Central City Street Festival
Central City Street Festival

Lists. I may just be more aware of it this year. It seems that just about everybody is publishing a “Best of 2014” list. It could be anything. In fact, it is anything. Music. Movies. Books. Travel destinations. Bucket lists. Restaurants. Recipes. You name it and somebody has a best of list.

That’s cool. For them.

All art is autobiographical and the viewer, reader, listener, eater… whatever makes meaning of it. Meaning based on his or her’s life experience. That said, all of these lists are personal. I don’t care if you write for The New Yorker Magazine, Rolling Stone or “Fred’s Blog.” Best of lists are personal unless they are data-driven. You know. Something like, “Top ten selling books of 2014.” There is something you can measure. Sales. The rest? Opinions.

So, I thought to myself — that’s really a dangerous thing to do — what can I do differently? I thought of musician Joni Mitchell. In 1996 she released a two album set. “Hits” and “Misses.” You could buy one, or both. Not like the never-ending collection of boxed sets released today. I like the misses concept. Something that didn’t quite work. A failed experiment. Or, a non-seller. Then I saw that my blogging colleague over at “Cooking with a Wallflower” decided to publish “2014 Recipe Disasters” on her blog. Normally, her recipes are right on. They are fun and easy to make. But, we all experiment and with that we sometimes fail. She is on the right track. Ah ha. That moment. Ah ha.

So I decided to work back through my 2014 leftovers. Out takes.

That’s what these pictures are. Leftovers. You may have seen something similar. Or, you may have seen a picture that was taken in the same place. Or a nearly the same time. But, for some reason I decided not to publish these particular ten pictures on Storyteller. To me, they represent the breadth of my work over 2014. I photographed a lot of stuff. And, that doesn’t even to begin to account for the commercial, corporate and editorial work I did to pay the bills and buy kibbles for the dogs. More importantly, I experimented a lot. And… failed a lot. That’s good. Can’t grown without failure.

As far as turning the page with the change of the year goes… well, a lot of people seem excited about that. Not me. Not so much. Once, when musician Neil Young was playing a concert, a fan yelled out “the songs sound the same.” Neil Young replied, “It’s all one song.”

If you think that you need to make changes with the coming of the new year, make them. Keep in mind, it’s just a continuum.

Happy New Year.

Oh yeah. Enjoy the misses.

Levee at Lake Ponchartrain
Levee at Lake Ponchartrain
Getty ready for a second line parade.
Getty ready for a second line parade.
Crescent City Connection in the rain.
Crescent City Connection in the rain.
Second line parade.
Second line parade.
Train track.
Train track.
Halloween Parade
Halloween Parade
Tunnels and cannon battery.
Tunnels and cannon battery.
Have a bike ride.
Have a bike ride.
New Orleans skyline.
New Orleans skyline.


Lady Rollers
Lady Rollers

Somebody in this house said something like, “Didn’t we see The Lady Rollers on Sunday?” Yes. “Why did you only publish a picture of a band member?”

Uh. Doooooooh!

So. Here are a few portraits of the ladies in question. They are from various social aid & pleasure clubs, marching groups and krewes. The Pussyfooters. The Partyline Steppers.  And, the Rollers, themselves.

That is all.

Lady Rollers
Lady Rollers
Lady Rollers.
Lady Rollers.


Reflections in a trumpet player's eyes.
Reflections in a trumpet player’s eyes.

Another Sunday, another second line. This one was The Lady Rollers. Hot 8 Brass Band played the songs. Big loud band. They are fairly big time. You can tell the difference. They are a touring band. They record. They’ve been nominated for a Grammy. That’s pretty cool. The parade was made up of The Lady Rollers, members of the Pussyfoot Stompers, the Yakamein Lady (that’s another story) and Poppy Tooker. There were more, but…

Second lines are part of “da cultcha.” You’ve seen a lot of my pictures in the past. I’ve been photographing these things for years. We’ll not that many years. Maybe three. But, I’m getting sort of burnt out. I think some of the paraders are getting burnt out too. Some parades are huge, usually when they are part of a jazz funeral for some local notable. Many seem to be getting smaller. They are expensive for the krewes, gangs and social clubs to put on. Their members are getting older. Younger people are not as attracted to them as they were in the past.

