A C21 Pop-Up Restaurant Event in New Orleans with the National Down Syndrome Society

I have photographed events with the National Down Syndrome Society now for four years (consistently and frequently for the last two) and although all of them are powerful and impactful in their own ways, the C21 events are hands-down my favorites.

C21 is the name NDSS has given to pop-up restaurants across the country (Washington, DC, New York City, Atlanta, Dallas and more) featuring only workers with an extra 21st chromosome (hence the name). These self-advocates act as hosts and hostesses, servers, bartenders and musical and artistic entertainment. They greet you with a warm smile, clear your dishes with kindness, pour your red wine with care and leave love on your heart -- and a clear message that says “We are employable and we are hard workers.”

In February, I traveled to the Big Easy and photographed a Buddy Walk Organizers training conference and the New Orleans C21 event. Although I was only in the city for about 22 hours total, I immediately felt the warmth and vividness and joy from its residents.

This C21 event was held at New Orleans’ WWII Museum which is just a dream to visit and photograph in -- windows and high ceilings and amazing little details around every corner. It was filled with so many incredible volunteers and guests and had some of the best reactions to the event that I’ve seen so far -- we’re talking beautiful tears of happiness and amazement and so many “Aha!” moments.

I gained a new friendship -- with my friend Shawn, a fellow DS Momma and mom to TRIPLETS, including Coldon, the inspiration for Coldon’s Krewe. I happened to be photographing near her table while her and her husband heard powerful speeches asking for equal opportunities at so many basic human rights and saw firsthand the way the event touched her. It was so beautiful. I can’t wait to see her in September for the NDSS Buddy Walk.

Enjoy this peek into a beautiful night!

Wendy Zook Photography | NDSS, New Orleans Down Syndrome event, New Orleans NDSS photographer, Down Syndrome awareness, Down Syndrome, C21 Pop-Up Restaurant, Buddy Walk
Wendy Zook Photography | NDSS, New Orleans Down Syndrome event, New Orleans NDSS photographer, Down Syndrome awareness, Down Syndrome, C21 Pop-Up Restaurant, Buddy Walk
Wendy Zook Photography | NDSS, New Orleans Down Syndrome event, New Orleans NDSS photographer, Down Syndrome awareness, Down Syndrome, C21 Pop-Up Restaurant, Buddy Walk
Wendy Zook Photography | NDSS, New Orleans Down Syndrome event, New Orleans NDSS photographer, Down Syndrome awareness, Down Syndrome, C21 Pop-Up Restaurant, Buddy Walk
Wendy Zook Photography | NDSS, New Orleans Down Syndrome event, New Orleans NDSS photographer, Down Syndrome awareness, Down Syndrome, C21 Pop-Up Restaurant, Buddy Walk
Wendy Zook Photography | NDSS, New Orleans Down Syndrome event, New Orleans NDSS photographer, Down Syndrome awareness, Down Syndrome, C21 Pop-Up Restaurant, Buddy Walk
Wendy Zook Photography | NDSS, New Orleans Down Syndrome event, New Orleans NDSS photographer, Down Syndrome awareness, Down Syndrome, C21 Pop-Up Restaurant, Buddy Walk
Wendy Zook Photography | NDSS, New Orleans Down Syndrome event, New Orleans NDSS photographer, Down Syndrome awareness, Down Syndrome, C21 Pop-Up Restaurant, Buddy Walk
Wendy Zook Photography | NDSS, New Orleans Down Syndrome event, New Orleans NDSS photographer, Down Syndrome awareness, Down Syndrome, C21 Pop-Up Restaurant, Buddy Walk
Wendy Zook Photography | NDSS, New Orleans Down Syndrome event, New Orleans NDSS photographer, Down Syndrome awareness, Down Syndrome, C21 Pop-Up Restaurant, Buddy Walk
Wendy Zook Photography | NDSS, New Orleans Down Syndrome event, New Orleans NDSS photographer, Down Syndrome awareness, Down Syndrome, C21 Pop-Up Restaurant, Buddy Walk
Wendy Zook Photography | NDSS, New Orleans Down Syndrome event, New Orleans NDSS photographer, Down Syndrome awareness, Down Syndrome, C21 Pop-Up Restaurant, Buddy Walk
Wendy Zook Photography | NDSS, New Orleans Down Syndrome event, New Orleans NDSS photographer, Down Syndrome awareness, Down Syndrome, C21 Pop-Up Restaurant, Buddy Walk
Wendy Zook Photography | NDSS, New Orleans Down Syndrome event, New Orleans NDSS photographer, Down Syndrome awareness, Down Syndrome, C21 Pop-Up Restaurant, Buddy Walk
Wendy Zook Photography | NDSS, New Orleans Down Syndrome event, New Orleans NDSS photographer, Down Syndrome awareness, Down Syndrome, C21 Pop-Up Restaurant, Buddy Walk
Wendy Zook Photography | NDSS, New Orleans Down Syndrome event, New Orleans NDSS photographer, Down Syndrome awareness, Down Syndrome, C21 Pop-Up Restaurant, Buddy Walk
Wendy Zook Photography | NDSS, New Orleans Down Syndrome event, New Orleans NDSS photographer, Down Syndrome awareness, Down Syndrome, C21 Pop-Up Restaurant, Buddy Walk
Wendy Zook Photography | NDSS, New Orleans Down Syndrome event, New Orleans NDSS photographer, Down Syndrome awareness, Down Syndrome, C21 Pop-Up Restaurant, Buddy Walk
Wendy Zook Photography | NDSS, New Orleans Down Syndrome event, New Orleans NDSS photographer, Down Syndrome awareness, Down Syndrome, C21 Pop-Up Restaurant, Buddy Walk
Wendy Zook Photography | NDSS, New Orleans Down Syndrome event, New Orleans NDSS photographer, Down Syndrome awareness, Down Syndrome, C21 Pop-Up Restaurant, Buddy Walk
Wendy Zook Photography | NDSS, New Orleans Down Syndrome event, New Orleans NDSS photographer, Down Syndrome awareness, Down Syndrome, C21 Pop-Up Restaurant, Buddy Walk
Wendy Zook Photography | NDSS, New Orleans Down Syndrome event, New Orleans NDSS photographer, Down Syndrome awareness, Down Syndrome, C21 Pop-Up Restaurant, Buddy Walk
Wendy Zook Photography | NDSS, New Orleans Down Syndrome event, New Orleans NDSS photographer, Down Syndrome awareness, Down Syndrome, C21 Pop-Up Restaurant, Buddy Walk
Wendy Zook Photography | NDSS, New Orleans Down Syndrome event, New Orleans NDSS photographer, Down Syndrome awareness, Down Syndrome, C21 Pop-Up Restaurant, Buddy Walk
Wendy Zook Photography | NDSS, New Orleans Down Syndrome event, New Orleans NDSS photographer, Down Syndrome awareness, Down Syndrome, C21 Pop-Up Restaurant, Buddy Walk
Wendy Zook Photography | NDSS, New Orleans Down Syndrome event, New Orleans NDSS photographer, Down Syndrome awareness, Down Syndrome, C21 Pop-Up Restaurant, Buddy Walk
Wendy Zook Photography | NDSS, New Orleans Down Syndrome event, New Orleans NDSS photographer, Down Syndrome awareness, Down Syndrome, C21 Pop-Up Restaurant, Buddy Walk
Wendy Zook Photography | NDSS, New Orleans Down Syndrome event, New Orleans NDSS photographer, Down Syndrome awareness, Down Syndrome, C21 Pop-Up Restaurant, Buddy Walk