Central City breakdown.

Broken down. Abandoned. Tagged. Left to rot.

I have a way of finding these places. Repeatedly. Usually on the way to someplace else. This place happens to be on a corner that I know well. Once I realized where I was, I decided to have a look to see if anything has changed.

Nothing has changed.

Ever since the doors have been boarded up with four ply sheets of wood, I doubt anybody has been in or out of it. Before that, everybody — even me — went inside to check it out. But that was back in 2011. Or, 2012.

Now?

Not so much. Although I think some of street types probably could find a way into the rat infested building. The building with stale air. Into the interior where almost anything of any kind of value has been removed. And, sold to the local junk dealers.

I didn’t even bother to try to go inside. What would be the point? I just photographed the most graphic side of it. I like the Super Fresh Meat Market sign. And, the rusted ladder. Or, fire escape.  Whichever.

I knew, when I made the picture, that I was going to work on it heavily in post to bring out its most forlorn features. I knew, too, that I was going to try to make it look like a charcoal drawing.

That’s it. It’s the internet-themed “Throwback Thursday.” So, I’ve thrown this one back. Into the street where it belongs.

There’s a lot of ways to throw something back.

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A hungry neighborhood.

One from the past. In Central City.

Looking at the picture now I see a lot of squares or boxes. Sort of like a rough Mondrian. Only different.

I think that I might have some new work tonight. I have choices. I can photograph the start of the Christmas season with a bonfire in Algiers across the Mississippi River, but still in New Orleans.

Or.

I can photograph the Krewe of Krampus. This is their second year. The parade is for bad kids at Christmas. Like me.

My problem is simple. They both start and finish at about the same time.

So.

I have to pick.

I’m inclined to work on Krampus because there are the big bonfires upriver on Christmas Eve. I know, I know. Christmas Eve. But, it’s fairly early in the evening and we can be back in time for revillion dinner. Maybe even midnight mass

Choices.

That makes me feel better. But, not that much better. These are events I enjoy. I’m not going to rush back to post. You will see some pictures, but not immediately. These are all holiday events. Family events. Family first.


Falling apart in Central City.

I saw this place on the way to the second line. I’ve seen it before. It just never quite looked so dramatic. And, I never stooped to make a picture. Even for a few minutes.

This time I did.

I photographed it at about 4pm in what was pretty bright sun. Not a great time. I decided right then and there that it would be the template for something else.

This is what I did.

Basically, I made a mess. I tinkered. I played. I went forward. I back tracked. I think that I turned a broken place into something spooky. I’m also thinking that without those fleur de lis on the fence this picture might not stand on its own.

I probably should go back at around dusk. Or, at least when there are heavy storm clouds blowing around. The problem with the dusk idea is that the neighborhood scares me a little bit. It’s one thing to be there when there are hundreds of people having a good time at a second line. It’s another to be out there on your own. With camera gear. You never know.

The more I look at this picture I think it would make a good album cover. I would have to square up the way I made it, and crop it some, but I could see one of our brass bands hanging out there.

Hmmm.

And, one more thing. It occurred to me what drew me to this place. Bad juju. This is a left over Katrina house. Today is August 29th. The 13th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina making landfall at Buras, Louisiana.

We try to forget this as we go about our daily business, but, as a friend tweeted, it’s in our DNA. I doubt that we’ll ever really forget.


A hungry neighborhood.

Chinese food. In Central City. Once. A long time ago.

Once it was a corner food store. Now, it’s just one of many abandoned buildings. I’m not sure of the condition. From the outside it looks like it’s falling down. Once you are inside, well you never know. It could be functional.

This picture is the by-product of the plans I told you about yesterday. As I stroll through my archives I find pictures. That you haven’t seen. That I’ve forgotten about. You may get a steady flow of them unless I actually go out and make some Christmas pictures. I should probably do that. The Avenue is really pretty this year. And, I have a couple of ideas.

That’s the important thing. Ideas.

Making a picture is often pretty easy. Figuring out what to photograph is the hard part. Or, as an old friend used to say, “Taking the picture is easy. Getting there is hard.”

If you read yesterday’s Storyteller, you know that I’m full of ideas. That’s good. It wouldn’t be so good if I was just sitting here and wondering… what to do, what to do, what to do?

The picture. I’ve probably passed this old store a hundred times. Finally, I had some pretty light. I made the picture. It was waiting for me. Yes. I enhanced it. That yellow sign was pretty faded. The work took a little masking. I haven’t done that in a while. But, it was fun. That’s another reason…


Dead pay phones and broken windows.

A slight change.

I actually went out looking for pictures. Admittedly, I had some errands to run near The Bywater. I used that to get me out and about. Away from the usual. Once upon a time, places like this used to be the usual. For me. Maybe, it’ll come back to me.

Or, not.

The picture. An abandoned pay phone and part of the building behind it. I made a normal picture. With a real camera. Then I did my tinkering and playing. On big boy software. On a big machine. This is the result.

Anyway, I was going to drop off some framed art for a juried show.

This juried show. I suppose for the next year, we are going to be all things Fats Domino. Not a bad thing to be. I just signed a petition to change Lee Circle — now that the statue of Robert I Lee is gone — into Domino Circle. Let’s see what happens.


 

 


New Mexican plains.

I’m not there yet. But, I will be.

