Eventually, nature seeks and gets stasis.

It’s nature’s way.

One of you commented something along the lines of nature has a way of overcoming whatever humans do. Nature seeks stasis. Nature is patient. Nature always wins in the end. Nature doesn’t care.

I wasn’t sure where  I was going with this, then it came to me. Human beings are a speck in nature’s eye. As we move to further harm the planet, the temperature will increase, the waters will rise, and people will go hungry. I’m sure as people go hungry and get desperate we’ll start killing each other. Finally, nature will have had enough. She’ll say, “basta!” and fling us off the planet like a dog shakes water off of her back. (Basta is Italian for enough.)

We’ll all be gone. Nature will go about her business. The earth will heal. And, it will once again be the healthy blue marble you can see from space.

This picture is an illustration of the start of the process. I made it in an odd corner of the 9th Ward. The neighborhood was flooded during the levee breaks following the storm. Some people were able to move back and repair their homes. Others could not. Apparently, the folks who own this place are either waiting for help or just gave up.

Have you ever seen what happened to an abandoned building?

The roots of plants begin to seek purchase. They find cracks and crevasses. At first, it’s nothing. Rip them down and the building is fine. Don’t, and that’s the first step. Eventually the entire plant will find its way inside. It’ll be both inside and out. Wood will start to split. Plaster will begin to fall. The floorboards will begin to collapse. Eventually, the house will cave in upon itself. There will be nothing left but a pile of rotting wood. And, leftover pipes and other bits of metal, assuming scavengers don’t get to them first. What’s left will disappear under heavy growth.

This house will be gone.

That doesn’t happen quickly. It usually takes from 10 to 20 years. Nature is patient. Nature picked her place carefully this time. It’s hot. It’s humid. There is heavy rainfall. There is constant moisture.

Oh, did I mention creatures? Unless we take countermeasures, Formosa Termites are happy to eat their fill of houses like this one.

Think about it. Think about this happening on a grand scale all around the globe. Mankind will be gone. Maybe other animals will make their return. The planet will be quiet and undisturbed by humans.

Mother Earth is probably better off without us.

Not taking chances.
Not taking chances.

The guy who owns this house isn’t playing around.

Usually when you find an old abandoned building, maybe a leftover from the storm, a few windows are boarded up. Maybe the door. Usually, the structures are wide open. They’ve been vandalized. They been tagged. They been torn up.

But, not this little house. Its owner wasn’t taking any chances. He didn’t just try to cover the windows. Or, doors. He covered the entire house with 6×4 feet, 1 and 1/2 inch, plywood boards. I suppose that you could still get in. If you really wanted to. But, what an effort. What a lot of noise. The neighbors would be out in seconds.

I have no idea why the owner did this. I can take some guesses. My he or she plans to rebuild. Someday. Maybe the owner passed and his family isn’t sure what to do with the building. I doubt whoever owns the property would let it be demolished by neglect. Why would they take the time to board it up so securely?

Nah. These folks are eventually coming back.

I can say that this whole neighborhood has a long way to go. I’d like to tell you exactly where I was but the local names get blurred. I was either in Black Pearl, Leonidas or Hollygrove. It’s also known as West Carrollton. Some people even call it Pigeon Town. I suppose it depends on the age of the person telling you, or maybe even which side of the street you are standing.


It’s still a rough neighborhood. I passed through it on Sunday when I thought I could run an errand in Jefferson Parish after I finished photographing the second line. There was a long freight train blocking the street. I thought I could dodge around it by passing through this neighborhood. By the time I made my way through, the freight train was blocking the street I hoped to pass on.

And, so it goes.

The picture. I decided that my ruin pictures need nasty post processing to make the point. At least for this hour. Who knows what I’ll think in ten minutes? So, the picture was made on one of those days when the light is bright and bouncing around the clouds. For most subjects, that’s incredible light. But, not for these sorts of pictures. The light really should be more moody. More weird. Scary even.

So, I tinkered around and this is where I came to. Hope it works for you.

One way of boarding up an abandoned house.
One way of boarding up an abandoned house.

This is one way.

There are many other ways to board up windows on an abandoned building. I think I’ve just about documented most of them. But, this one is new to me. Cover the windows with brightly painted boards. I didn’t get close enough to see what these coverings are made of; I thought plywood. But, I’m not sure.

No matter what.

They are certainly better looking then the aging and rotten bare plywood that normally covers windows in most abandoned buildings. True, the color is fading from rain and bright sun. But, still…

The picture. I was driving by. I saw the colors almost before I saw the building itself. It was one of those WTH moments. I stopped. I got out of the car. Took a few pictures. And that was it. F 8 and be there. Or, something like that. More likely, F 5.6 and be there. That’s it on the scene. I also didn’t do much in post production. I brightened the color and added a little glow to help you see what I felt.

Oh. What did I feel? Mostly surprise. Right there in a neighborhood that is mostly abandoned and torn down, there was this house. Blammo.

Then there is this, Please help a guy out. By now, you know the rest.


Green and Brick.
Green and Brick.

See? I did have a pretty good shoot in Cairo. Considering my shooting night was really about an hour, it was exceptional… for anyone. Especially me. I’m not sure what this building was originally because it has what looks like loading docks in the back, and store fronts along the street. It’s one of those buildings that I’d like to buy and renovate. Unfortunately, in Cairo there is really no need for it. Nobody would use it. But, in New Orleans… well, that’s a whole other story. This place would sell for a lot of money even in the abandoned and boarded up state that you see here.


The picture is simple. See it, frame it, push the button. Very little post production. No need for it. Somebody painted parts of it green without my help.

Along Annunciation Street
Along Annunciation Street

I was driving in an area of New Orleans where I rarely go. I think it’s a part of St. Thomas. Actually, it was after we ate all that Vietnamese food that I posed about earlier this week. I saw this row of collapsing structures and liked what it looked like. To me, it felt like it was so dilapidated place in Singapore. Of course, when I saw the run down area in Singapore it was years ago. By now, I’m sure it’s long gone since every building has either been restored or torn down and the neighborhood modernized to the point where I’d be lost in places I used to know very well.

Anyway. This place. I have no idea what it was or who owned it. As I wrote, I really don’t know this neighborhood. It looks like a row of dependencies. Those are what out buildings were called if they were supplied to the staff of a large house in which they lived and worked. In the early 1800s, many of them were sort of outdoor kitchens since cooking indoors was not safe. Yes. Prior to the Civil War, they might even have been slave quarters. Today, many are converted into small apartments or guest houses. Usually, you find them in The French Quarter. Since I had to walk across a field that was littered with bits and pieces of a building in order to make this picture, I’m taking an educated guess. At one point these really were dependencies. The field that I walked through was once the area in which the main house was located. Guessing. Remember that. Guessing.

The picture. That was easy. It took walking across a field. There. I wrote it a third time. Then I made the image with a 16mm lens so that I could stretch things out a bit and still fill the frame. I wanted to make a somewhat mysterious and misty picture. I did that in post production using some filters in software called OnOne. It takes some fiddling around and experimenting. But, it works pretty well. Please have a look at the results.