A little crowded.
A little crowded.

A visit to my vault.

I’m a little jammed up so I thought I might show you a few pictures from the past. I came to this picture because I was looking for an image for another project. You know how it goes. I don’t care how well your back-end systems are organized with key words, meta data and such, things just pop up sometimes. Usually, for the better.

I’ll tell you a secret. No matter what the picture,  usually I don’t look at my own older work. I bought a pretty nice scanner so I could scan old black and white negatives. Do you know how many pictures I scanned? In about a year? Maybe 25. Do you know why? I don’t usually like the pictures. I figure my best work is somewhere out there in the future, not back in the dimly lit, dusty  past.

Generally speaking, the memories of taking them are better than the pictures themselves.


This is the second line and jazz funeral for Uncle Lionel Batiste. According to the local newspaper, he passed on July 8, 2012. He was 80 years old. His wake was held on July 19. That’s when I should have taken this picture. But, according to my day books, the skies opened up and that rain poured down in buckets. So, the second line was postponed until July 23. At least that’s what the metadata attached to the picture tells me.

For me, actually getting there was a really good trick. We were on the road for about 160 days that year. I was home for the wake, left again and flew back for one day from somewhere in Texas. In fact, if memory serves, I arrived in the morning and left at night.

Sometimes getting there is the hardest part of taking a picture.

The picture. My memory isn’t often all that good. But, my visual memory is very, very good. And, that alerts the rest of my memory. I remember this… I worked the streets and made some fairly good pictures. But, I couldn’t get the right picture. So, I decided to walk up the on ramp to Interstate 10 and shoot from there. I was the first one. Pretty soon, a lot of other people — photographers and spectators — thought that was a pretty good idea so they joined me. When the Louisiana State Troopers saw this, they used their heads. Rather than make us move or issue tickets, they just closed the ramp.

The other thing that I remember? Even though there was no rain, those umbrellas weren’t just for show. It was hot. So hot. And, goopy humid. It was Mid-July in Southeast Louisiana and the direct sun was just radiating heat off all that concrete.

Not only is getting there sometimes the hardest part of taking the picture, but often times staying there is hard too.


7 Replies to “The Vault. One.”

  1. First thing I thought of when I saw your photo was “Oh what beautiful umbrellas.” Now that I know it was a funeral, I noticed the somber faces.
    Me? I enjoy looking at my old photos. They bring back memories.
    Thanks for sharing,


    1. Oh Rosie, in New Orleans we celebrate life even in death. If people look unhappy it’s because they are hot, sweaty and packed like sardines . I doubt very many of them are sad. 🙂


      1. What I mean is we must do whatever it takes to get what we need to do done. Even if we have to go extra mile. Sorry there was error there, it supposed to be price instead of prize. Thanks

        Liked by 1 person

  2. A picture is worth a thousand words; past , present and future. I have a huge log of negatives and slides to scan. My long-term memory is no so good. I look forward to remembering those times and possibly rediscovering a few Jews.


    1. I think I approach it differently. I doubt that there is much good in those files since a lot of the images were simply ways of exploring the scene. Maybe there is something in the first 15 years when I mostly made pictures everyday for the various newspapers and wire service for which I worked, but even then Im not so sure.


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