For me, it was a real effort to even want to go to this one. If we didn’t have guests who wanted to see a second line, I doubt I’d have made it. At least we all had a good walk. I kept walking with the parade for far longer than I originally planned. So did the rest of my household. When we started back, I realized we had a three-mile walk ahead of us. Let’s see. Simple math here. 3 + 3. Hmmm. 6? Yeah, that’s it. 6. Six miles total. At least we aren’t lying around during our Christmas break. That’s something.

The picture. Oh, that’s easy. F8 and be there. But, look for details. I’m not sure who exactly his sunglasses are reflecting, but that’s pretty interesting. Yes?

A little housekeeping. I have a troll/stalker. What happened was this. She like one of my posts. Actually, she liked a lot of them. As I did with most of you, I went to her blog and said thank you. Seems reasonable to me. She sent me a private email pretty much attacking me for even thanking her in a long string of words that don’t make sense. I replied very simply as I do in these situations, “I won’t bother you again.” Then it started. She has become in turns; mean, nasty, threatening. All I can tell you is that she’s young, she’s angry and maybe a bit delusional claiming that WordPress is part of a big conspiracy. My point in telling you this, is just be aware and be safe. Yes. I alerted WordPress and their certification site, Gravatar. If they can’t stop her — and they might not be able to — I’ll have to let the Feds know. Local police can’t do much. As you know I’m pretty protective of those for whom I care. I have no idea if this young woman is just noisy and frustrated or if it’s something more. Since I’m pretty much out there on the internet, I prefer to err on the side of caution.


St. Alphonsus.
St. Alphonsus.

So when I finished the last line
I put the book by itself on the shelf
With my heart in it
Never wasting time takin’ the right way home
I know I’m never wastin’ time
Findin’ the right way home

— Jimmy Buffett from Incommunicado (Coconut Telegraph) Copyright 1981

Second line to photograph in a little bit. That’s a good thing. I need to work today. You know why.

A guy from the board of this church — St. Alphonsus — like yesterday’s post enough to link it and to ask me to come back. For a visit. For to maybe take more pictures. That I should become a “Friend of St. Alphonsus.” Maybe I should. We’ll see. At any rate, I thought that he’d see a few more pictures from his church. That’s about the least I can do. Besides, I had fun taking them. The volunteers who tell people about the church were very nice to me. They let me go wherever I want. I had even more fun in post production, making them be what I wanted them to be. I think that you’ll like them too. Some of you may recall earlier versions of a couple of these pictures. I think reworking them changes them. Makes them new. And, you know what they say. It’s all in the details.

St. Alphonsus.
St. Alphonsus.
St. Alphonsus
St. Alphonsus
St. Alphonsus.
St. Alphonsus.
St. Alphonsus
St. Alphonsus
St. Alphonsus..
St. Alphonsus..


St Alphonsus Church
St Alphonsus Church

Thinking of a series of dreams
Where the time and the tempo fly
And there’s no exit in any direction
’Cept the one that you can’t see with your eyes
Wasn’t making any great connection
Wasn’t falling for any intricate scheme
Nothing that would pass inspection
Just thinking of a series of dreams

— Bob Dylan (Oh Mercy), Copyright 1991, Special Rider

Back to the scene of other pictures.

St. Alphonsus Church, once part of a community of churches. This, St. Mary’s Assumption Church and Bon Secour. Once a group of three churches. One for the Irish, One for the Germans and one for the French. Today, Bon Secour is gone having been dismantled years ago, St. Alphonsus was deconsecrated years ago, but seems to be slowly being restored for community use. Even in this picture, you can see a man practicing organ playing if you look far to the right and near the bottom. And, St. Mary’s Assumption which is still used today for Mass and sacraments. Oh… this church was built in 1843. It’s survived a lot, including Hurricane Katrina almost a decade ago. It looks pretty good from a distance, but the closer you get the more you see that cracks and broken bits.


