This past weekend I went and visited New Orleans. For those that haven't been (or haven't been back), I suggest you head down there. The energy is good there and things are on the up. I usually go there a half dozen times a year and this was by far the best experience I've had.
Watching the street performers is one of my favorite things to do in Nola. Down on Royal St., we ran into a group of five playing some creole / bluegrass / local music. They seemed to be dressed rather dirty, had lots of tattoos, and played worn out instruments. But something in the back of my head said they were educated students from Tulane looking to make a few bucks and have a good time. They knew there was a market there, so that's where they were. They were getting paid to work and practice at the same time. Painters do the same thing in Jackson Square. They have their booth set up, paint all day, answer questions, and hope someone purchases a painting.
Now this sounds like old news I know. People have been creating things and asking people to pay them for them for quite a while now. But New Orleans is different. Its a "performing flea market". The people around you are what make the difference. Everyone there has something special (although it may be awful).
My possible new project is going to be called the New Orleans Experiment. I'm going to try to develop a similar experience as walking down the French Quarter on a weekend afternoon. If I lived in New Orleans, I'd probably start programming down on the corner with a projector. Maybe do some digital picture manipulation. However, I am in Auburn and can't be there. I need some ideas for this. I'm going to start asking around the Interwebs to see what people have to say. Please leave some comments and let me know how we could translate the N.O. Experience to the web.