Inner Harbor Navigation Channel. That’s its formal name. Around here we call it The Industrial Canal. It is lined by a levee. Or, more accurately, a series of levees. This structure sort of site in front of one. One of the very levees that broke so badly during Hurricane Katrina and destroyed the Lower 9th Ward. It’s still pretty much destroyed.
This place was a grain elevator — I think — that was working along the upper end of the canal, closer to Lake Ponchartrain. I’m not sure if it was abandoned before the storm, but it is now. I sort of discovered it while I was wandering about after photographing a second line parade. Remember… I “discover” stuff about a decade after everybody else is well aware of it. The best thing about this place is that it is wide open. No locked gates. No barbed wire fences. People drive down to the docks and fish from it. They seem to catch a lot. I’m not sure I’d eat what they catch. The water is full of oil and benzine, and chemicals.
A little change.
In a few months. A little over two months to be exact, we will be heading into hurricane season. Yeah. Another one. It is what it is. If you live in the Gulf Coast you accept it, prepare for it and say a lot of prayers. 29 August marks a decade since so many people’s lives were uprooted and changed forever.
I have a whole host of projects to work on, but I’m starting one more. Call it, “New Orleans Ten Years Later.” That’s a good working title. Yes. I’m going to write a little more. And, I’m going to focus on the neighborhoods that were most deeply hurt. I can tell you this, just from my wandering around, things are getting better. Buildings that were flood ravaged and destroyed are being repurposed. It may have taken eight or nine years, but stuff is happening. Will we ever be whole again? I can’t say. Can we be better? Probably. Lots of problems within the city. I’ll just on those too.
Rain is falling pretty hard as I write. Not to worry. It’s only March.
If you didn’t take a picture, you weren’t there. That’s what they say. Today. I guess that means that I’m always there. Every time. Every place. Just a few remaining scenes from the second line. And, some of the people who watch them. Or, who participate in some way.
Second lines. They are a neighborhood thing. They are for everybody. Even though the parade is led by some specific group, anybody who wants to join in, can. That’s the whole point of the name, second line. The second line is everybody who wants to participate. Anybody at all. Once, I said to another photographer that I was just taking pictures. He told me that there was no “just” about it. I walked with the parade. I work from just in front, sometimes in the middle, sometimes from the edges. I’m no longer a bystander. I’m part of the parade.
You never know. Yesterday, when this picture was made, the temperature at parade time was in the low 80s. It was hot. It was humid. Rain was starting to fall. It appeared that summer arrived and skipped right over most of spring. So, those of us involved in the second line sort of felt like we were playing by summer rules. Umbrellas. Water. Big hats.
I suppose it didn’t help that there is major construction — streetcar tracks are being laid to replace the ones torn up in the early 1960s — on Rampart. So, most of the paraders didn’t know exactly where it was going to start. So we milled around. First we started in one direction. Then, another direction. Finally, it was sorted out. That added to the general misery of the early warmth. This young guy figured out a solution. He sipped on his Ozark water. From Texas.
Today. Oh, the temperature is in the mid-60s with a coolish breeze. Big clouds.
Timing. It’s always timing.
Very strange. I was passing by this place on the way to some place else. The building was pretty much abandoned after the storm. Somebody decided to rebuild it. Then it caught fire and burned to the ground leaving only the sub flooring, the fire-place and the chimney. Okay. Not exactly to the ground. I’m not sure what caught my attention this time, but I stopped. I decided to walk around. I found these beads. This is no accidental placement. Gold, Green & Purple. Mardi Gras colors.
I didn’t set this up. That’s not my style.
Ooooooooh. Ghostly. Or not.
I took a break. In the middle of chasing around on St. Joseph’s Day, I knew I needed coffee. Espresso. Something to keep me going. I arrive at Croissant D’ Or just as they were closing. Being a good small business, they were happy to make me something even though everything had been cleaned. They even let me sit even though the floors were being washed. Since I believe like that you really should have a camera everywhere, I was ready. I made this picture.
There is more to the story, but…
I thought I’d end this week as it began. Mardi Gras Indians. Super Sunday. Portraits. Great Faces. Colorful Suits.
And, Tomorrow? Something different. Maybe something with a little spring in the air. We’ll see.
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