Sometimes, I have to eat my words. Many of you contacted me. You don’t want me to end Storyteller. Amazingly, you like it. I don’t want to end it either. Sometimes I get a little burnt out and want a break. But, right now I’m pretty energized. I’d like to keep going.

So, I’m going to experiment a little this weekend.

The WordPress desktop, as it currently stands, is horrible. I can’t see how the page looks before I schedule it. You can’t see the captions. But, they are there when you open the picture. One of you said that you could see the post via Facebook. And, Twitter. I know that too. I’ve tested it. But, that’s not the issue. It’s about production. Not, how you view it. Yes. What you see is very, very important. But, my intent is also important. One without the other doesn’t work. And, there is no spell check. At least that I can find. If you know one thing about me, it’s this. I’m a horrible typist. I don’t need spell check to help my spelling. I need it to check my typos.

These pictures. I promised you prettier views of places in New Orleans that you can go when you stop by for a visit. I’ve been doing that for the past few days. Some are older. Some are reworked. But, they give you an idea of the city.

The big picture is Magazine Street. The longest shopping street in the country. It’s old, funky and very local. Only a couple of national chain stores are located anywhere on the street. One is Whole Foods. I doubt that you are coming to New Orleans to see that, even if the very first Whole Foods was opened here.

The picture to the right is a commercial second line, playing in the French Quarter. I know, I know. I keep telling you to get out of the Quarter, but you also so should see that you can have fun without drinking all the booze on Bourbon Street.

Below that is a picture that I call Mardi Gras Flowers.

The river at sunset is really a bayou. Bayou St. John. If you paddle towards the sunset, you’ll pass City Park, a golf course and eventually you will come to Lake Ponchartrain.

Next to that picture is St. Louis Cathedral that I made into a dreamy state.

Next to that is the old building on Royal Street That I photographed during the blue hour.

And finally, a classic view of Decatur Street, Jackson Square and St. Louis Cathedral that was taken at dusk during a super moon. The moon is over my shoulder so that it lights everything, but you don’t see it.

New Orleans is full of churches. All kinds of churches. But, mainly Catholic churches. Many of them have been closed, or are for sale. As the population of the city declined there is no need for so many churches. Then, along came Katrina and the population dropped substantially. So, even more churches were closed. They are all maintained and look pretty good. As you know, I like to poke around old and abandoned things. I was wandering around and I found this one. It is St. Mary’s Assumption Church. It was built in 1860, for a growing German population in the Lower Garden District of  New Orleans, across the street from St. Alphonsus Church which was built the same time for a swelling Irish Population. Sheesh. These people never get together. St. Mary’s Assumption was damaged by Hurricane Betsy and almost torn down and more heavily damaged by Katrina. Yet, it still stands. As an aside, writer Anne Rice renewed her wedding vows there. And, after I “discovered” this place, I was talking with a friend’s father who told me that this was his family’s church and that he attended school there.

A note about my discoveries. I find places that have been around for decades or centuries. I think I’ve actually found some unknown thing. Silly me.

So. The picture. It was a pretty simple exposure on which I used a lot of post production tools. Which ones. I forget. Hard to keep these things straight.

Well. An orange shirt anyway. This is an image from a second line parade in Central City. It was a big one. Six divisions. Stretched for blocks. Big enough that even The Rebirth Brass Band Marched. Sheesh. They won a Grammy last year. But. These things are very special. And, very, very traditional. For me, I suppose everybody is getting used to me and how I work. I like to work close. Up close and personal. With wide lenses. How close? The man in this picture stumbled. He steadied himself  by placing his hand on my shoulder. They used to push me out-of-the-way. That is their right. Now, they help me out. That is also their right. 

Ah yes. One night in The French Quarter.One night on Bourbon Street. Bourbon Street. The street where music never stops. The girls always beckon. If you pay for them. The place where beer and alcohol flows like water. It smells like it. The place where a lot of people show their true selves. It is probably my least favorite street in The Quarter. But, I go there. Sometimes. Looking for pictures. Like this one. Not much to it. See the picture. Point the camera. Press the button. Shoot. 

