Colorful, Laskowitzpictures.com, Photographs, Photography, Pictures, Ray Laskowitz
Comments 26

Ice Divas


All happiness.

Ice Divas. They walked with Keeping’ It Real.

They are a neighborhood krewe. Some have left the city. Some came back. Came home. From places like Portland. Oregon. They came to be part of this. I suppose that’s what we do. Because this stuff gets in our blood. We come back. Even if we live some place else.

Truth be told, I’ve been thinking about leaving New Orleans. As I get older, I’m less willing to deal with “New Orleans Stuff.”

The out of control violent crime rate scares the hell out of me. I’m pretty good on the streets. I have a good set inner alarm bells. I can defend myself. To a point. But, you can’t defend yourself from the randomness of the crimes that are happening here. It’s hard to defend yourself from a 12-year-old boy holding a gun. A kid who has no idea of what it means to take a life. Or, who has had a long enough life to value his own life. Or, anybody else’s.

There is the gentrification. The things I like most about the city may not be sustainable. Housing costs are rising as fast as they possibly can. Many of the people you see in these pictures — social clubs, musicians, Mardi Gras Indians — can no longer afford to live here. Often, they live some place else and come back for their event. Or, for Mardi Gras.

Our roads. Our streets. Sheesh. I laugh when somebody posts a picture of a pot hole in Los Angeles or San Francisco and complains about it. I think to myself, “You call THAT a pot hole?” I thought about doing a book called “The Potholes of New Orleans.” I realized it would never be completed. I could work on it every day of my life and the potholes would go on forever. FEMA finally offered the city billions of dollars to repair all the streets. Sounds good, yes? If this current presidential administration allows the repairs to continue, my neighborhood streets won’t even be started until 2035. Right.

The last straw. After almost four years of construction on our Uptown main cross streets, some of it is coming to an end. Mardi Gras parades actually rolled were they were supposed to go this year.

That’s good. Yeah. For about a minute.

Now the streets around my neighborhood are being closed for the same kind of construction. Aside from the normal inconveniences, that means additional dust, mud, pooled water, traffic.

I give up.

I bet you didn’t think such a happy picture was going to bring up such a miserable topic.

Well.

It’s because I realized that I’m going to miss this stuff. I’m going to miss almost weekly second line parades. I’m going to miss my brother and sister photographers. I’ll miss our brand of music. I’ll miss the food. I’ll miss the chaos. And, as much as I hate to admit it, I’ll miss the ability to say, “I think I’ll go to the Quarter tonight and make a few pictures.” You know, people pay a lot of money to travel here, to stay in a hotel and eat our food. To wander around the French Quarter…

The picture. As usual, it’s pretty much just f 5.6 and be there. Being there is the thing. As National Geographic photographer Jim Richardson once said, “If you want better pictures stand in front of better stuff.” After many, many years of photography I have a sense of where to be. Where to stand. How to be. And, most importantly, when to get out-of-the-way.

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26 Comments

  1. I know I have to go too, once everything I’m doing is done. There are always pictures to take here, yes. I don’t find that so easy in some other places.

      • Yes I did. The longer I am here the less safe I feel, like playing the odds. That is beginning to push me a bit in spite of what we were talking about, the advantages for me, staying. It’s not supposed to be easy, I guess. Easy would be feeling safe, walking in Holy Cross, my own neighborhood.

      • I understand. Once, I would have said that it is your neighborhood — and, it was — but no longer. The violence has been redistributed everywhere. At all times of day. We have private security in our neighborhood and that helps a little. But, still… and, those odds are the same reason I don’t photograph as much these days.

      • Even that depends. But, since tourism is really our only industry security is heavy and if the press conference today is any indication, it’s getting stronger.

  2. The people of your area know how to celebrate and throw a party. Great pic of the Ice Diva. Wish I would have given you the heads up about a Cincinnati dance team that was in one of the parades … oh well … maybe next time. Then again, you may not be there. Although I may not understand your frustration, I felt it in your words.

    • Thank you, Frank. It seems like all we do is throw parties. Rachel, the person in the picture, is actually one of the Krewe of Ice Divas. She also lives in Portland, Orgeron, but comes back every year for this second line.

      I think the folks from Cincinnati were in a Mardi Gras parade, which is different from this one. I probably could have found them if I knew which parade.

      Oh, I’m not staying much longer. For me, it’s become pretty much unlivable.

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