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  • Meet Julien Collins.

    He’s from Massachusetts, and he’s been wandering the country for a few years. He spent some time traveling the West Coast — Seattle, San Francisco and San Diego. From there, he came to Austin by way of Tucson. He told me New Orleans may be his next stop. He’s been playing accordion for about a year, and he mostly writes his own melodies and lyrics.

    I had come down to South Congress Avenue this particular afternoon to have lunch with my sister and also shoot some photographs. At the time, I was trying out to be a photographer for The Daily Texan newspaper, and SoCo (as some Austinites affectionately call it) seemed like the best place to go if I wanted to find some pictures with an accompanying story for my “wild art” weekend assignment. “Keep Austin Weird!” is our city’s mantra, and the sidewalks of SoCo are a wellspring of such “weirdness.”

    I don’t know if Julien is still here in Austin, or if he made good on his plans and headed out east to New Orleans for Mardi Gras. Maybe he’s traveling just to travel. Maybe he’s looking for a place to belong.

    Truth is, Julien — with his friendliness, his restless spirit and his accordion in a beat up old suitcase — fit right in, right there in South Austin.
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