When photographer Akasha Rabut moved to New Orleans from California in 2010, she didn’t exactly know what to expect. Second Line parades weren’t the only New Orleans tradition Rabut was fascinated by.
One day, while driving down an urban street, she spot a man on a horse with a cigarette in his hand, riding like the wind. Thus the idea emerged of capturing the vibrant lives of a group of urban cowboys in New Orleans called The Game Changers. Titled “Southern Riderz”, the series shows The Game Changers early on Sunday mornings and in a small community called Bridge City located across the Mississippi River from New Orleans. The images challenge our ingrained notion of cowboys in American culture, the idea cultivated from mainstream American westerns and novels where cowboys are predominantly white men. Rabut showcases that these riders are not the traditional cowboys with revolvers wearing the typical western apparel, but rather trade the revolver for a daiquiri and decorate their horses with harnesses and straps in vibrant colors.