New Orleans Series: Beads

Mardi Gras beads on a fence.

A new series. About New Orleans.

If you recall, I discovered a lot of “missing” photo files. Some were hidden under terrible collection names like “New Orleans General.”

That’s no help.

In my own defense, some of those collections were made 15 years ago. Along with most photographers, I hadn’t yet realized the importance of creating a good working SEO.  For me, that is due in part to how I archive my pictures. I never keep them in one place. That was brought about by image losses caused by Hurricane Katrina. Instead, they live on portable hard drives and on a cloud. By cloud, I mean somebody else’s server.

Today, I keep my images filed with far more complete EXIF information, more complete captioning, and with a consistent labelling system. I’m pretty sure there will be no more “lost” images. Notice my phrase. “I’m pretty sure.” To be any more sure is like saying never. You know what they say about that. “Never say never.”


This is a new picture. It was never lost. I made it walking to a second line. I saw it. I stopped. How could I not take this picture?

There is a broader discussion happen right now about all those Mardi Gras beads. In fact, I’m going to a panel discussion about just that and how Mardi Gras has evolved over the years. The crux of the discussion is about cheap plastic beads that are made in China.

Should various krewe keep using them? Should they be banned in favor of other more krewe centric throws and a few better, glass beads?

To me there is almost no good reason for throwing the cheap beads. They plug up our sewers. After the last big flood the city went all out to clean out the traps and the sewer connections. The workers pulled out 34 tons of beads. That’s a lot of beads. That’s a public issue.

There are personal ones as well. We have tubs of beads stashed in a closet. We never look at them. We don’t even think about them. Yet, they accumulate year after year. We used to take them to a workshop to be recycled. They don’t accept them anymore because there are too many of them. Sometimes, I use them as the base to illegally fill a pothole. Stuff a tub of beads into the pothole, step on them to make sure they won’t sink and fill the top with this asphalt-like stuff you can buy in bags from Lowes or Home Depot.

Oh, the illegal thing? That’s what the city says. If our neighborhood NOPD see you, they pull up, park their car to block you from oncoming traffic and turn their red and blue lights on. In return we give them water, coffee or something freshly baked. They get it. Did I mention that we like our street cops? They rarely over react.



I’m going to publish “found” pictures for about the next week or so. I’ll take a break for Halloween and the things I saw.  I’ll start that a week before the big spooky day. I’ll come back to this series immediately after that.

How’s that?


Leave a Comment

  1. Love this shot – a lost and found gem! It’s cool rediscovering passed over composition like this one. I need to go back and metatag my older stuff too. On the beads – improve quality reduce quantity. Cheers!


  2. 34 tons of beads in the sewers? That’s incredible! I’m a little intrigued with the dialogue about the beads and whether or not to move away from the cheap plastics. So many things to consider!

    Liked by 1 person

    • That is amazing. We’ve had so many problems with the the pipes that every step has been reported. I have no idea how many years that amounts to. Back about 20 years ago is when the trend toward cheap plastic beads started. Prior to that, really nice glass beads were thrown. They were made in the Czech Republic as opposed to China. However they were made, they didn’t break when they hit the ground. They were more expensive so fewer were thrown. If you were lucky enough to catch them you kept them. We have about five strands.


  3. Beautiful picture, amazing shot. It takes my mind on a trip, down the memory lane all the way to Durban, KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa- where my grand mother had a house with a back yard that looked just like that. May her soul rest in eternal peace. And her memories live through pictures.

    Liked by 1 person

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