Big 9 Second Land Musicians
Big 9 Second Land Musicians

“Thunder on the mountain, fires on the moon
There’s a ruckus in the alley and the sun will be here soon
Today’s the day, gonna grab my trumpet and blow
Well, there’s hot stuff here and it’s everywhere I go.”

— Thunder on The Mountain, Bob Dylan. From the album Modern Times. August 2006

A couple of things. Quickly.

I’m sort of taking a break in place for the rest of the holidays. Yes. I’m publishing Storyteller. No. I’m not writing as much as I normally do.

I changed a word in this verse by Dylan. I replaced trombone with the word trumpet, for obvious reasons. I reckon if he change the words around on stage in mid-song, I can change them to match the picture. A little.

Lot’s of new projects for next year. I’ll tell you about them. Next year. In a few days.


Storm Light.
Storm Light.

I know. Not exactly a Christmas picture. We had huge storm move through the area. It was so bad to the north of us, in Mississippi, that four people lost their lives. The rain came down in buckets, and for a long time. Today, dawn broke with clear blue skies and very nice crisp air. Temperatures are where they are supposed to be for the day before Christmas. Cold to cool.

Our plan is to go to the bonfires along the levee. They guide Papa Noel to New Orleans. But, we are feeling lazy. We’ll see. There is a lot to be said for staying in our neighborhood.

If we do go, we may not go to our usual place upriver in Lutcher. We have a couple of other options. There are the bonfires in a little town called Garyville, where they are being lighted for Papa Noel and to honor the region’s cancer victims. The other is across the river on the Westbank in a teeny, tiny town called Lucy. The town’s residents are lighting one bonfire. The wood has been constructed in a “hands up” shape. Protest is protest. But, Christmas is about coming together. It’s about peace. Maybe we all need to step back and think about what we are really doing. Maybe we should stop doing it. Maybe we should stop yelling at each other and being enraged. Maybe we should start working together. I dunno. Remember, this isn’t a political blog. I really have no opinion other than to work on the things I can actually do.

Yes. I’m a little early. One little Christmas present to myself is to actually turn the big machine off until… maybe the day after Christmas. I can still communicate. But, I really don’t want to work.

And with that, to all a good night. Have a wonderful holiday.

Merry Christmas.

 


A second line portrait.
A second line portrait.

Whew. Indeed.

We had a little power failure.

Living down here in swampville can get weird at times. For the winter solstice the temperature was around 78 degrees as a high. Today, about the same thing. Very humid. So humid that the ground is wet. But, there is no rain. However, the temperatures will drop to their low 50s and mid 40s tomorrow and Christmas Day. Those are the highs.

What does that mean? If a very warm front is being chased by a very cold front we get really high violent winds. How high? How violent? Well, for a while, a couple of places — us included — were advised to seek shelter from a tornado. “Come in she said. I’ll give you shelter from the storm.” Who said that?

Anyway. We didn’t have a tornado and the warnings have been lifted. It would be very rare in New Orleans since we have the gulf in front of us to settle things down. Unless it happens in the summer. Then we get Hurricane Katrina. But, they do occur on the Northshore… the other side of Lake Ponchartrain. We just lost power for a while. A short while.

The picture. Hmmmm. I started working on the images I made at Sunday’s second line. They are all very colorful. Then I looked at this one. It just looks and feels old. It’s probably the hat that helps it along. So, I started tinkering in black and white. I got close, but the power failed and I lost it because it was still in process. I forgot what I did. I was trying to dirty it up a bit and make it look really funky. This is my original try. I emailed this and the color original to a friend of mine and asked him which one. He liked them both. Thanks.