Author: Ray Laskowitz

Looking at the Scene


Where to start? Like this. I suppose. For me, Mardi Gras has been good. I’m happy to be out there. I’m happy with my pictures. The neighborhood from which I like to work has been wonderful. People are happy. Celebrating. Smiling. You can see that energy in my little portfolio of pictures. But. This has been a very rough season. There have been five shootings along the parade route. One guy got shot because someone had a gun in his pants, used the port-a-potty to do what he needed to do, pulled his pants down and accidentally shot someone standing nearby in the stomach. This number does not count all the shootings in various parts of the city. If this keeps up, we are set to break the shooting and murder records since before I returned after the storm. Huh? Of course that’s not all. The incident that made international news occurred a few hours later. Some guy decided he needed to drink all the liquor that he could hold. He drove down the street, weaving …

Bits of Bands


Marching bands. Some say they are one of the best parts of a Mardi Gras parade. I’m not sure about that. But, you know how much I like them. I spend a lot of time making pictures of the bands. Their instruments. A lot of little details. In another life I might have been a musician. As it is, I can’t play a note. Or, perhaps it’s just the bright and shiny objects. Like everybody else, I’m attracted to bling. As you know, I like reflections of stuff. The pictures. This is why I go to the start of the parades. I can walk around and just make pictures. I can show you things that many people don’t ever get the chance to see. That’s one of my biggest jobs. To be a witness. Maybe I should go back to doing that a little more seriously. Seems like we are heading into interesting times. The worst Chinese curse. A little housekeeping. Something weird happened yesterday. I managed to make a “butt” post. I have no idea …

Rattle and Hum


Ebb and flow. A couple of the people who make Mardi Gras so much fun. And, a lot of colorful bling that makes Mardi Gras, well, so much fun. I was going to group pictures by subject. But, I realized that wouldn’t give you the sense of it all. For instance, in the course of my parade work I make a lot of pretty good portraits that do not look like they have anything to do with Mardi Gras. You’ll see those later. After Mardi Gras. Throughout March. For now, enjoy these. Open the small pictures. Plenty to see. Lots more to come. More and more and more.  

The Spirit of Things


This is all you need to know. About anything. This is Mardi Gras. In kind. And, in spirit. A son pushing has dad. A krewe reaching out to give them beads. A feeling of oneness. Togetherness. This moment. This place. This time. As you know, I don’t chimp. I never look at my pictures while I’m working in the field. With this moment, what would it have mattered if I looked and saw that I missed it? It’s never going to happen again. Luckily, I didn’t. I nailed it. I didn’t know that I actually made the picture until I opened up my downloads. There it was. Enjoy it. I know I do. I won’t pass that way again. Ever. You know about the picture. You don’t know about the entire shoot. I had a night for the ages.  I followed my usual routine. I arrived early. Had a coffee in a local shop. Started to look around. I was in my zone. For the entire time. I don’t know why. I just was. I don’t …

Beads


Beads. They are everywhere. This time of year. And, most times of the year. These are fresh. Bright. Shiny. New. As the year rolls on they will begin to fade. If they manage to hang around for a couple of years they will show their true colors. Black. Gray. White. For now, they sparkle in the sunlight. Gleam at dusk. Reflect light in the dark. They are ubiquitous. Parade goers fight for them. In the Quarter some people — tourists — display body parts. Some people — locals — hoard them from year to year. It’s amazing what some people will do for a string of beads that costs about 8 cents to produce and that can be bought at any shop that sells Mardi Gras stuff for about $3.00 a dozen. After, retail pricing and seasonal markups. These pictures. As I do often, I made them on the way to some place else. One the way to the parades, to be specific. In low afternoon light. The beads hanging from the tree branches are on their …

Mostly Music


More Mardi Gras. Forever. Or, so it may seem. I thought that on off days I would organize posts by category. So. Music. Floats. Spectators. Details. And, so on. There still isn’t enough time in the week to show you everything, so I’ll do a wrapper during the week after Mardi Gras Day. These are a few moments from the music category. A guy I know says that the bands are the best part of the parade. I’m pretty sure that he’s right. Everything is photogenic at one of these things, but the marching bands always draw my eye. As we move into the high point of parade season, the big schools start coming out. Photographing them while they are rehearsing is something I’ve been doing for a long time. It gets really good when two bands face off and challenge each other. A battle of the bands. On the street. In full dress. That’s one big, huge reason why I work the start of a parade. You will not see this along the parade route as the …

Krewe of Barkus. Woof.


  The Krewe of Barkus. This post wrote itself. Woof, woof, woof, bark, bark, bark, growl, growl, growl, grrr, grrr, grr. See what I mean? Anyway. The Krewe of Barkus. It’s about dogs. It’s their parade. But, it’s also about their humans. It’s also our parade too. It’s hard to know who is masked better. The dogs? Or, the humans? Like everything in New Orleans, this parade has grown. I remember when it was a small walk, sparsely attended and you could pretty much walk with the parade. Now? Huge crowds everywhere. Pick a spot and you are pretty much stuck. It’s all in good fun. No. Strike that. All in great fun. Best of all. Nobody got shot. Which is something I’ll get to in a minute. After I talk about the pictures. The pictures. This is about me as much as anything. Dogs are hard to photograph. The dogs around this place move when they know that the shutter button is being pressed. But, despite my rapidly advancing age, I still have pretty good hand — …