So. I was very late yesterday and I’m very early today. That’s what happens when I can’t sleep. This is one of those pictures I made on my walk through The French Quarter. The bikes are typical for the rough streets located there. For me, the added touch was the faded Mardi Gras beads which seemed to add just the right touch. It helped that The detergent – street cleaning truck was passing by just as I stumbled upon the bikes. It helped give the street a rather interesting glow. 

I wrote in an email to a friend of mine and said that I was feeling like a Jimmy Buffett song in which he said; “the new album’s old and I’m fresh out of tunes.” I’m out of  blog publishable images. That’s not to say I haven’t been working on three BIG projects, but they aren’t ready for prime time. In fact, one may never be. We’ll have to see about that. So, this morning I set out to do something about it. I awoke on the early side and had a walk about in The French Quarter. I walked for an hour. I ate a light breakfast and had a coffee. I walked for another hour. When I was drenched enough from the heat and horrible humidity, I headed for the car. Luckily, I was seeing pretty well so I made a lot of pictures. I was about to blow them all out in one day. But, that doesn’t work. Pinterest doesn’t like that. My tag list becomes way too long. And I run out of pictures again. So, one at a time for the next few days. Here’s one now.  How did I make it? F8 and be there. The best way for me to find these “little” pictures is to walk. That’s what I did. Why am I so late? Lunch with a friend. 11:30 until 3:30. New Orleans lunch.

This is my favorite building. It is located in The French Quarter. I’ve photographed it in all sorts of light. Early morning. Morning. Dusk. Night. Never at high noon. I guess I like it because it looks like it could be located somewhere in Paris. France. Not Texas.

In case you are wondering about the lines. That’s the building. Not me. I’ve even accounted for lens distortion using Lightroom.

For now, I’m done with second line parades. But, rather than jump into something new, I thought I post something like a chapter header. It is a sign. A symbol. A fleur-de-lis. It is a symbol of much more than just The New Orleans Saints. It is the symbol for a city. Many cities, actually. In the United States it is usually found in a place that has some kind of French heritage. Same in Canada. Historically, it has been used in the art work of the earliest human beings. Me? I don’t know about that. But, I was wandering up Magazine Street and saw this particular fleur-de-lis and thought that it might make a nice little picture. What can I say? I just like the shape.

I’ve written a lot about second line parades. I’ve shared pictures that were mostly little snatches, snapshots and scenes of Uncle Lionel’s various second line parades. But, what does it look like when you stand back? Well. It looks like this… 

So. I was looking for a higher angle to photograph the beginning of Uncle Lionel’s second line parade. The best I could do was stand on the stoop — or porch, to some of you — of an old abandoned house. Yes. There are plenty of them in New Orleans. Some 62,000 by last count. While I was there, this young guy asked if he could share. Of course he could. He also agreed to add something special to my crowd picture. Here he is now. 

There were plenty of people who turned out for Lionel Batiste’s last second line parade. It seems to me that even though many groups of people make music in New Orleans, they sort of keep their distance from each other. Normally. Uncle Lionel brought all groups together. The is a Mardi Gras Indian. I cannot imagine what it felt like to walk completely masked in yesterday’s heat.

Finally. The weather was good. The skies were a little cloudy. The sun shone most of the time. It was really hot. The people were ready. It was time for Uncle Lionel to take his final ride. He left the funeral home to a slow jazz dirge of “Will The Circle Be Unbroken.”  The people walked with him. The bands cut loose and walked with him. It was not sad. It was about celebration. It was about life.

I was ready too. For me, it was about a lot of things. I guess it worked out. I made about 600 frames and kept 73 in my first edit. That’s a lot of selects for me. I haven’t worked the images through my second edit except to pick one picture for this blog. Too many pictures to post at one time and I’d like to think that I’m a little better editor than that. Finally, I found it. The picture that is in front of you. It seemed to sum up the whole day. No sadness. Celebration. Laughter. A huge smile.

In the coming days and weeks I’ll post a few more from this day.

My interest in Central City is partially driven by what happened on Ferret Street, which is now called “The New Ferret Street.” When I attended Loyola University, which is next door to Tulane, Ferret Street was sort of a no go zone. It was run down, crime ridden and pretty much abandoned. It was that way for many years. Then, somebody got the idea to gentrify it. I don’t know who. But, in the past few years the street has taken on a life of its own. It is home to a restaurant and cafe district with food ranging from upscale hot dogs, sushi, hamburgers, po’boys to fine Italian cooking and even donuts. There are new businesses scattered along that corridor. I wouldn’t say that it’s a destination stop quite yet. But, it could be.

The same thinking is driving the development in Central City. There are many differences, not the least being that Central City is a huge piece of land that is actually divided into very different neighborhoods. Oh yeah. Nobody seems to agree on what the actual boundaries are. The city says one thing. Traditional map makers say another. Residents say a third. That said, the likely area for a Ferret Street-like development would be Oretha Castle Halley Boulevard — also know as Dryades to the older generation. Money seems to be pouring into the location.

That’s a little history, My picture was made on Ferret Street, just after dinner. Yeah. I’m one of those. Cameras are with me always. People get used to it. I did.