In yesterday’s post I talked a little bit about the small St. Bernard Parish town of Algiers. It is really known for two things. Maybe more. But, the two that come to mind is that’s where the Domino sugar plant is located. You can’t miss it. Its smokestacks tower about everything. The second landmark is a little less known, but probably even more interesting. It’s called The Le Beau Mansion. And, guess what? It’s haunted. Well, so they say. If you Google around, you can find all sorts of comments about that. Apparently, slaves where badly mistreated there. There were at least two hangings on the second floor. And, until the cupola was boarded up, many nearby residents claimed that they could lights turn on and off at that highest point.

Historically, here’s a little bit of what I know. It was built in 1854. Until 1854, the land on which it was built was called the Eclipse Plantation. It was a mansion, a hotel and even later, a gambling house. It is built in a district of Arabi called Friscoville, which was laid out on land that was originally belonged to the plantation. Historians call it “the last grand River Road Plantation near New Orleans.” It is now owned by the Joseph Meraux Estate. That’s a whole other story. But, The Meraux Estate is one of the biggest landowners in Southeast Louisiana. They even own one of the oldest buildings in the city. The Jean Lafitte Blacksmith Shop in The French Quarter. It is now a bar.

This picture. Well, just about everybody who has passed through the area has photographed it. I haven’t seen much night work. So I will eventually go back to do that. But, this image, photographed through the summer growth during the day is my attempt to do something a little different. 

I was poking around in Arabi. No, not in The Middle East. It’s a little town across the border from Orleans Parish, located in St. Bernard Parish. For the most part, it’s a pretty little place. The houses look like they belong in New Orleans. And, they are just about as old as the ones found there. But, every now and then you run into something like this. I’m sure the palm trees were bent and broken by Hurricane Isaac. But, it doesn’t look like the house as been lived in, or at least worked on, since Hurricane Katrina. That was seven years ago. It still has its inspection “X” on it. Those were left by early responders as they went from door-to-door looking for anything, or anyone still inside — living or dead.  MD means some officers from the Maryland state troopers was there. The zeros mean that no human or animal bodies were found inside. There are also two condemnation notices attached to the house. I have no idea how badly this is damaged, but those two notices mean it will be torn down soon since the house is blighted and abandoned. Oh. Somebody thought that it would be a good idea to flood the place as well. The fire plug is just gushing water.

The picture. I actually did a lot of post production on it. Between the environmental conditions and the way I photographed, my picture had a very Disneyland-like quality to it. That didn’t really speak to what I saw, so off to work I went. This was actually done using OnOne’s Perfect Effects. 

Yesterday, I wrote a little about Freret Street and its relationship to Central City. I thought I’d give you all a quick look at the street and some of the things that you can see there. It’s an overview and I’m sure I’ve missed something that somebody might think is important, but these kinds of shoots are always a work in progress.

Sometimes when I photograph events I use them to document more than the event itself. I look for little slices of life that might — I emphasize that — tell me something about the people who are taking part in the vent, or the location or just something about the parade, or second line, or… whatever. Usually, it’s nothing more than a fleeting moment.  Since I can’t be everywhere, this usually works best if I let the subject come to me. I tend to see better. I’m not worried about tripping over someone or something.

So. This picture was made at a second line parade in Central City. Yeah. I know. Where else? The man in the hat is part of a band. He happened to see a friend — the man in the foreground — and they were talking.

Technically? The usual. F8 and be there. A little post production work in Snapseed on my i-Pad. I’m really starting to like that method of post. It’s portable and as long as it’s for web work or something very small., it entirely appropriate. Now that Google bought Nik, who makes Snapseed, we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.

I wrote in some earlier post that one of the reasons Central City seems to have some renewed value to developers is because it is a ten minutes away from the Superdome. Er, The Mercedes Dome. That’s what it’s called since Saints owner Tome Benson sold the naming rights to The Louisiana Dome. Other people know it as the last shelter of refuge. But, that was seven years ago. That green squarish building on the right is where the basketball team plays. So, if you redevelop Central City you get a twofer.

A word or two about this picture. In order to make my point, I shot it with a long lens — a 200 mm — which compressed it some. You can tell this by looking at the house on the left. It is just a house, yet it looks as big as the arena. If that wasn’t enough, I just couldn’t leave well enough alone and I had to mess with it using Snapseed to sharpen a portion of the telephone lines and soften just about everything else. I’m not sure what point that makes. I often work that way.