The Dirt

Marc Pagani

Marc Pagani has been a good friend of Dirty Coast ever since he shot Blake and Susan's wedding in 2007. Since then we have found ourselves often at one of his Vinyl Wino listening parties, New Year's Eve bashes or for a late night dinner somewhere in town.

A photographer, traveler, tri-athelete, audiophile and bourbon fanatic, Marc keeps himself very occupied with various interests and quite frankly makes us all feel really lazy.

"New Orleans also has tons of great nightlife, so if you're into nighttime shooting, there's a lot to capture."

What advice would you give someone coming to town to get great shots of the city? Where should they go? When is the best light?
I like to shoot in the French Quarter.  For either urban landscapes or to be used as a backdrop for portraits, the old architecture of the French Quarter is unique and colorful.  I also like the wildness of City Park near Harrison (avenue) for portraits as well as the Lakefront.  Best time of day is just after sunrise and about 30 minutes before sunset until about 30 minutes after sunset.  New Orleans also has tons of great nightlife, so if you're into nighttime shooting, there's a lot to capture. 

What sort of outdoor activities do you recommend outside the city? Where do you ride?
I swim at Tulane's Reily Center and in Lake Pontchartrain in Lakeview, and ride and run from my house along Esplanade to and through City Park and then up to the Lakefront.  The city has a lot of new bike lanes on roads that have been repaved within the last year or so; therefore, it's becoming a really bike-friendly city.  When I need to go on rides longer than 1.5 hours, I drive across the lake, park the car and start in Abita Springs, and then ride anywhere from 30 to 80 miles on the country roads up there.  
 
Other fun outdoor options include:
Renting or taking your own kayak, canoe, or stand-up paddleboard along Bayou St. John up to Lake Pontchartrain, or in one of the many swampy areas surrounding the city.  I also like to go climbing at the Slidell Rocks climbing gym to prepare for upcoming rock-climbing expeditions I'm shooting.  

What should someone add to their bucket list for experiencing New Orleans and the surrounding parishes?
Thursday night at Le Bon Temps for the Soul Rebels House Party.
Sitting on Muriel's balcony with a Pimm's Cup on a Sunday in late March or early April.
Watch the sunset on Lake Pontchartrain from Lakeshore Drive.
A Sunday afternoon second-line parade.
Spending Mardi Gras Day with a brass band and a walking krewe, making your way through the Quarter.
Coming upon Mr. Okra and buying some veggies.

What does it mean to be a New Orleanian?
It means that you're in it for the long haul.  You love the people, the culture, the food, the music, the "only in New Orleans" moments, the smile and "hello" you get when you pass a stranger on the street.  It means that despite the threat of hurricanes, the summertime heat and humidity,  the potholes that could swallow a Mack truck, and life's other inconveniences, you make it work because you can't imagine living anywhere else because you know that NOWHERE else has the character and Characters that this city has.

What neighborhood do you live in? 
I live in the Treme - the birthplace of jazz and the place where enslaved, free people of color, Europeans and Americans gathered throughout the 18th and 19th century on Sundays to drum, dance and trade.  It's rich in history and it's the birthplace of Louis Armstrong.  Being a musician, and specifically a jazz musician when I was younger, the neighborhood's jazz heritage appeals to me very much. 

What is great about your street and block?
My block is great.  Nunu lives across the street - he's a Vietnam Vet and incredibly colorful and kind.  Miss Molly and her husband Morris live on one side of me.  They've been there for ages.  Kevin, a trumpet player, and his soon to be wife and some other younger folks live on the other side of me.  The neighborhood is full of great old houses.  Mine was built in 1900 and rehabbed in 2005.  I've had some amazing parties here and host "Tasting Tuesdays in the Treme" and "The Vinyl Wino Salon Series" here.

Who do they respect as creators of culture and great community members and why?
I look up to other creative people that I spend time with - musicians, photographers, dancers, architects, painters, writers, and entrepreneurs.  I like to spend time with people who make a great living for themselves following their passion, who are not beholden to a corporate leash.

Snowball flavor (s)
Blueberry Coconut and whatever crazy new flavors I had while shooting Hansen's Snowballs for Ashley Hansen.

Who would be you ultimate festival headliner?
I'd love to see Stevie Wonder as well as a Wynton Marsalis Quartet or Quintet.

How do you do Mardi Gras Day?
Get up around 10 a.m., turn my Mardi Gras music mix on, listening to it through all four sets of speakers I have set up throughout the house; get my camera gear together, fill a 1-liter Nalgene bottle with whiskey and soda, hop on my bike and ride to R Bar to meet friends and photograph the great costumes; and then hook up with one of the great walking krewes like the St. Anthony Ramblers, Society of St. Anne, or any group that has great costumes and a brass band.  I usually head home just before or just after sunset, often with a group of friends I've invited back for a party and a second line down my hallway.

Their favorite Dirty Coast shirt design?
Tie between "New Orleans is for Livers" and "Crawfish Pi."

 

 

Share this
Newer Post