Is there anything you’d like to confess? The Instagram account Quarter Confessions wants to know. Many Bourbon Street strollers end up spilling their darkest secrets on camera — to an audience of 472,000 followers.

@quarterconfessions takes viewers onto the streets of the French Quarter and invites revelers of all walks of life to confess to anything they choose. A surprising number accept. A scroll through Quarter Confessions reveals everything from salacious details of sexual encounters to accounts of serious crimes.

Michael Moises, director of Quarter Confessions, said you never know what people will say, especially if they're drunk.

“If you put a camera in front of people’s faces, especially if they've been drinking …” he said.


 
 
 
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A post shared by Quarter Confessions (@quarterconfessions) on Nov 17, 2018 at 2:44pm PST


The idea of Quarter Confessions began when Moises and co-producer Martin Begué trekked to the Bywater to interview transplants for the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. The day didn’t end up yielding results for that project, but it planted an idea in Moises’ head that eventually would go viral — walking around interviewing people on the streets of New Orleans. When the Quarter Confession crew first hit the streets in September 2018, it didn’t have much of a plan past that.

“I thought maybe my friends would watch it and maybe it would spread around New Orleans a little bit,” Moises said. “I didn't know what the content would be. I didn't know how the people were going to respond either.”

His idea found a natural home in the Vieux Carre, a breeding ground for the sort of chaos and uninhibited characters on which Quarter Confessions thrives. Moises knew that Bourbon Street, in particular, attracts “a ton of characters.”

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Moises says he originally thought his series would be passed among his friends, but the Instagram account has almost a half-million followers.

“I think there's a different [sort of] person that hangs out on Bourbon, no knock at all,” Moises said. “But I think people are generally looser. You just have people who are fun and open.”

On Quarter Confessions' inaugural night, Moises and his team filmed what they describe as some of their craziest clips to date (some remain unpublished). A memorable encounter was with a man who performed fellatio on himself, with evident practice, until a police officer intervened.

Emboldened by liquid courage and the promise of “being on TV,” others on the show have confessed to incestuous relationships, cheating on partners and — several times — murder.

"I fucked her dad," said a young woman clothed in Mardi Gras rugby stripes, pointing to her nearby friend. "She got mad, I fucked her dad, it's fine ... I was in Ardmore at her family dinner and she fell asleep and her dad was like 'ay'."

"Tonight I'm gonna tie my husband up, I'm not gonna untie him until tomorrow. I'm gonna make him scream like a little bitch," said one woman. "I'm scared, but excited at the same time," her husband said.

"I'm on a lot of acid right now," one man said.

"I guess my deepest darkest confession is that I lost my virginity to my cousin. It was honestly in the bathroom of a fucking family event, it was at my brother's wedding," said one man. "We didn't know we were cousins until like three or four months after. I was like 'Hey, Mom, I got this fine ass girl.' Both families broke the news to both of us because the parents contacted each other."

"My deepest darkest secret is that I'm a 58-year-old nymphomaniac," said one man.

"I got a crazy confession, bro, we just met and we're getting married," said a man clutching a woman's hand.

"I cheated on my boyfriend," said one woman. When it was her friends turn to confess, she said the same, but a third friend took the cake: "I've cheated on five of my boyfriends," she said.

"I slept with my mom's baby daddy," said one man. "And my mom should've known that [he] was gay."

"One time, I was walking home from school, I met a hot chick. My stomach was bubbly, I was running my game, right, talking to her, had to shit really bad. Next thing I know, I try to fart, like a little silent fart, and shitted on myself," said one man holding a large "Huge Ass Beers" collectible.

"I fucked my dad's wife. Now he doesn't claim me as his son," said one man. "I vowed not to tell anyone, because it was supposed to be between the three of us, but what the hell. We're on Bourbon."

“People just went wild,” Moises said.

The incendiary nature of these confessions raises the question: Do people know what they’re getting themselves into? The answer: mostly yes. Participants sign forms prior to being interviewed, though Moises often removes content upon request.

“We also never really interview people who are blackout drunk,” he said. “We definitely interview people who are drunk, but there’s a line.”

Finding sober people to film on Bourbon Street might be a difficult task. But it’s not only the free-flowing booze so ubiquitous to Bourbon Street that makes something like Quarter Confessions possible, it’s the come-as-you-are, accepting spirit of the place itself.

The glimpse into the personal lives that Quarter Confessions provides is raw — and so is the side of New Orleans that it portrays. Amid gleaming tourism billboards and romanticized tales of the birthplace of jazz — a tagline Moises has used on the show — it’s easy to forget what the French Quarter looks, sounds and smells like until you’re standing in the middle of it. But the relationship Quarter Confessions has with the city is surprisingly reverent.

“I don't want it to be a negative portrayal,” Moises said. “I don't want people to think that Bourbon Street is a gross place. … I think it's important to be able to go and do whatever they want and act however they want and not have to feel bad about it.”

Like Quarter Confessions, other Vieux Carré-centric Instagram accounts document what the boots-on-the-ground Quarter is like.



@drunkonbourbon documents all things dealing with inebriation on and around Bourbon Street. The account is full of empty bottles in the least likely places, the early-morning discovery of toppled portable toilets and, of course, drunk people up to shenanigans or even passed out.


 
 
 
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Off to work with Pearl. #mule #NewOrleans

A post shared by @ fqmule on Aug 5, 2015 at 3:25pm PDT


Everyone’s seen drunken antics downtown, but can everyone say they’ve seen the Quarter from the helm of a horse and buggy? What about from the eyes of a mule? The French Quarter as seen from the eyes of a tour carriage mule, and occasionally the driver, is shared by @fqmule

Dozens of other accounts are pioneering the latest medium of a centuries-old fascination with the city’s oldest neighborhood. In the age of social media, it makes sense that Instagrammers are leading the charge. And though the medium and the prominence of French Quarter appreciation is changing, the core of the place — its fatalistic, bacchanalian spirit — remains the same.

“What Bourbon Street is has happened every single night until now,” Moises said. “There’s never been a point where it wasn't exactly what it is. I feel like it hasn't really been affected by the outside world at all; it’s literally just a street with neon. If you look at pictures from the ’60s or ’70s, it looks exactly the same, just maybe a fewer signs.”

The future of Quarter Confessions, like the city’s plans for the Vieux Carré, may turn toward a more affectionate portrayal of the city.

“I do kind of want to take a step back and see what can we do to make sure that we can capture the parts that are funny about it, because I do still maintain the fact that it is very special place. It's interesting,” Moises said. “My goal is maybe to make people laugh and to make people know that it's OK to be yourself.”

A new host will join the Quarter Confessions’ team when it resumes filming in September, but it won’t change the show’s unwavering focus on the Crescent City.

“People from all around the world are seeing it,” Moises said. “It makes me happy to put New Orleans on the map in that way.”

Follow Adrienne Underwood on Twitter at @adrienneunderwd