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Mostly Music



More Mardi Gras. Forever. Or, so it may seem.

I thought that on off days I would organize posts by category. So. Music. Floats. Spectators. Details. And, so on. There still isn’t enough time in the week to show you everything, so I’ll do a wrapper during the week after Mardi Gras Day.

These are a few moments from the music category. A guy I know says that the bands are the best part of the parade. I’m pretty sure that he’s right. Everything is photogenic at one of these things, but the marching bands always draw my eye. As we move into the high point of parade season, the big schools start coming out. Photographing them while they are rehearsing is something I’ve been doing for a long time. It gets really good when two bands face off and challenge each other. A battle of the bands. On the street. In full dress.

That’s one big, huge reason why I work the start of a parade. You will not see this along the parade route as the bands roll. Many people who have been going to the parades for years don’t know this happens.

These pictures. Bands. And support. I made all of them by walking around and looking. Looking. Always looking. This is sort of a triple brain thing. You have to see the big picture. Look for details. And, watch the ground. With our terrible streets, one false step and you could be flat on your face.

Oh yeah. One more thing. Most parades use a lot of horses to lead. Where there are horses there is…

Recovery time. Four parades over two nights and days equalled about 12 miles. That doesn’t count the dog walks, the walks in parking lots to run errands. And, so on. I spent most of yesterday hurting. You would be right to ask if I shouldn’t train for this sort of thing. You would be wrong to assume that I don’t.

I walk between three to five miles a day. Every day. The dogs won’t allow me not to. I stretch every day. Twice actually. Morning and night. And, I lift light weights every other day. I also watch my caloric intake. And, what’s in those calories.

In my case, aches and pains and recovery time are more about age than anything. I’m not comparing myself to professional athletes, but recovery time and increased training are two reasons why they usual retire before age 40. Many, much earlier than that. That doesn’t count the ones who get injured and are forced to call it quits.

Because of that, I always say that I’m not going to photograph Mardi Gras next year. And, then I do. Imagine that.

Krewe of Barkus. Woof.


Hey mister.

Hey mister.

The Krewe of Barkus.

This post wrote itself. Woof, woof, woof, bark, bark, bark, growl, growl, growl, grrr, grrr, grr.

See what I mean?


The Krewe of Barkus. It’s about dogs. It’s their parade. But, it’s also about their humans. It’s also our parade too. It’s hard to know who is masked better. The dogs? Or, the humans? Like everything in New Orleans, this parade has grown. I remember when it was a small walk, sparsely attended and you could pretty much walk with the parade. Now? Huge crowds everywhere. Pick a spot and you are pretty much stuck. It’s all in good fun. No. Strike that. All in great fun. Best of all. Nobody got shot. Which is something I’ll get to in a minute. After I talk about the pictures.

The pictures. This is about me as much as anything. Dogs are hard to photograph. The dogs around this place move when they know that the shutter button is being pressed. But, despite my rapidly advancing age, I still have pretty good hand — eye coordination. And, my instincts are still pretty good. So, that’s what these picture are about. Wait a minute. I have to be careful here. The pictures are about the dogs, their humans and… me. Especially the top one.

My favorite? It’s a bit of a sleeper.  The bottom picture. Pretty in Pink. I did my best Elliot Erwitt. Heh!

About that nobody got shot thing.

When you open the morning paper or morning website and the headline says, “Nobody Shot On Bourbon Street Saturday Night,” you have to wonder if it is such big news that nobody got shot? A look that story reveals that part of the crowd on Bourbon Street stampeded because they *thought* they heard shots fired.  Their descriptions are vivid. The NOPD couldn’t find any data to support that. I don’t know if I believe them or city hall. They’ve made a big deal out of increasing all sorts of protections and adding officers from various state agencies to patrol the crowd. What if shots were fired? Hmmmm…

After all, on this first Mardi Gras weekend, which was combined with the NBA All Star weekend, there were five shooting and one stabbing, resulting in two deaths. Two of the shootings were along the parade route.

That said, for anyone visiting don’t be denied. Be aware.

The downside is that once upon a time the violent areas were predictable by time and location. Now, it seems, violent crime is everywhere at any time of day.  If you read Storyteller and plan on coming to NOLA, don’t just read the local websites or the tourist sites. Reach out. To me. I work on the streets more than most those sources do. Sometimes, it’s matter of a block or so in the wrong direction…

Pretty in pink.

Pretty in pink.


Time After Time

Dancing in motion.

Dancing in motion.

Mardi Gras 2017.

I learned two things. Rust never sleeps. I took most of the time on the scene to knock the rust off. I may photograph second lines on a weekly basis, but this ain’t that. When I finally get rust free, hopefully I’ll arrive at my second bit of understanding. You have to get so used to the ebb and flow of the parade season that you get a little bored and into another kind of zone. Then you can see. Really see.

I’ll show you more of this take on Tuesday. There are a lot of pictures. I used up all my tricks in one night just trying to make an acceptable group of images. For tomorrow, get ready to see dogs. Lots of dogs.


I’m off the Krewe of Barkus in a few hours.




You Know That Saying?

Spring colors.

Spring colors.

That saying. The one that goes something like this. “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.”

Yeah, well.

