case I ever bust through your kitchen wall like the Kool-Aid man.https://scontent.cdninstagram.com/aa664b47c565281572285be4e9013eaa/5ADFCFA2/t51.2885-15/e35/25011824_173924089877436_3187620002903621632_n.jpg2017-12-22
Josh HaraJosh Hara2017-12-18Come on starbucks and starwars, do I have to think of everything? thelastjedibrandssynergyhttps://scontent.cdninstagram.com/1bde96d029e742abe0fabaa674389e71/5AEEBFAD/t51.2885-15/e35/24845854_742988725912039_5099778733443645440_n.jpg2017-12-18
Josh HaraJosh Hara2017-12-11Guess the starwars pun! Winner gets 50 points to their Hogwarts house! Yes I know I shouldn't mix universes but DAMMIT IT'S MY INSTAGRAM I'LL DO WHAT I WANThttps://scontent.cdninstagram.com/a5c8ea97eaf6f3cd22d5f7184f6035ae/5AE58428/t51.2885-15/e35/25007105_570572723334620_6966058326975053824_n.jpg2017-12-11
Josh HaraJosh Hara2017-12-05It is so hard to get through each and every day without drowning in anger, sadness and frustration at what is happening in this country. I worry for us in a way I have never worried about America before. I was disappointed when George W Bush won the presidency, each time, but I saw it as we all used to - the Democrats had a run, the Republicans get a run. Things just balanced out. But today is different. The worst in all of us is being gaslit every day by the worst human being to ever hold the office of president. I try to stay positive by looking at the good, stories like one I saw today where a 95 year old man in Dallas called 911 because his air conditioner quit. The police officers that arrived discovered that the inside of his home had reached an incredible 95 degrees. To help, these two officers went to Home Depot, and spent their own money to purchase this man a new air conditioner. The managers of Home Depot also contributed $150 and did the right thing for someone in need. There is good happening out there. But when the leader of your country is more concerned with stealing land, putting up walls, shutting people out and taking everything he can for himself, it makes the good so much harder to see. I try to look for it. I will keep trying.https://scontent.cdninstagram.com/f7a552f0ca02dd9d1272f49c225f312a/5AFF44FB/t51.2885-15/e35/24274879_738917776306355_7139743913912303616_n.jpg2017-12-05
Josh HaraJosh Hara2017-12-04My last cup for the starbucksgivegood campaign. Hope they liked them as much as I enjoyed making them! Now everyone go out there and give some good of your own!https://scontent.cdninstagram.com/5AD96802/t51.2885-15/e35/24838534_313776799106265_1474675088346316800_n.jpg2017-12-04
Josh HaraJosh Hara2017-11-30grande americano for me plshttps://scontent.cdninstagram.com/7ad7ff40cde072b26b045c2d10dc4130/5AF6006D/t51.2885-15/e35/24253933_150289862397663_4063394230041575424_n.jpg2017-11-30
Josh HaraJosh Hara2017-11-24Beware the dark side of the Friday blackfridaystarwarshttps://scontent.cdninstagram.com/4bb81f898734eb04d5fa4cfe0bccf3b2/5AD96F3A/t51.2885-15/e35/23969966_158867651388461_3533473983875776512_n.jpg2017-11-24
Josh HaraJosh Hara2017-11-19UPDATE: the winner of the free shirt is instakaylin !! Congrats and thanks to everyone who said such nice things in the comments!
FREE SHIRT ALERT! Simply like or comment on this post before midnight tonight for a chance to win a free shirt from cottonbureau! Both of my designs are still available (for a limited time) *US residents only (sorry rest of earth)https://scontent.cdninstagram.com/983bc2b9d45a1cc7bbe100e915db9cab/5AF6733F/t51.2885-15/e35/23596393_180360522519136_3152570428363374592_n.jpg2017-11-19
Josh HaraJosh Hara2017-11-18My second new starbucks holiday cup inspired design for the givegood campaign. GIVE THANKS everybody. Every day. Not just to your coffee. Other things as well. ❤️❤️❤️https://scontent.cdninstagram.com/37f5d422fa73b696af04b9c02f7a6aa1/5AE2FBF0/t51.2885-15/e35/23596430_543332746015059_498507924809711616_n.jpg2017-11-18