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New Orleans Tourism

When Claire Bangser first moved to New Orleans, she lived in a small cupboard under the stairs.

Well, not exactly.

But she actually did live in a closet at her friend’s apartment for six months. Luckily it was a spacious closet (it had a window!), and it only cost a whopping $100 to rent.


Six years later, Bangser still calls New Orleans home. Much to her surprise, what started out as a simple visit to see friends turned into a love affair with a city she simply couldn’t leave — at least, not for long.

Photo via Claire Bangser, used with permission.

After a brief trip abroad, one thing was certain: For Bangser, there was no place quite like New Orleans.

Inspired by the grit and charm of the city, she began diving deeper into the arts when she returned to NOLA.

A "creative wanderer," Bangser had first dabbled in stop-motion videos and graphic design, though she ultimately decided photography was her true calling. After all, she had fallen in love with the medium when she was just a kid after her grandfather showed her how to use his camera when she was about 12. She had even built a darkroom in her house to sustain her passion.

[rebelmouse-image 19532758 dam="1" original_size="750x500" caption=""It was the first time I felt guarded and safe and protected. She just did that without me asking for it." Photo by Claire Bangser/NOLA Beings." expand=1]"It was the first time I felt guarded and safe and protected. She just did that without me asking for it." Photo by Claire Bangser/NOLA Beings.

But it was while she was at a cafe in New Orleans with her friend that she thought of starting an Instagram account for her photography work. She was inspired by the popular series Humans of New York and wanted to create something of her own, something that captured what it was she loved so much about this city she now called home. So, she createdNOLA Beings.

Since then, Bangser has conducted thousands of interviews and captured countless photos of the people she’s met in NOLA.

"I began using my camera as an excuse to talk to people," she says. "There’s just so many characters down here that it’s hard not to be curious."

Then, she'd publish the photos on the Instagram account for NOLA Beings alongside a telling quote from their conversation.

[rebelmouse-image 19532759 dam="1" original_size="750x500" caption=""He opens the door for almost everybody, even men sometimes, which I feel is a little awkward. I guess I taught him too well!" Photo by Claire Bangser/NOLA Beings." expand=1]"He opens the door for almost everybody, even men sometimes, which I feel is a little awkward. I guess I taught him too well!" Photo by Claire Bangser/NOLA Beings.

And from there, NOLA Beings changed Bangser's life. Not only did she become a full-time photographer and storyteller, but it also transformed her relationship to the city.

The more she explored and talked with people one-on-one, the more she realized her original perception of the city was a very stereotypical one.

Like most, she knew about the fun festivals, parades, beignets, and gumbo. But after living in New Orleans and having actual conversations with neighbors, she began to put together a sort of  "patchwork quilt" of the city’s exciting diversity.

[rebelmouse-image 19532760 dam="1" original_size="750x500" caption=""That's why we're here with our family. We love this country. That's all we can say." Photo by Claire Bangser/NOLA Beings." expand=1]"That's why we're here with our family. We love this country. That's all we can say." Photo by Claire Bangser/NOLA Beings.

It’s a city rooted in a colorful history that centers around Africans, Native Americans, and European settlers from France and Spain. That myriad and exposure of cultures has strongly influenced everything from the architecture to the food.

So while working on NOLA Beings, Bangser wanted to make sure she was always working to do justice in telling the authentic narrative of the city and its people.

"I feel like NOLA Beings kind of became my way of doing something for the city that was my little lens into the wild range of wonderful, diverse stories that existed here that were not the mainstream narrative," she said.

"It made me want to stay and be part of it. And it made me want to contribute to it," Bangser adds.

She started setting aside time to focus solely on exploring the city and taking photos. "I really believe that wandering around this city is the most magical way to find your truth here," she explains.

[rebelmouse-image 19532761 dam="1" original_size="750x500" caption=""To come out here ... it took a lot of practice." Photo by Claire Bangser/NOLA Beings." expand=1]"To come out here ... it took a lot of practice." Photo by Claire Bangser/NOLA Beings.

A far cry from the closet where her journey began, she now finds that New Orleans is a city best experienced by sharing.

"I began to just see the wide range of characters and people who are coming from all over the place because something drew them to the city," she explains.

Characters like Dale, the elderly black man and longtime resident of the Ninth Ward who she befriended and now regularly walks with.

"He showed me and told me about what it used to be like there and really painted a picture for me of what that neighborhood was like to him," Bangser says.

"I didn’t have the ability to see that neighborhood in the way that he sees it," she explains, "but he opened himself up to show it to me."

[rebelmouse-image 19532762 dam="1" original_size="750x1125" caption=""I have to be here... it just feels right." Photo by Claire Bangser/NOLA Beings." expand=1]"I have to be here... it just feels right." Photo by Claire Bangser/NOLA Beings.

And that's what NOLA Beings is all about — offering glimpses into a city and the everyday people who make it so remarkable.

New Orleans may be best known for the food, the lively celebrations, the music, and the architecture. But for Bangser, it's the people she meets that make New Orleans unforgettable.

Pop Culture

Artist uses AI to create ultra realistic portraits of celebrities who left us too soon

What would certain icons look like if nothing had happened to them?

