The photo above simply emanates springtime in New Orleans. The blue sky is crisp and shares the secret throughout the day that the temperature will soften by a small range of degrees, hugging you yet letting the rustle of the palm trees remain, brushing the skin every few minutes. The vendor, who is selling art, is smiling at the center of the photo, and the other is eating flavorful food in a fabulous patterned outfit next to her equally inspiring rack of clothes in her section. The woman walking past the mirror is entering the market, her reflection showing her happy, high chin against the sky. So, we have food, pure delight, visitors, fun clothing, art, perfect weather, plants, and, because this is New Orleans, I must add that the large white wall behind the tent, if followed to the left further, as seen below, serves drinks. The drink special today was the frozen hibiscus margarita. Basically, we have it all going for us here. 

Photo via author

My friends and I decided to go to Vals because we were excited to try their brunch menu, but we were more impressed by the people and stands all around us. Although, I will say, on the brunch menu, the Birria Burrito, with braised brisket, beans, rice, guacamole, and beef consommé, could be a stand all on its own. Walking in, my friends and I looked pretty disheveled compared to the creative outfits around us, showing an understanding of styling, texture, movement, and color combinations for which my sweatsuit was no match. Frankly, I felt a bit like I was insulting. I moved past that quickly, as all of the vendors were very warm. They were also not forceful, and I think they knew that their work could speak for itself. There is usually a wait at Vals on such a beautiful day, especially since they do not take reservations, but today’s wait did not feel long because there was so much to take in other than food. 

Vals posted on their Instagram, @valsnola, before the event about the date, time, and different vendors who would be there.

Source: Instagram @valsnola 

The vendor that excited me the most was Crazy Plant Bae (@crazyplantbae on Instagram) because I am always trying to find ways to bring nature into my room here at school as it only brings life and color through the window for a short portion of the morning. While my usual suspects on any shopping trip are clothes, especially those with unique patterns which were everywhere today, Crazy Plant Bae helps me understand that there is a whole community of people who know that space without plants is not just bare in physical terms, but emotionally impactful as well. The objects surrounding me make up my connection to my space. This idea was emphasized being at Vals when it was totally transformed into a market that inspired without overwhelming and brought people together without making it feel cramped, pushy, or like any less of a total Saturday gem.

Source: Photo via author

There were still a few tables outside where larger groups could eat, but the vendors took up most of the space, so we sat inside, which was still nice because of the large windows and open doors that connect the indoors and outdoors.

Photo via author

This was the first stand visible upon entering, and of course, we migrated towards the colors and bedazzled sunglasses.

Cover photo via author

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