Like an adobe.

” She’s a good girl, loves her mama, Loves Jesus and America too

She’s a good girl, crazy ’bout Elvis, Loves horses and her boyfriend too

It’s a long day livin’ in Reseda, There’s a freeway runnin’ through the yard

And I’m a bad boy, ’cause I don’t even miss her, I’m a bad boy for breakin’ her heart

And I’m free, free fallin’, Yeah I’m free, free fallin’, All the vampires walkin’ through the valley

Move west down Ventura Blvd. ,And all the bad boys are standing in the shadows

All the good girls are home with broken hearts,  And I’m free, free fallin’, Yeah I’m free, free fallin’

Free fallin’, now I’m free fallin’, Now I’m, Free fallin’, now I’m free fallin’

I wanna glide down over Mulholland,  I wanna write her name in the sky

I’m gonna free fall out into nothin’,  Gonna leave this world for awhile

And I’m free, free fallin’, Yeah I’m free, free fallin’,  Yeah I’m free, free fallin’

Oh! Free fallin’,  Now I’m free,  Oh! , Free fallin’ “

— Free Falling, Tom Petty

I had no idea. Rest in Peace, Tom.


French Quarter pizza.
French Quarter pizza.

I wish.

We aren’t going to have light anything like this until Wednesday. If we are lucky. The fairgrounds where Jazzfest was held is a sea of pooled water and mud. A good part of Southeastern Louisiana is flooded. As French government’s architect said in 1839 when he was asked to describe the land in and around New Orleans, “Mud, Mud, Mud.”

He was right.

We lost power at home for a while. And we are still under a flash flood watch. Yes. Happy spring.

So.

I thought that I would publish a picture I made a little while back. Combined with the tamale picture it seems that I’m starting to hit my stride with some kinds of fast food. At least the buildings in which the food is made. Pizza and tamales. What could be better?

This is The Louisiana Pizza Kitchen. At least the ground floor. The second floor is abandoned and caving in. It is located across the street of the French Quarter Market.

Once it was part of the city market system. You could buy real groceries there. In fact, fruit coming from Central and South America was a fresh as you could ever want since the fruit boat docks were about five minutes away. Now that fairly historic market is chopped up in to distinct sub markets. Tacky, unneeded souvenirs that have supposedly come from every place on earth, but were mostly made in China can be purchased in one corner. There’s another section, just across the street, in which you can find  fruit, veggies, herbs, seafood, coffees, teas and some cooked food for tourists. It’s all fine. Maybe we are coming full circle. Wouldn’t that be nice?  If it doesn’t cost too much.

Anyway.

The pizza is well made and tastes pretty good. It is reasonably priced and there is plenty of good seating. Inside and out. Especially if it is not raining and muddy. And, everybody is not soaked and smelling like a wet dog.

 

 

 

 


A little different view of the French Quarter.
A little different view of the French Quarter.

This isn’t the tourists’ French Quarter. It’s where the residents live. It looks a little more beat up than it is. I’m willing  to bet that inside those ancient walls are some pretty nice digs, especially since this place is located in a more residential area of the Quarter. That’s one version of hiding in plain sight. That’s kind of what I do with cars. I never leave anything in them. My thinking is pretty simple. If you don’t see it,  you don’t want to steal it.

Instead of pictures, maybe that’s what I should talk about today.

Survival on the street.

First, let’s just say that I don’t photograph wars. But, by all accounting New Orleans is the 17th most dangerous city in the world. And, I go to some pretty sporty places.

I’m pretty sure that every photographer has his or her tricks when they are on the streets. Mine are pretty simple. Keep moving. Don’t draw attention to myself. And, don’t dress in photographer clothes. There’s also this thing about situation awareness. But, that can’t be taught. You either have it or you don’t.

I get asked sometimes if I use a tripod. I don’t. Usually. It’s not because I don’t think I could make super sharp pictures if I used one. I could. It would change my style, but that’s not it. It’s because I think that makes me too immobile and puts a target on my back. Same with flashes. I can under light just about everything and make it look natural. But, that draws attention to me. And, photo clothes. Hmmmm… I hate to say this, but I think they are just plain dorky and draw too much attention. Photo vests are the worst. And, no flashy stuff. Sheesh, I even change watches when I’m getting ready to work.

