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Scratching an itch: tattoos

It’s been several years since I got my third tattoo. I have wanted another and another ever since the needle finished scraping my skin at the ripe age of 18. Unlike most teens, I did not have to hide my tattoo from my parents; in fact, my dad came with me. Outsiders may not be sure if this says more or less about our relationship; however, I’m positive it says more.

My first tattoo was a silly sketch I’d drawn. I thought it was extremely cool. So cool that it needed to be forever on my back. My second was much like the first, but more spontaneous. I was living on my own in Lafayette at the time, and while driving past the tattoo parlor, I decided to pull in to see if they could see me. Despite being totally impromptu, I left the shop with my second tattoo on my other shoulder blade.

When I decided it was time for a third piece of art on my skin, I thought a lot more about it than I had about its predecessors; although, thinking for even a day would have been a substantial increase in pondering time. So, I mulled this one over for several weeks. As if my brilliantly red hair and lack of melanin wasn’t proof enough, I decided to pay homage to my heritage and soon found myself adorned with a clover, colored as the Irish flag. My great-great-great-grandfather was from Ireland, and I felt proud having a permanent badge through which I could display my lineage. This time, I had the artist place my Irish flair on my side -- just outside the ribs, at about elbow height.

zach tattoo 5It’s true what they say: Tattoos can be addictive. Still, I was able to kick the habit for nearly three years -- until that old itch came storming back, in desperate need to be scratched. Now 25, with three tattoos under my belt, so to speak, I realized the significance of waiting and giving careful consideration to such commitments. I mulled over numerous ideas for six months, until one recurring theme continued to surface in my sketches and thoughts. My next tattoo would most certainly be a dedication to home: New Orleans.

I may not technically be from the city of New Orleans but the city has been, and still is, a major part of my life. It helped shape the folks who brought me into this world. My mother’s grandfather was a prominent jockey at the Fairgrounds in the 1930s and ’40s. Even after living as far away as London, England, my mother found her way back to New Orleans, where she met my dad. My father’s dad was an Alabama boy who settled in the Port City and raised a family of six just outside New Orleans, in Jefferson Parish. Growing up near the musical mecca of New Orleans, my dad began playing guitar at a young age, which gave way to some performances with his band in Jackson Square.

I may have been born in Metairie and raised on the North Shore, but New Orleans is where my heart and my family’s hearts lie. I have been drawn by the mystical ambiance of this old city for as long as I can remember. Jazz Fest. The French Quarter. Bourbon Street (although I’d hardly admit that now). Frenchmen Street. Street performers. Street cars. Audubon Park and Zoo. The Saints. They all embody the unique spirit you will find if you just follow your compass to 30° N, 90° W.

zach tattoo 4

My tattoo pictured here was done by artist and Freaky Tiki Tattoos owner English Craig. Craig was professional and a pleasure to work with. You can contact him at his website or by giving him a call at 504-464-0053. Freaky Tiki Tatoos is located at 2327 Veterans Blvd, Kenner, LA. 

This article was submitted to NolaVie by Zach Wallace. Check out his love for cooking and writing in his painfully slow, work in progress Dash: Good Food Fast.