IG Q&A: David NOLA On How He Became An Unofficial New Orleans Ambassador

David Mora explains why he puts so much work into promoting his city.

by Alex Galbraith
July 16, 2018

(Photo by David Mora/Via @davidnola)

From the very beginning, David Mora has been using his photography to uplift his hometown. The Instagram ambassador, better known as David NOLA, started trying his hand at photography shortly after Hurricane Katrina. His intention was to help create new photos for people who had lost their own keepsakes to flood waters.

In the nearly 13 years since, Mora has grown into a spokesman of sorts for his home. His colorful photography of places in New Orleans serves as an unofficial tourism ad for his favorite place on Earth to his over 20,000 followers.

We sat and talked with David to get an idea of how he became one of NOLA’s biggest boosters.

How did you come to be such a big proponent of the city?
I grew up here. I was born here. I went to high school here. I did go away for college to get my Bachelor’s at Southern Miss…I was trying to get back. I took a job in Jackson, but I was in New Orleans every weekend. Once I finally made it back to New Orleans, I made it a bit of a personal goal. I said ‘I’m never leaving again and I want to showcase what’s so great about this city.’

https://www.instagram.com/p/BlLCykKDFXj/?hl=en&taken-by=davidnola

How did you become interested in photography?

A lot of people who went to Southern Miss with me are from New Orleans. I was really, really fortunate during Katrina not to have lost anything. But a lot of my friends lost everything they had. All the pictures and memories they had were gone. So I started taking photos as a way of making new memories for them. I was taking pictures as kind of a way to heal…
It was something so bad, but it gave me the passion to do this and help heal my friends who really did lose a lot.

When did you start with Instagram?

I had a job in Savannah, working for [Savannah College of Art & Design] in their e-learning department. Instagram was just launching and becoming a thing. But going to Savannah and being in such a creative environment really sparked my use of the app. I had an account before the one I have now, doing the same sort of thing in Savannah.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BlIHpmYjlrj/?hl=en&taken-by=davidnola

How did you start posting New Orleans photos?

I work very close to the French Quarter and I’ve never been the type of person who takes a long time to eat. So, I’d have these hour lunch breaks with a bunch of extra time. I just started walking around the Quarter and snapping pictures of what I thought was interesting.

Every time I walk in the Quarter, I’d see something new. Plus, I like the houses, the bright colors, things I think of as uniquely New Orleans…

I kind of just put up what I like and if other people like it, that’s great. If Instagram went away tomorrow, I’d still do this.

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bk_QUBRD3ZQ/?hl=en&taken-by=davidnola

Do you have a favorite neighborhood to shoot in?
I like them all but my bread and butter is the French Quarter. I live in the Lakeview/Lakeshore/West End area but if I had to pick it, I’m kind of partial to the Quarter. Even growing up here, I didn’t really start going into the Quarter until I was older.

What do you hope people get out of your photos?
My goal is getting people to come here. I want people who have never been and are thinking about coming to see it and be convinced. I’ve kind of branded myself as a New Orleans ambassador. Whatever I can do to convince them to come and have a good time and then keep coming back, I’ll do it.

Check out more of David’s view of the city on his Instagram @davidnola.

He has a distinct voice that you will come to know more as you follow VL NOLA. He has shown himself to be an intrepid entertainment and culture writer, who always knows about the best events, happenings and performers before anybody else. Now, he’s going to tell you all about them here at Very Local NOLA.

More Local Stories

Dream House Lounge is New Orleans’ first oxygen bar and wellness lounge

The downtown lounge is bringing soul to self-care.

Guide to the Barrel and Flow Pittsburgh Beer Festival

Barrel and Flow, the nation’s only beer festival in Pittsburgh to put people of color in the spotlight is back. August 13, 2022

Take a look inside the Duquesne Incline Museum

You can’t spell funicular without F-U-N. Grab two quarters – tours are just 50 cents – and step into the year 1877’s finest in transportation technology.

Reading along the River: A guide to New Orleans independent bookstores

These 12 indie bookstores can help you find your next read and connect you to the greater New Orleans community.

Eat Play Stay: Natchitoches

In this episode of Eat Play Stay, explore Natchitoches, Louisiana, the oldest settlement in the Louisiana Purchase territory.

Not Your Average Cup of Joe: Unique Coffee Houses in Orlando

Here are three unique coffee shops where the cup of joe isn’t the only thing that’ll get you moving.

Top 407: the best breakfast sandwiches in Orlando

Here is a list of locally-owned spots to get your breakfast sandwich fix.

My Amazing Cheap Date: Orlando Festivals & Stand-Up Comedy

On this episode of “My Amazing Cheap Date” two couples explore bliss on a bun and get their game on. – for $50 or less.

What’s on the Menu: Pretty Plates

This episode of What’s on the Menu Baltimore is all about digging into the aesthetics of a perfectly plated dish and exploring the power of a beautifully designed restaurant.

Eat Play Stay: Lexington, SC

Fill your glass at a local winery, bite down on a gourmet biscuit, and cuddle up in a carriage house. Find this and more things to do in Lexington, S.C. on this episode of “Eat Play Stay Greenville.”

dream house new orleans

Dream House Lounge is New Orleans’ first oxygen bar and wellness lounge

The downtown lounge is bringing soul to self-care.

independent bookstores

Reading along the River: A guide to New Orleans independent bookstores

These 12 indie bookstores can help you find your next read and connect you to the greater New Orleans community.

drive-in movie theaters near Pittsburgh

Guide to drive-in movie theaters near Pittsburgh

Road-trip idea: Get out of the house and under the stars. Here are six drive-in movie theaters you can visit all summer long.

documentaries about Pittsburgh

9 documentaries about Pittsburgh history

From punk music in the ‘80s to a documentary about the polio vaccine, there is a lot of local history to watch