World of Strange Design

The Baby Dolls lead it.

River gets faster not slower.

A Jimmy Buffett line if there ever was one.

I made this photograph on the Ninth Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina making landfall in Buras, Louisiana. All that followed in the next weeks and months is history. In about two months, we’ll be acknowledging the 15th anniversary of that hellhound.

So much has changed.

Change is the only constant, they say. They are right. We are currently dealing with another hellhound. This one is harder to photograph. It’s invisible to the naked eye. It’s more deadly. There is no place to run. We don’t know when it will end. Or, if it will end.

Really, all we can do is deal with it. We can learn to manage ourselves. Today, I had my first haircut since mid-February. I needed it. It was also the second day my salon was open. I had to think about it. Still, I went. We were all masked up. There was sanitizer in an auto-dispensing machine. For those customers without masks there were free masks.

When I was searching my archives for a suitable picture, I thought about all of that. Even though we were honoring the storm dead, we were also celebrating life. As usual I just made my way to the front of what was forming up to be a second line.

The three men directly behind The Dancing Woman of New Orleans — Julie — are unmasked Mardi Gras Indians. Or, as they prefer, Black Masking Indians. I probably should get you used to reading that. Eventually, they lead a second line through out The Lower 9th Ward. It pretty much was a day of celebration after first mourning the people who died when the levees broke.

That’s also our shared history.

Stay safe. Enjoy every bowl of red beans and rice.

Published by Ray Laskowitz

I am a visual storyteller. I've been making pictures for some 40 years. I travel the world in search of the right image. in the right light at the right time. You can reach me by phone at 505.280.4686, or by email at or For a quick look at my work please go to

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