ABOUT NOIR 'N NOLA
NOIR 'N NOLA works to preserve the history, culture, and soul of Black New Orleans. It connects our history to our present, while laying the foundation for a better future.
Through illuminating our rich history and emphasizing issues relative to our community, NOIR 'N NOLA commemorates the exclusivity that is BLACK NEW ORLEANS.
Photo: SJ Walker
Cierra Chenier is a writer and creator born and raised in New Orleans. Driven by her love for her city and its people, she created NOIR 'N NOLA -- a platform "preserving the history, culture, and soul of Black New Orleans." Through historical analysis, research, lived experience, and ancestral wisdom, Cierra elevates the stories that make New Orleans, New Orleans.
Cierra Chenier has been published locally and nationally, provided her words and voice for esteemed projects, collaborated on creative works, and is a source for written content and creative direction relating to local, Black history and culture.
TO MY CITY
To be Black in New Orleans is something that cannot be understood, bought, or imitated. It is the way we pronounce “baaab-ay” in that thick accent, to the smell of Creole cuisine coming from your maw maw’s kitchen. It is the need to always represent the ward, neighborhood, or housing project you grew up in, and knowing what to do when you hear: “Cash Money takin’ over for the ’99 and the 2000.” From holding the late, great Soulja Slim in high regard, to our laid-back attitude mixed with Southern charm.
It is the tradition of bringing out the brass band to properly send home a loved one. It is second nature that once you hear second-line music at a party, “y’all ain’t gotta go home, but y’all gotta get the hell up outta here!” It is the usage of “before the storm” and “after the storm” as a legitimate timestamp. It is the common knowledge that Manchu has the best chicken and Gene’s has the best hot sausage po’ boy.
From knowing the difference between being from “across the river” and from “cross the canal,” to the endless debate of whether that frozen treat is called a “huckabuck” or “frozen cup.” We dodge bullets like we dodge beads and the murder rate is just as high as the heat index, but it’s home, and there ain’t NOTHING like home.
As NOIR 'N NOLA, or Black in New Orleans, we are built different.
We possess a resiliency and charm that cannot be found anywhere else.
It must be something in the water.