One more thing. I don’t carry much in my pockets. Just in case.

Any of that help?


Not your usual New Orleans art.
Not your usual New Orleans art.

Once again. I posted a nice piece about what you are looking at. WordPress ate it again. What am I doing wrong? It happens at least twice a week. It didn’t happen in the past. Now, ever since that damn new desktop appeared, I have nothing but problems. I do not have the time to keep doing this work over and over again.

And so, I’m not writing anything more about what you are seeing. I have paying work that must get done. This ain’t it. Sorry.


A New reopens Mansion converted into an apartment building.
A New reopens Mansion converted into an apartment building.

I read about this place. I hadn’t seen until I went looking for it. That’s especially odd since I used to live in the neighborhood. It is around the corner from the race track where Jazzfest is held. When I found it, which wasn’t hard given that it is the very biggest building on its street, I was amazed by its size and its history. It is the Florence Luling Mansion. Luling is also the name of the town where we go to watch the Christmas Eve bonfires that are lighted to guide St. Nick down the Mississippi River to New Orleans.

History. The Lulings were cotton factors who arrived from England to make a fortune in Southeast Louisiana. They owned a piece of this land since 1861, bought the rest of it in 1864 and completed this building in 1866.It was designed by one of our most famous architects, James Gallier. The family only lived it in it for a couple of years, selling it in 1871 to the Jockey Club. They held on to it until the 1920s, when the land was sold in parcels with only this building remaining. For me, that’s a very interesting history. I think the timing is off. The city was in the midst of the Civil War when this place was supposedly built. New Orleans was a Confederate city until it was captured by Union forces in May of 1862. I cannot imagine much big construction got done. There are a number of issues that don’t ring quite true in the history of the building. I look into it further. Yes. I really will. I’ll add it to my ever-growing list of stuff to do.

Anyway. The light was all wrong when I made this picture. So, I tinkered with it and made the picture my own in some very weird ways. I promised  myself that I would go back around dusk. You know how that goes. You don’t do it. But, I did. Film crews blocked off the street and were making a movie or television show there. We are, after all, Hollywood South. I will go back again. Later.


Glowing  Buildings.
Glowing Buildings.

On the way to some place else.

Again.

I was pretty much racing around last weekend. So much to photograph. So much to do.

Oddly, a lot of it didn’t get done. It wasn’t my fault. It’s a New Orleans thing. People didn’t show up. Events get canceled. Plans fall through. That’s all a part of life. But, here in NOLA it’s magnified. It think it started on weighing on me in not such good ways. The last line of this post is very telling.

As I was passing through the CBD — Central Business District — the sun lighted a building that was directly ahead of me. It was glowing at me. What else could I do? I did my “shoot through the windshield” thing. Funny thing, I like big city urban pictures. I just don’t make them enough. Oh. That’s a whole other thought.

The other subjects that I photographed? You’ll see a couple. I couldn’t get my head in the game last weekend. Most of the pictures are pretty marginal to me. Oh well. That happens.


Color in the wall at the old General Laundry building.
Color in the wall at the old General Laundry building.

So. Let’s see what I can add to yesterday’s rant.

One of my issues is simple. Because everybody points something with a lens on it at everything possible, while forgetting to live their lives, I’ve run out of pictures to take. Everything I photograph has been photographed 2,376,893 times before I get to it. Mostly, the pictures aren’t all that great, or even very good. But, that doesn’t matter. Few people can really tell the difference between a good picture and something else. I see a lot of pictures on Facebook. Usually, somebody or other says, “Oh, great picture.” I think to myself, “Huh? It is?” What do I know?

So. Let’s use this picture as an example. I got all excited when I saw this place. I’d never seen it. I’d never seen a picture of it, and until I googled it, I didn’t know anything about it.

Uh oh. You know what’s coming next. Here’s the history.

