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NOLAbeings

Editor's note: Multimedia artist Claire Bangser  created  NOLAbeings as a portrait-based story project that marries image and text. Inspired by the Humans of NY project, it stems from the belief that we can all learn from one anothers' stories. Primarily featured on Instagram (and tumblr), Claire meets people in coffee shops, grocery stores, living rooms, sidewalks, and learns something about each individual through a snapshot conversation and image. After discovering and falling in love with the project, editors at NolaVie asked to post a weekly roundup of her photos.

(Photo by Claire Bangser)

(Photo by Claire Bangser)

 

“My family is all gone and it’s sad to me. My mom, my dad, my sisters. It’s very lonely. I didn’t understand that that’s where my sense of connectedness came from until it was gone.”

“Where do you find connectedness now?”

“My cane! Connected to the ground. You know I’m looking for it still. I’m still searching for myself. I never did complete that quest.”

“My family is all gone and it’s sad to me. My mom, my dad, my sisters. It’s very lonely. I didn’t understand that that’s where my sense of connectedness came from until it was gone.” “Where do you find connectedness now?” “My cane! Connected to the ground. You know I’m looking for it still. I’m still searching for myself. I never did complete that quest.”

“I am just walking around and thinking about trying to make my own little menu. I’m trying to get to a level of what I’ve seen with my idol in the family - my cousin. She’s a person who took cooking to a whole new level - introducing the Roberts’ flavor - our family. She got her cookbook out.”

“What makes her cooking special?”

“Love, respect, skill, knowledge - a little bit of everything that people want to taste. I’m a small fraction of what she is.”

 

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“I’ve lived here for 40 years I guess, half my life.”

“Why’d you come down originally?”

“You really want to know? Six inches of snow on April 12, 1972. I was trying to drive between Elkhart, Indiana and Champagne, Illinois. It’s a long story… There was six inches of snow on the road and there were 36 tractor trailers that were jackknifed. I said you know I’m smarter than this. I thought I’d find a job in Chicago and then there was an ad for a design/build architect at that time in New Orleans, Louisiana. I answered the ad and here I am.”

 

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“My dad made me go to an after school program and I decided to pick band just to get it out of the way. When I was playing in the band I started to enjoy it more than I thought I would. Eventually I started getting better and better because I practiced my trumpet.”

“What do you want to do with the trumpet in the future?”

"I’m not sure yet - probably travel around the world. But first go to some kind of college or some kind of music college to study jazz music.”

(Photo by Claire Bangser)

(Photo by Claire Bangser)

"I lost my mother in a house fire. She was home alone and we don’t know what caused it or how it happened but, you know, we move on.”

“How did you move on from that?”

“One day at a time. I’m going to tell you this here: losing someone in your family is something you never get over. You know, time goes on; you just move on. You don’t get over it. Especially when it’s somebody very special - a mother or a father or sister or brother. It’s like losing your right hand. You only got one right hand, you gotta use your left hand. You only got one mother, one father. You might have other people who want to be that for you but they can’t. It’s not the same blood.”

 

 

 

Claire Bangser is a New Orleans-based photographer and filmmaker with a passion for storytelling. She is the creator of NOLAbeings and has produced work for local, national, an international organizations and media since 2009. Highlights include a three-month bike tour storytelling project on the west coast, documentation for a four-month National Geographic Young Explorer’s grant in Turkey, and New Orleans-based digital storytelling projects like Cry You One and BOUDIN: The New Orleans Music Project. Find more of her work at www.clairebangser.com.