six months after hurricane katrina, new orleans, 2006

Inside a Lower Ninth Ward house six months after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, Louisiana, early 2006.

Scenes from a disaster. Homes and lives destroyed by manmade infrastructure failing to hold up post storm. I first visited NoLa in spring of 2005 around the French Quarter Festival. The next time was early 2006, shortly after the hurricane of August 2005. I’ve traveled to New Orleans 11 times in six years, attending the Jazz Fest and the Voodoo Music Experience, going off season and on, when it’s hot as hell and windy, cool and grey. I’ve eaten crawfish étouffée and shrimp creole, drank frozen cafe au laits and  French 75s and Pimm’s Cups and spooned strawberries arnaud and catfish topped with crab and crawfish. I’ve poured Louisiana hot sauce on red beans and rice and danced barefoot in fields. I’ve listened to a lot of people, seen a lot of New Orleanians, photographed them, talked with them. I’ve spent hours of near pure bliss wandering around historic, above ground cemeteries, snapping photographs and reading inscriptions. I’ve sat in countess voodoo temples, walked over many cobblestoned streets on slow, sleepy evenings, sat under magnolia trees and followed the scent of jasmine around the Garden District. I’ve listened to jazz, blues, ragtime, dixieland, circus acts, old timey, bounce, cajun and everything in between. I’ve tried to count all of the colors of the brightly painted creole cottages and the tropical flowers in lush gardens and curves and details in iron latticed balconies.

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snapshots of louisiana

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There’s another place I fell in love with on my travels: Louisiana. New Orleans, especially, for it’s architecture, music, food, tropical gardens, iron urns, beautiful cemeteries, for its people and history and passionate embrace of life and death, for its celebrations. I have many shots of the city, these are a few pictures I took in the Louisiana countryside outside of the city in the former “plantation” country. There is not a tree more beautiful or haunting to me than a southern live oak with spanish moss hanging from its branches.

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The iconic shot at Oak Alley (2007 or 2010).

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There’s nothing like the feeling of driving along the backroads of the south listening to delta blues getting lost and feeling the sun on your skin. A true slice of Americana.

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I love country porches.

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Sweet tea and lemonade and a couple of rocking chairs.

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The trees seem to come to life as they reach for the ground like some fairytale ancient creatures.

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The mossy trunks and roots.

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The trees hold centuries of stories and memories.noli9

A beautiful walk: Louisiana is full of perfect, lush, tropical gardens.

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The plantations are picaresque these days but the bitter truth of their origins is something you see when you are on its grounds.  To think civil rights only got started about fifty years ago shows how close we still are to our darker history.

noli11The best smelling country candles, a rich vanilla.

Some time I’ll post my New Orleans photographs of voodoo queens, Saint Louis No. 1, creole cottages, spanish moss, street cars, musicians, cafe au laits, street candids, flora and fauna and more…