Caroline Gerdes recently graduated from Louisiana State University where she studied journalism and history (her major and minor, respectively). As a native of the Greater New Orleans Area, she decided to explore her own backyard with help from a Young Explorers Grant.

Caroline is currently conducting an oral history project about the New Orleans Ninth Ward. She seeks to record the community’s full history — its immigrant beginnings, the development of jazz, the depression and prohibition, desegregation and hurricanes.

Caroline’s exploration is also a personal quest as her father and paternal grandparents grew up in the Ninth Ward. Her blogs reflect an inside look at New Orleans life and culture, especially the edible aspects.

For New Orleans natives, it’s a hard-won honor to ride in a Carnival parade. So when I was offered the chance to ride with the Krewe of Orpheus this year, it was kind of like a childhood dream coming true. Especially because Orpheus is a super krewe.

When it comes to Mardis Gras, tourists are usually surprised to find that traditions dictate when to party, what to wear, and how to behave. From crowded parties to wild costumes, the revelry may appear chaotic, but locals know there’s a method to the madness.

Cajun or Creole?

A brief primer on the difference between the two terms from National Geographic Young Explorer Caroline Gerdes, a New Orleans native.

National Geographic Young Explorer grantee Caroline Gerdes reveals the top five food quirks about her hometown of New Orleans.