This post was supposed to be Mardi Gras parade pictures. The predicted rain fell. Almost all night. You know that wouldn’t stop me. But, the sniffles, sneezing and mild coughing did. I thought, “Oh no, not at the very beginning of parade season.” So, I stayed in. No parades for me last night.

Dawn broke bright and sunny. The temperature was warmer. I felt much better too. Hopefully, I was feeling the effects of spring. With all these pretty blooms all around there is a lot of pollen in the air.  The rain washed the air and it probably washed my sinuses as well. To make sure, I took a Claritin — which is what works best for me. I feel fine as I write.

Tonight I have a choice. Traditional parades, uptown. Or, the Krewes of ‘titRex and Chewbacchus, downtown. You can image  — just from their names — that they are a little “different.” For the past few years I have been working downtown. Since I didn’t work last night, I may reverse that. The biggest issue is parking. There are two daytime parades that I never photograph. But, the folks who go to them usually stay for the next two which makes parking for the night parades a little challenging. To say the least. I’ll flip a coin at the last-minute. And, call Uber.

This picture. My apologies if you follow me on Instagram, or on Twitter or are friends with me on Facebook. You may have already seen this picture. I always intended for it to be an Instagram picture, but I really do like it. And, it’s a day or so old so I thought I would share it with y’all.

I was walking a couple of the dogs when I took it. So guess what? It’s an iPhone picture. I have no idea of the technical specs except to say it sure does make weird files. The files are something like 48 x 36 inches, but at 72 ppi. If you uprezed that to a normal file at 300 ppi, that total file size would be huge.



Watching’ People Sashay



“We all going crazy, while jamming and having fun.” — The Treme Song, John Boutte.

A little last look at last Sunday’s second line. CTC Steppers.


Two Mardi Gras parades tonight, which will either be postponed due to weather, or, I’ll be working in the rain. You know what I say about that. “When the weather turns bad, the pictures get good.”

I was corrected about not going to the French Quarter this weekend. I forgot. The Krewe of Barkus rolls, er, walks on Sunday from Armstrong Park through the Quarter. How could I forget? The dogs around here have been grumpy for the past couple of weeks because they are getting fitted for pirate suits. The parade is pirate themed. As Jerry Seinfeld once whined, “I don’t wanna be a pirate.” Neither do they.


The pictures. Kind of the usual. See the picture. Take the picture. A lot less post production than yesterday’s picture. I really didn’t like how various social media sites handled the compression.

Leading the line.

Leading the line.


Out on the Weekend

Dancing out of the door.

Dancing out of the door.

Another Sunday. Another second line.

This time it is the CTC Steppers. With everything being normal. Or, as normal as these events ever are. The social clubs danced. The brass bands played. The people walked. And, the photographers took pictures. In the normal way. With everybody getting in each others way. But, that’s the joy of it.

This is the last second line until after Mardi Gras. You’ll see pictures from this second line today and tomorrow. If the mule doesn’t kick the bucket and the well doesn’t run dry, you’ll see Friday night’s Mardi Gras parades on Saturday afternoon or night, depending on where you live.

I doubt that I’ll venture into the French Quarter this weekend for any reason. Not only does the Mardi Gras parade season begin, which means a flood of tourists. But, the NBA All-Star game is held this weekend. This means even more tourists. Everything turns expensive. Parking lots that normally charge $10 will charge at least $25 for the day. Parking on the Quarter streets will be very limited. My “secret” spots in the Treme will be taken. Uber will convert to surge pricing. Using them for two miles may cost about $37. Hotels will mark their rates up by at least 250% and will want a guarantee of at least three nights. Restaurants. Ho, ho, ho… that’s why I eat where I live. Uptown.

The picture. Close to the ropes. I tried real hard to keep the general scene in the picture with a little glimpse of a semi-decisive moment. You know, his eyes. Post production is limited, but I’m working on making my work a little more cinematic.

Go to the Mardi Gras

Little lights.

Little lights.

“While you stroll in New Orleans
You ought to go see the Mardi Gras
If you go to New Orleans
You ought to go see the Mardi Gras
When you see the Mardi Gras
Somebody’ll tell you what’s Carnival for
Get your ticket in your hand
If you wanna go through New Orleans
Get your ticket in your hand
If you wanna go through New Orleans
You know when you get to New Orleans
Somebody’ll show you the Zulu King
You will see the Zulu King
Down on St. Claude and Dumaine
You know, you’ll see the Zulu King
Down on St. Claude and Dumaine
An if you stay right there
I’m sure you’ll see the Zulu Queen.”

—  Go to the Mardi Gras © 1959 Professor Longhair recorded at Cosimo Matassa’s Studio

That’s all there is to say. I feel it now. In my bones. In my head. In my soul.

The picture. And, the song. The picture was easy. Find it. Stand there. Wait for passersby to pass by. And, push the button. Very gently.

Normally, I would not mention the studio. But, Cosimo Matassa’s Studio was legendary. Everybody who was anybody in New Orleans recorded there. If you believe what I believe about the birth of rock n’ roll, you know that Fat’s Domino recorded the first rock n’ roll song there while a major hurricane was blowing outside. Today, the studio building still exists. It’s a laundromat.

One more thing. The guitar player on this song. Dr. John. The Nightripper. Still recording and touring the world relentlessly. Think about that. He recorded this song 56 years ago. He’s still going strong. Desitvily.