Editor’s Note: May we Mayke a suggestion? No, our suggestion is not that we stop using cringeworthy puns, but it is to think ahead! We know what’s coming: the summer. The time when the air is heavy, the tourists have abandoned ship, and us locals are left to enjoy our city, heat and all. That’s where we come in! All the month of May we are going to prepare you to “Ban the Boredom” by giving you the best places, the best restaurants, and the best event, but since we never do anything “normal” at ViaNolaVie, we are basing these suggestions around various psychological states! If you’re a total introvert, we’ve got a spot for you! If you have a disability, we’ve got the places that actually don’t discriminate and let you get down the way you want to get down. We’ve got something for everyone because New Orleans is the city for everyone! Up next, you might not often think that a parking garage is a place to spend some hours, but writer Nastja Modic gives you the exact reasons why this space can be the steps to your personal success.
Big green doors, placed in the middle of a bricked wall, mark an entrance to a staircase that leads on top of the Diboll Parking Garage. One might think staircases are nothing special, but according to Stannhah website, staircases can be found in virtually any building, whether it is ancient or modern, as well as in perfect harmony with nature. They argued that for thousands of years, stairs have been physical representations of power, achievement and enlightenment.
In fact, literature, cinema and painting often use staircases in various artistic narratives for their symbolic power; they can enhance the meaning of a scene and therefore inspire grandeur, surprise, elegance and beauty. “But thanks to the duality of stairs, they can also inspire fear and horror, and that is why they have often set the scene for murders,” Stannah’s website claims. Emma Fraser, in her article, states that, “In horror, running up a staircase is a one-way ticket to near-certain doom.” In the article, she explained that staircases are often used in horror to ramp up the tension, as well as to offer a semblance of hope. That makes one wonder why anyone would ever take the stairs, especially those in a parking garage.
The stairs in Diboll Parking Garage are made of concrete and walking on them makes one hear their steps echoing inside the staircase. There are ten flights, a total of 96 stairs, to the top. As one walks up the stairs, green iron railing are there to support them. On one side of the flight, there is just a line of railing going parallel with the stairs. On the other side, the railing is same color and material, but is more complex.
Getting to the top of one of the odd flights of stairs, the view opens up. It feels like standing on a balcony that is overlooking an ocean from the view of a Hawaiian vista, but this balcony actually overlooks a common road with old residential houses. Even though nothing special is surrounding one standing on that balcony, one might feel immense release staring in distance. According to Faena’s website, the writers explored the history of penthouses and how they went from being undesirable and ugly to now the most desirable residences of cities. They are spacious, ventilated and suspended above the noise of city streets. The elevated region of roofs is a so-called privileged territory that allows one to observe the horizon and breathe in pure air. The penthouse point of view meant a physical and mental detachment from the mundane noise, and therefore a beautiful change of perspective, stated Faena website. The panoramic view, observing treetops, silent trains in the distance and the skyline of a city, are important parts of penthouse apartments that made them so popular, and this rooftop view goes even further.
Andrea Barts in her article explored the psychological meaning behind why people love the view from high above. She included the words from Sally Augustin, an environmental psychologist, who argued that being high, with a view of the nearby world, gives us prospect and refuge – a view and a secure location. Barts, in her article, also mentioned that humans link things that are higher with more power and importance. Yet, even with power comes the difficulty of people not liking you. John Brubaker in his article explored why the most successful people have the most hate. To achieve greatness, one have to be willing to be hated, Brubaker stated.
Just as those in power hit a social wall, as soon as one turns around to walk another flight, the view changes to the brick walls. Each flight of stairs also has a light on the left side of the wall. Some of them work, and some of them do not, so walking up the staircase at night means only a small beam of light spotlights the steps. On the top of every even number of flights, there are similar doors as at the entrance of the staircase, which lead out of the staircase. The only two differences are that they are marked with a number, informing you about the floor you are on, and they have a different door handle. Waling up ninety-six stairs, there is the top of the staircase with the doors marked with number 6. To exit the staircase, the door handle needs to be pressed down, and doors pulled towards your body.
There is no roof on the top floor and there is a concrete bricked wall fencing the parking lot. The wall is a bit taller than the waistline, but is not above the shoulders. Getting closer to the fence will still allow one to look down and see people walking past the garage, which, according to Ceri Savage links to this idea of being “on top of the world.” She discussed that no matter whether it is a great city building or a towering mountain, an instinct is telling us to climb it. In the article, Ceri listed four reasons why people crave the beauty of views and love climbing high: we earn the beauty with hard work, high up views give perspective, we can see much more, and we can catch a sunset. “One great thing about views from high up places is the sense of perspective they invoke,” she said. Being high up helps people find their bearings, but also seeing cars, people, and trees so small below can help them appreciate how far they have traveled, Ceri mentioned. Looking from the top of the Diboll Parking Garage, there is a clear view of the Caesars Superdome, Smoothie King Center and hotels that reach the sky. On another side, there is Tulane Football stadium with a big Green Wave on it, and turning around a bit more the view reaches an ongoing construction, and residential buildings around it.
Molly Glenn in her article explored how architecture is intricately tied to political power. Architecture as such can provide a model of thought by a society to conceptualize the world, Glenn stated. So, Diboll Parking Garage is not just a staircase to a view that overlooks nothing, it can symbolize a visual statement of ideology of power.