Update: NOLA @ Fairhaven appears to have closed. SLurls have therefore been removed from this article.
We recently received an invitation to visit NOLA @ Fairhaven. Described as “an homage to New Orleans, Louisiana”, the estate comprises three regions – two Full and one Homestead, with one of the Full regions providing the homage to New Orleans, and the other a pair of settings I’ll discuss a little later.
Designed by Tatianna (TatiannaDiamond) and Jus Strat (jus4strat), all three regions are an impression combination – but given the amount packed into all three mesh, sculpt and texture-wise, can also be a little heavy going if your viewer is running with any significant bells and whistles (such as shadows) enabled.
There is no enforced landing point within the regions, and the SLurl supplied by Jus dropped us neatly in the north-east corner of the Full region representing New Orleans (and which is the one I’ve used in this article), with the bridge to the other regions leading away eastwards, the town itself lad out to the west and south of us.
The latter is something of an image of New Orleans perhaps familiar to many from film and television: cobbled roads, balconied establishments whose interiors offer relief from the heat of the day. Cafés rub shoulders with jazz clubs, barbers shops, boutique stores and hotels. Grand houses can be found by wandering through the streets, while squares and formal gardens offer breaks from the urban tightness. To the north-west, the town gives way to a more bayou like setting, with mangroves and swampy-looking grass, while the graveyard betwixt town and bayou offers another “traditional” reflection of New Orleans and its oft-presented ties to voodoo and mysticism.
The attention to detail within the town is impressive: many of the buildings have interior décor and furnishings, making them attractive points for exploration; several of the roads are lined with ornate, horse-headed bollards, reminding one of the city’s long history, while another reminder lines in the “river” separating the town from the eastern regions of the estate: a stern-wheeled paddle boat (the fabulous Dixie Belle by Analyse Dean), a rickety brow connecting her to an aged wharf where an old mill sits.
Across the water from the town, in the remaining two regions, things take a turn toward a more equatorial tropical feel, with the ground level of both regions styled into the undulating form of a surfer’s paradise. A rocky plateau, reached via the bridge mentioned above, provides a good vantage point as it looks eastwards over the sand and dunes, which in turn gradually narrow into a crooked finger curled around a bay into which white-capped waves roll.
The uplands here are home to a lush area of trees, grass and plants, where an ancient ruins stands and a winding paths disappears through the trees. Touches of fantasy reside here, perhaps most notably in the form of the gondola held aloft by balloons, perhaps as much at home in the air as it might be on a river or canal. Further to the east, the beaches are naturally divided by trees and by raised board walks, with beach houses, shaded spots, lookout points and more scattered throughout.
Nor is this all; find the teleport boards (hard to miss out on the sands!) and you can be carried aloft to where the City of Fairhaven resides in the sky, another venue for music, exploration and photography. Here can be found an amusement park surrounded by trees, and what – for me at least – is the biggest drive-in cinema screen I’ve come across in Second Life.
As noted above, there is a lot going on across all three of these regions in terms of mesh, sculpties and textures, which can take its toll on a viewer’s performance (I had to disable shadows to walk comfortably, and even then, in places my viewer still had some issues). However, if you show patience and give things a chance, there is a lot worth seeing here.
Our thanks to Jus for the invitation to visit and explore.
- NOLA and Fairhaven (Stratography, Stratography West and Stratography East, all rated Adult)