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NOLAbeings: Pre-Summer Roundup

Editor's note: Multimedia artist Claire Bangser  started a new portrait-based story project that marries image and text. NOLAbeings is inspired by the Humans of NY project, and comes from the belief that we can all learn from each others' 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. The first week saw 26 posts (and counting), so we here at NolaVie decided, after discovering and falling in love with the project, to feature 'roundups' of these NOLAbeings. Here are  five pieces that represent a cross-section of what this series documents on a continual basis.

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“I used to own a company. And I had to part ways with my co-owners and what not. During that, my brother led me back to music. That was the greatest gift I’ve received. He took me into his home full of instruments and we lived there for a very reasonable price.” “What made you pick up the trombone?” “It made me dance. And I want to make people dance, you know?”

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"It’s always amazing to feel the baby for the first time. And it’s always amazing to see your belly getting bigger. And even if it’s the 4th or the 16th it never gets old. This one’s a girl and I have three boys so I am a little more tired, a little more nauseous. But they always say the girls take everything out of you and that’s what makes them so special, so we’ll see when she comes out!"

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"What’s the most important thing you learned about yourself from the break up?”
“That I’m too nice and that I let people take advantage of my niceness. I’m a giver. I wear my feelings on my sleeve. I give off this hard persona but I’m a very soft person and I let people get into my head and take advantage of these things. But now I have evolved and I’d like to think that I’m stronger."
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"You get 75 minutes a day that’s all yours on a mat that’s a certain size that’s all yours. That’s your space, that’s your breath, that’s your 75 minutes that you don’t have to share with the rest of the world. And that’s what grounds me every day. Well, not always on Fridays ‘cause the Rusty Nail has ten-dollar crawfish."
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“I met my wife in a grocery store. I had come home on leave when I was in the navy in the 70s. About six months later we got married. She was cute – still cute – and we kinda hit it off. We've been together for 35, going on 36 years.”
“What's your love advice?”
“Sit and listen.”

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.