Mercury would be 76 today.

Some icons have truly left this world too early. It’s a tragedy when anyone doesn’t make it to see old age, but when it happens to a well-known public figure, it’s like a bit of their art and legacy dies with them. What might Freddie Mercury have created if he were granted the gift of long life? Bruce Lee? Princess Diana?

Their futures might be mere musings of our imagination, but thanks to a lot of creativity (and a little tech) we can now get a glimpse into what these celebrities might have looked like when they were older.

Alper Yesiltas, an Istanbul-based lawyer and photographer, created a photography series titled “As If Nothing Happened,” which features eerily realistic portraits of long gone celebrities in their golden years. To make the images as real looking as possible, Yesiltas incorporated various photo editing programs such as Adobe Lightroom and VSCO, as well as the AI photo-enhancing software Remini.

“The hardest part of the creative process for me is making the image feel ‘real’ to me,” Yesiltas wrote about his passion project. “The moment I like the most is when I think the image in front of me looks as if it was taken by a photographer.”

Yesiltas’ meticulousness paid off, because the results are uncanny.

Along with each photo, Yesiltas writes a bittersweet message “wishing” how things might have gone differently … as if nothing happened.
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All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

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Adewole Adamson, MD, of the University of Texas, Austin, aims to create more equity in health care by gathering data from more diverse populations by using artificial intelligence (AI), a type of machine learning. Dr. Adamson’s work is funded by the American Cancer Society (ACS), an organization committed to advancing health equity through research priorities, programs and services for groups who have been marginalized.

Melanoma became a particular focus for Dr. Adamson after meeting Avery Smith, who lost his wife—a Black woman—to the deadly disease.

melanoma,  melanoma for dark skin Avery Smith (left) and Adamson (sidenote)

This personal encounter, coupled with multiple conversations with Black dermatology patients, drove Dr. Adamson to a concerning discovery: as advanced as AI is at detecting possible skin cancers, it is heavily biased.

To understand this bias, it helps to first know how AI works in the early detection of skin cancer, which Dr. Adamson explains in his paper for the New England Journal of Medicine (paywall). The process uses computers that rely on sets of accumulated data to learn what healthy or unhealthy skin looks like and then create an algorithm to predict diagnoses based on those data sets.

This process, known as supervised learning, could lead to huge benefits in preventive care.

After all, early detection is key to better outcomes. The problem is that the data sets don’t include enough information about darker skin tones. As Adamson put it, “everything is viewed through a ‘white lens.’”

“If you don’t teach the algorithm with a diverse set of images, then that algorithm won’t work out in the public that is diverse,” writes Adamson in a study he co-wrote with Smith (according to a story in The Atlantic). “So there’s risk, then, for people with skin of color to fall through the cracks.”

Tragically, Smith’s wife was diagnosed with melanoma too late and paid the ultimate price for it. And she was not an anomaly—though the disease is more common for White patients, Black cancer patients are far more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, causing a notable disparity in survival rates between non-Hispanics whites (90%) and non-Hispanic blacks (66%).

As a computer scientist, Smith suspected this racial bias and reached out to Adamson, hoping a Black dermatologist would have more diverse data sets. Though Adamson didn’t have what Smith was initially looking for, this realization ignited a personal mission to investigate and reduce disparities.

Now, Adamson uses the knowledge gained through his years of research to help advance the fight for health equity. To him, that means not only gaining a wider array of data sets, but also having more conversations with patients to understand how socioeconomic status impacts the level and efficiency of care.

“At the end of the day, what matters most is how we help patients at the patient level,” Adamson told Upworthy. “And how can you do that without knowing exactly what barriers they face?”

american cancer society, skin cacner treatment"What matters most is how we help patients at the patient level."https://www.kellydavidsonstudio.com/

The American Cancer Society believes everyone deserves a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer—regardless of how much money they make, the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender identity, their disability status, or where they live. Inclusive tools and resources on the Health Equity section of their website can be found here. For more information about skin cancer, visit cancer.org/skincancer.

via Dion Merrick / Facebook

This article originally appeared on 02.09.21


At 1:30 am on Monday morning an AMBER Alert went out in southern Louisiana about a missing 10-year-old girl from New Iberia. It was believed she had been kidnapped and driven away in a 2012 silver Nissan Altima.

A few hours later at 7 am, Dion Merrick and Brandon Antoine, sanitation workers for Pelican Waste, were on their daily route when they noticed a vehicle that fit the description in the alert.

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Joy

Nurse turns inappropriate things men say in the delivery room into ‘inspirational’ art

"Can you move to the birthing ball so I can sleep in the bed?"

Holly the delivery nurse.

After working six years as a labor and delivery nurse Holly, 30, has heard a lot of inappropriate remarks made by men while their partners are in labor. “Sometimes the moms think it’s funny—and if they think it’s funny, then I’ll laugh with them,” Holly told TODAY Parents. “But if they get upset, I’ll try to be the buffer. I’ll change the subject.”

Some of the comments are so wrong that she did something creative with them by turning them into “inspirational” quotes and setting them to “A Thousand Miles” by Vanessa Carlton on TikTok.

“Some partners are hard to live up to!” she jokingly captioned the video.

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