As basketball’s biggest weekend continues, steadfast New Orleans Jordan collectors Chavier Johnson, Kendall Baker and Will Weathersby share why they’ve gotta shine. Photos by Aubrey Edwards.

First pair of J’s?

“The AJ XI Concord. From the jump, my dad was buying Jordans for me, my mom and my older brother.”

Why did you choose to be photographed in this location?

“I picked Canal St and the Super Dome because that’s where the majority of the events took place during Katrina. People tried to stay in the Super Dome to survive. That shined a light for me [in that I realized] I could be part of the rebuilding process. For people to have jobs and to better themselves. I know that Downtown is the key part of the success of Louisiana and New Orleans.

When Katrina hit, I wanted to take as much as I could. We were thinking ‘We’re not gonna be gone for long, it will be a little heavy rain and then we can come home’. It winded up being we couldn’t go home for a while. A tree hit the back of the house, but my collection was still intact. I’d say about 300 pairs survived.”

Which Jordans inspire you to shine?

“The retro [AJ] I symbolizes New Orleans this weekend, gives a story of the culture down here.”

KENDALL BAKER

First pair of Jordans?

“The white/cement IVs in 1989. I was 11 years old. My mom got them for my birthday.”

Why did you choose this NOLA location? 

“Because of a lot of the history and what went on with Hurricane Katrina, [Downtown New Orleans] represents a rebirth of the city in some sorts.”

Which J’s inspire you to shine?

“It would be the Concord XI, because that shoe – no matter what – turns heads. Sometimes it’s kind of hard to say what my favorite Jordan is. It’s like asking someone with a lot of kids who their favorite child is.

I’ve got shoes everywhere. You walk in, and going upstairs, I’ve got two shoes on every step. In the living room, I’ve got shoes. I’ve got shoes in the kitchen area. I’ve got shoes everywhere. Every closet has at least five pair in them.”

WILL WEATHERSBY

First pair of J’s?

“The Jordan VIIs.”

Why did you choose this NOLA location? 

“This park in Downtown is right across from Bourbon street and the red street car. It’s super live.”

Which Jordans inspire you to shine?

“My Jordan Xs. I don’t have them anymore, but they were released the week of Hurricane Katrina. We evacuated that week so I had to go to Houston.

When Katrina hit I was on my way to Texas. There was so much bad going on, you needed something to uplift you a little bit. To make you feel like something’s okay. I got them at a mall in Houston, Texas and I wore those Jordans for a month and a half straight, I’ll never forget that.”