I made this picture on New Mexico Route 43. I stopped because the abandoned buildings caught my eye. There was barbed wire fence and a lot of no trespassing signs. Normally, I don’t pay much attention. If somebody stops me I just speak in another language even if I don’t speak much of it. I look confused and that’s the end of it. This is one of those tips that I suggest you never try. Me? I’m fearless with a camera.

For some reason I decided to heed the warning sign. I can’t remember why. Probably, I caught a little motion out of the corner of my eye. And, my warning bells went off.

Anyway.

This is a newer, more gentle way of processing. I’m told it’s more contemporary. When was the last time I ever did something because it was new and contemporary? I don’t care about those things. I’m just experimenting.


The real spooky deal.

It’s gotten away from me. A little.

With all the news; hurricanes, mass shootings, fires, floods and stupidity from the White House, I seem to have forgotten one of the most important seasons in New Orleans.

So, let’s get back to it.

Halloween. When I remember.

This is the real deal. It isn’t a house decorated for the season.  It’s a house that isn’t quite abandoned, but is getting very close to it. The door is locked. Yes. I tried it. The window covering is in tatters. It was too dark to see inside. Who knows what is lurking inside. A ghost. A vampire. A ghoul. The monster who lives in your dreams. Or, the monster who lives in washington, D.C.

I swore I wouldn’t do that today.

Instead, I promised myself that I’d do a little publicity. There is a new vampire book out there. It’s called Monsters & Angels. It’s set in New Orleans. In the 1930s. There is a lot of blue in it. Blue on the cover. Blue in the characters. Blue in the author’s hair. It’s a wonderful book. And, that is coming from someone who doesn’t often read the genre. Oh yeah. I almost forgot. The author’s name. Jeezum. (That’s New Orleanian for sheesh) Anne Marie (I’m glad I just checked) Andrus.

You can buy it on Amazon or directly. Go here. https://monstersnangels.com/ 

The picture. Really. I stumbled upon the house. I don’t think that I could find it now or two days later. Yes, I worked some of my post production magic to bringing it to life. But, not too much. or, for too long.


Broken down and busted.

Still waiting.

The city is under curfew starting at 7pm tonight. The state’s curfew is 8pm.  Some areas outside of the levee system have been evacuated.

Hurricane Nate will make landfall at sometime near 1am and be gone well before 7am. We are only expecting 1 to 4 inches of rain. Now, the city official are calling it a wind event.

But.

The storm cone has shifted well to the east. It looks like Nate will make landfall somewhere between the Mississippi border and Mobile, Alabama. Bad for them. Good for us. I wish them no harm, but… I have to look after my own.

I expect very little damage since the wind strength is at its highest on the eastern edge of a hurricane. We are on the west. I do expect to lose power since two squirrels on a power line can cause a power failure. I do expect parts of New Orleans to flood. Our fragile water pumping system breaks down, or catches fire, every chance it gets.

So. That’s the story at noon. It could change. It will change.

The picture. A friend of mine keeps asking where this place is located. I told him. He won’t like it even if he finds it, which I’m sure he can since I gave him precise directions. “It’s behind my doctor’s office,” I said. What more could he possibly need?

These old trains aren’t stored — or, dumped — on railroad land. That makes breaking through the no trespassing fence a little less illegal. Not that I would ever do that. The difference between the penalties are federal and local. And, maybe getting shot. Apparently, there was a deal made between the medical and railroad folks for this little corner of track and surrounding land.

These trains have been moved around as the medical complex on which they are parked needs more land. I reckon they are safe for a long while because they are pushed into a corner of the land that is fairly unbuildable and well behind where the medical staff parks. But, you never know.

They are fairly rusty and abandoned. They’d be scrap except that they are sort of last in breed in this region. I just helped them along in post production.

 


Cadillac Ranch.

Distraction.

With all the big issues going on in the world — the potential of nuclear war, raging forest fires in the west, three major hurricane hits to the country, failed legislation, broken campaign promises, the Russian investigations and seemingly being at war with everybody including his own party and Congress — the sitting president thought it was a good idea to attack the NFL and peacefully protesting professional athletes.

There was no reason to do this. Except he that is the divider, not the uniter. And, he was speaking to his base in Alabama. Oh, there’s another reason. One that I’ve been hammering at this week. The color of a person’s skin.

There might be another.

As we all know, our very thin-skinned president cannot let even the slightest of slights pass without trying to punch back. The NFL owners never liked him. He was too sleazy for even them. He tried an end around and bought a team in the soon to fail USFL, hoping to bully his way into the NFL. No way. No how.  They wouldn’t let him into their circle. Attacking them last weekend was a measure of payback. You and I both know that he doesn’t care about the flag or The National Anthem. After all, they aren’t about him.

And, another.

Distraction.

Meanwhile in Puerto Rico, the bully in chief finally relented this morning and signed The Jones Act waver, after first saying that the shippers didn’t like it because it amounted more competition. Too bad. Lives are at stake. An entire island depends on it. Now, what I’m trying to figure out, is why tons of supplies have not been released from the docks, where they have been stockpiled for days. In the words of Sherman T. Potter of the old television series M.A.S.H, I think I see some “cahootinizing” going on.

All I know is follow the money.

The picture. Cadillac Ranch. Near Amarillo, Texas. I think everybody who fancies themselves to be a travel photographer has photographed this place at one time or another.

My point? The painted American Flag. OMG! Maybe the clown with the crown (he thinks) can attack this place in a tweet.

Since so many things that are common knowledge seem to amaze him when he finds out about them, I doubt he knows this place.

Everybody. Keep your eye on the ball. And, don’t be denied.