It’s called The General Laundry Cleaners and Dyers. It was built in 1930 to replace the previous building which burned in 1929. It is located on St. Peter Street in something called The Parkview Historic District. The architecture is called High Style Art Deco. The owner was Robert Chapoit. He built it for $250,000. This was a really big deal. When he held the grand opening party, 5,000 people attended. It was called a local marvel. In the 1970s, The United States Post Office wanted to demolish it to make way for a parking lot in anticipation of growing mail usage. It’s a good thing that they were stopped, eh? In 1974, the building facade was declared a landmark by The National Registry of Historic Places. It survived Hurricane Katrina while the neighborhood pretty much didn’t. Those bright colors? They haven’t faded because the pigment was mixed into the cement. Pretty cool, huh?

It seems like everybody knows about this place but me. Most of the pictures I found — tons of them — aren’t all that good. The neighborhood is scary. The pictures reflect the photographer’s fear. Hit and run pictures.

Oh. The Parkview Historic District? Wikipedia has about two lines on it. Apparently, this building is the heart of it. Like many neighborhoods in New Orleans, nobody can agree on exactly where it is located. The neighborhood association puts it in one place, but some people think that my old neighborhood is part of it. Funny, all that time I thought that I lived in Esplanade Ridge which is really just a realtor’s name for a few streets located on the far upriver side of the 7th Ward. What do I know?

Maybe I should be satisfied with that… just knowing where I am at any given time.


A Central City house... from the back.
A Central City house… from the back.
A detail of a Central City house.
A detail of a Central City house.
Central City house from the side.
Central City house from the side.

A little photo essay.

I found this house in Central City. Most of the houses that look like this one are usually on the downriver side of the neighborhood. In what was once an upscale neighborhood. This one is located in an odd place. I should clarify. Found is such a funny word. The house has been there since the late 1800s. It’s old. Well, over 100 years. But, I just found it. Like many things, I’m late to the game. Very late. Actually finding it would make me about 140 years old. Yeah, yeah… some days.

Anyway.

Some guy was living in a couple of rooms of this place. He carved out sort of a cave inside the center of the house. I’m sorry to say, that for him it’s no longer home. I bought this place. If my dad where alive he’d say that I’m crazy. I’m not. I believe in rebirth. Besides. I don’t have enough to do. Right. I need a project. Other people build model cars. Or, model trains. Not me. Oh no. I need to restore a falling apart house. In a sketchy neighborhood.

Some things never change.


Light in Central City.
Light in Central City.

So. We had a bit of a discussion on Facebook about the Garden District as opposed to The Lower Garden District. It was good. My point on Facebook was that they are both very different neighborhoods. If anything, much of the LGD is a lot like this bit of Central City which is physically one block from St. Charles Avenue, but emotionally a million miles away.

That said, I think that I’m hurting myself by posting to Facebook directly, but it seems like my friends over there are actually seeing the pictures when for some reason they don’t see the links from Storyteller. I have no idea why. I know what you are thinking. Why does it matter where people see my pictures? In some ways it shouldn’t, but I’m trying to build Storyteller. If people who “like” or want to comment about a picture stop at Facebook, they never get over here. If any of you have any ideas, please tell me. I’m all ears. Or, fingers. Or, something like that.

Anyway.

This picture was made during yesterday’s time of wonderful winter light. Usually, so-called golden hours last for about 15 or 20 minutes. Because of the winter atmospherics, this “golden hour” lasted for about two hours. It allowed me to work at a more relaxed pace, instead of flying around frantically trying to photograph everything that I could in as short a time possible. I like this block a lot. Obviously, I like the different colors of the buildings. But, I like what is across the street from them. I was going to save it for tomorrow. But, maybe you’d like to see it now.

Once a mansion, now an apartment complex.
Once a mansion, now an apartment complex.

This is it. Nice light, eh? It used to be a mansion. Now, it’s an apartment complex. However Google Maps says it’s a big bed and breakfast. In either case, it’s been repurposed very nicely.  The exterior has been pretty much left alone, but the interior is very well done.